Air Force Marathon volunteers are vital to marathon’s success

  • Published
  • By Stacey Geiger
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Marathon is seeking 2,600 volunteers to help with the race in September and longtime volunteers husband and wife duo Walter and Deniece Chin can attest to how rewarding it is to play a role in this annual event.    

Looking for something that they could do together while giving back to the community, the Chins, who both retired from the Air Force Institute of Technology in March 2016, decided to volunteer for the Air Force Marathon. That was in 1997…the first Air Force Marathon.

Since its inception, the Chins have not missed a year volunteering at the Air Force marathon and the super duo’s commitment will be no different this year come September. 

“It is a privilege as well as an honor to get involved and volunteer with the Air Force Marathon and being aware of the magnitude the event requires vast amounts of resources and energy,” said Walter. “We wanted to help make a difference.”

Walter, who retired after 24 years in the Air Force and 16 with civil service, and Deniece after 32 years of civil service, both have a long history of volunteerism going as far back to the Vietnam War when Deniece volunteered during ‘Operation Babylift’ assisting with escorting and providing care and comfort to hundreds of children during the humanitarian mission.

“The Chins are the prime example of the importance of our volunteers,” said Air Force Marathon Director Brandon Hough. “Our volunteers are the backbone of the event and are key to the success of the marathon.”

For over 15 years, the Chins provided assistance at the start and finish line but have helped with every aspect of the event over the course of the years. Other areas the Chins have volunteered are with the water stations, information booth, expo assistance, event set-up and teardown, and the breakfast and pasta dinners.       

Wherever needed, the Chins jump right in.

“We have volunteered in many places and positions, pre, during and post,” said Deniece. “We were not particular, we were willing to help where needed and just went with the flow.”   

Air Force Marathon volunteer coordinator Jeanette Monaghan said that the different areas the Chins have helped with attest to the numerous functions of the marathon that are available for people to volunteer with.

“We have so many different opportunities for people to volunteer with the marathon.” said Monaghan. “From the pre-race preparations, the Sports and Fitness Expo to race day, we can find something for you.”

Monaghan added that the marathon is also a perfect opportunity for a team-building event for groups such as civic groups, businesses or student organizations to volunteer as a group.

Have a special talent? The marathon is also looking for musicians and performers of all varieties to provide course entertainment for the runners to help encourage them and keep their spirits up along the way. And as a bonus, you might get a chance to win the best course entertainment award.      

“No job is too small or unimportant and those who volunteer or anticipate to do so are going to be welcomed by the marathon staff,” said Walter. “All volunteers are needed, welcomed and are never turned away because they are valued.”  

Volunteer registration is currently open and runs through Aug. 31 but volunteers should sign up quickly to reserve their preferred job. All the open positions are listed on the marathon’s website,, and volunteers can register online.

All volunteers will receive a free Air Force Marathon volunteer shirt.

The Air Force Marathon, presented by Northrop Grumman, USAA and Boeing, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. The Sports & Fitness Expo is held at Wright State University’s Nutter Center and will be Thursday, Sept. 19, and Friday, Sept. 20. The event will also feature a gourmet pasta dinner and Breakfast of Champions on Friday, Sept. 20 as well as an after-party on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Greene Towne Center.