AF Marathon participation down; race seeks answers

Published: Friday, September 22, 2017 @ 8:16 AM
Updated: Friday, September 22, 2017 @ 9:33 AM


            Brian Kelly, a major in the Air Force based out of California, won the U.S. Air Force Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. NICK DUDUKOVICH / CONTRIBUTED
Brian Kelly, a major in the Air Force based out of California, won the U.S. Air Force Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. NICK DUDUKOVICH / CONTRIBUTED

Faced with fewer people running this year, Air Force Marathon organizers may consider changes to the series of races to push up numbers on the starting line in 2018.

The marathon, a series of races with 5K and 10K contests and half- and full-marathons, may add a new race of a shorter distance, and increase opportunities to participate in more than one event, according to marathon director Rob Aguiar.

The marathon counted 13,679 runners for the races on Sept.15-16 versus more than 15,000 who competed every year since 2012 — reaching a peak of 15,424 runners in 2013, figures show. The last time the race did not sell out was 2009 when the event had a cap of 10,000 runners and fell a few dozen under that total.

Organizers will listen to what runners say they want before deciding what to do, he said.

“We don’t want to make change just for changes sake,” he said.

RELATED: Thousands to run in Air Force Marathon

The 5K and 10K races sold out this year, but the numbers for the half- and full-marathons were below previous years, according to attendance figures. The half marathon brought in just over 5,200 out of a target of 6,500; the full marathon attracted about 2,100 out of a goal of 2,500, according to race figures.

Still, the race brought competitors from all 50 states and 14 countries to the Miami Valley event, Aguiar said. The marathon has raised caps on the number of runners by thousands since the first race attracted 2,751 participants in 1997.

And it’s big business for the region. The race had an estimated $13.7 million economic impact on tourism and travel-related spending in 2016, according to the Greene County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Figures for this year’s marathon weren’t yet calculated.

A ‘saturation’ of races

Race industry observers say the U.S. market has reached “saturation” with a sharp uptick in the number of races while the number of runners crossing the finish line has dropped nationwide.

“This is not just an Air Force Marathon issue,” Aguiar said. “It is a racing industry issue. There’s a lot of races out there.”

The industry had 30,400 races in the United States last year versus 26,370 in 2012, according to Running USA statistics. More than half the contests in 2016 were 5K competitions.

The number of finishers climbed exponentially —- from five million in 1990 to a peak of 19 million in 2013. Since then, it’s fallen to just under 17 million, Running USA reported.

RELATED: FIve things to know about the Air Force Marathon

The explosion in the number of races has been pushed mostly by 5K contests with themes, such as costumes, bubble, or foam races, holiday and charity runs, among newcomers, according to Running USA Chief Executive Officer Rich Harshbarger.

“They’re more celebration and more social than they are competitive,” he said. “People started coming up with crazy ideas.

”The real question is what’s the longevity of some of those and I think a lot of them are running their course, so to speak,” he added.

The popularity of mud and cross-fit competitions have waded into the scene, too, he said.

“There’s a lot of things vying for people’s recreation time and particularly when you’re looking at the millennial generation they’re looking for something with a little bit more edge than a straightforward run,” Harshbarger said.

RELATED: Stealth fighter, WWII plane to fly over Air Force Marathon

On weekends in the southwest Ohio region, runners have found a bevy of races to choose.

“People want to try all kinds of different things and when they have more choices they are more choosy about what they participate in,” said Doug Picard, 37, who has run in each of the Air Force Marathon’s four contests since 2014.

Surveying for answers

The marathon will survey runners in the coming weeks, listen to feedback gathered elsewhere such as social media and email, and explore how races across the country engage runners, Aguiar said.

“We’re all looking at that making sure … any changes that we do that it’s always a positive experience for the runner,” Aguiar said.

RELATED: Thousands turn out for Air Force Marathon, winners announced

Racers input led to the addition of a 10K race and dropping a relay marathon nearly a decade ago, he said.

Picard, a member of the Ohio River Road Runners Club in Dayton, has competed in 100 contests. Races retain runners with different strategies, such as recognizing people who compete in more than one race at an event, or give out a piece of a racing medal every year until its complete, he said.

“It keeps people coming back year after year,” he said.

Harshbarger had this advice: “I think the best thing they can do is stay true to their brand and continue to offer an extraordinary experience,” he said. “As long as you highlight what’s uniquely yours and build on that to appeal to people, that’s better than any sort of gimmick or one-time trick. They are an established event.”

At the finish line

The number of races in the United States has climbed for years even as the number of runners reaching the finish line has dropped in recent years. The number of runners dropped from 19 million in 2013 to just under 17 million last year, the fourth largest in history, according to Running USA

Number of races

2016 - 30,400

2015 - 30,300

2014 - 28,000

2013 - 28,200

2012 - 26,370

SOURCE: RUNNING USA

WATCH: Flames shoot from Dayton house on Nassau Street

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:14 AM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:20 AM

Nassau Street fire in Dayton

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m. 

Damage is estimated between $5,000 and $10,000 after a fire broke out at a house on Nassau Street in Dayton Monday morning. 

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Where do Ohio senators stand on shutdown vote? 

Officials said the house was vacant and no injuries were reported. 

The fire is under investigation and has not been determined if it is suspicious. 

Marshall Gorby/Staff

UPDATE @ 9:40 a.m. 

Firefighters continue to work to extinguish flames from a house that caught fire Monday morning on Nassau Street in Dayton. 

Officials said the structure is believed to be vacant and no injuries have been reported. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

FIRST REPORT

Firefighters are battling a house fire on Nassau Street near Xenia Avenue in Dayton Monday morning. 

Crews responded to the call around 9 a.m. and reported smoke and flames coming from the structure. 

Initial reports indicate the house is believed to be vacant and firefighters are battling the blaze defensively. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Suspect in custody after 1 shot at Texas high school, officials say

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 9:48 AM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:56 AM



Google/Google Maps
(Google/Google Maps)

Authorities are investigating after receiving reports Monday morning of a shooting at a high school in Texas, the Ellis County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

>> Read more trending news

The battle continues over the historic Station Road schoolhouse

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:18 AM


            Community Montessori School in Olde West Chester had hoped to purchase the historic Station Road Schoolhouse property (pictured) on Station Road. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Community Montessori School in Olde West Chester had hoped to purchase the historic Station Road Schoolhouse property (pictured) on Station Road. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Despite a Butler County judge’s ruling, the battle over the historic Station Road schoolhouse continues, with the owners of the Community Montessori School filing an appeal with the 12th District Court of Appeals.

“We’ve appealed, and we’re continuing to move it forward,” Montessori school owner Todd Minniear told this news organization. “We still want it (the schoolhouse).”

West Chester Twp. was poised to sell the old school to the Minniears for $250,000 as part of a settlement in a lawsuit the school owners filed. However, some neighbors who oppose the sale intervened in the lawsuit and convinced Magistrate Justin Lane and Common Pleas Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh the lawsuit was moot.

RELATED: Legal issues doom the sale of the historic Station Road schoolhouse

The township’s zoning board of appeals nixed the sale last summer due to traffic and other concerns, and the Minniears filed an administrative appeal in the common pleas court. In December, Lane nullified the Minniears’ appeal because it was filed under a corporate name by Minniear, and he is not an attorney and couldn’t legally file the appeal.

“The court finds that the notice of appeal in this matter is a nullity and strikes it from the record,” Lane wrote.

The township trustees agreed to sell the schoolhouse to the Minniears — who plan to put an addition on the building to expand their school programs — because they said it is a “money pit” and a drain on township resources.

MORE: Neighbors oppose sale of historic Station Road schoolhouse

Neighbors opposed the sale, and some — like those who intervened in the lawsuit — want to see it turned into a historical museum.

Ohio 571 to be closed for days after corn silo collapse in New Carlisle

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 11:44 PM
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 10:03 AM

SKY7: Aerial footage of collapsed silo in New Carlisle

UPDATE @ 10 a.m. 

Ohio 571 is expected to be shut down in New Carlisle for a few days to remove 10,000 tons of corn that fell into the roadway after a grain silo collapsed at Miami Valley Feed and Grain Company late Sunday night, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. 

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Where do Ohio senators stand on shutdown vote? 

The collapse knocked down multiple power poles, originally disrupting electric service to around 300 Dayton Power and Light customers. 

TRENDING: Wright Patt workers to learn today about unpaid furloughs 

At 10 a.m., 15 outages were still reported in Clark County, according to an online outage map. 

We’ll continue to update this story as we learn new details. 

Jarod Thrush/Staff

UPDATE @ 4:55 a.m: Power is steadily being restored in Clark County with only a reported 15 customers experiencing an outage.

Power was cut off as a safety measure after a corn silo collapsed Sunday night prompting crews to investigate the building. 

UPDATE @ 3:35 a.m: Over 300 customers are without power in Clark County after a corn silo collapse caused crews to cut the power in order to investigate the incident.

The collapse occurred late Sunday night at Miami Valley Feed & Grain around 11:40 p.m. 

Crews will be working all night into tomorrow and there’s no word on how long the outage will have customers without power. 

We will monitor the DP&L outage map and continue to update the story.

INITIAL REPORT

Ohio 571 (Jefferson Street) will be closed while officials continue to investigate what caused a non-injury silo collapse Sunday night.

RELATED: Damages still being assessed at AK Steel fire in Middletown

Crews were initially called to Miami Valley Feed & Grain at 880 W. Jefferson St. around 11:40 p.m. on reports of an explosion.

After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that one silo collapsed, rather than exploded, and partially damaged another building as well as caused 10,000 tons of corn to cover Ohio 571.

“What residents heard when they thought they heard explosions were the transformers blowing when the debris hit them”, said Steve Trusty, Chief of New Carlisle Fire Department. 

Officials do not believe anyone is trapped as a result of the collapse, as the company said no employees were on site at the time but will further investigate the building to confirm.

The silo collapse took out at least three power poles and power lines, which caused a brief power outage that has since been restored to all area residents.

RELATED: Two coal trail cars carrying  200,000 pounds of raw steel derails in Clark County

Crews will be on scene all night until midday tomorrow while they continue their investigation.

An Ohio Fire Marshal has also been called to the scene and will assist with the investigation tomorrow.

Drivers are encouraged to use Scarf Road as the detour while Ohio 571 (Jefferson Street) is blocked off.

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