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WASHINGTON, D.C. Local runners from across northern Virginia and southern Maryland, as well as marathon enthusiasts from as far north as Pennsylvania and New York, converged on downtown Washington, D.C. the morning of Sep. 16 for the 9th annual Navy 5-Miler and inaugural 13-mile Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. Both races, which were open to military and civilian runners, began and ended in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

This was the first time Naval District Washington and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling expanded the Navy 5-Miler into the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. The turnout was stellar, as there were 4,023 registered participants between the two marathons. Of that number, there was a total of 3,246 completions. The strong showing also eclipses last year’s total by more than 1,000 participants, said Allison Bowman, event coordinator for JBAB's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR).

Todd Spain, an ensign stationed at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., ran the Navy 5-Miler in the hopes of getting in shape for future races like the Marine Corps Marathon that’s coming up in October.

“I’m taking part in my first-ever marathon. I’m really excited and proud to be out here with a lot of fellow runners,” Spain said before the race. “For me, it’s not about getting a good time. I’m just looking forward to running and enjoying the day.”

The morning provided beautiful weather for runners, as well as cheering families. Latoya Sewell was on hand to show support for her husband, Brandon, who was running his first Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. The couple travelled from Upper Marlboro, Md. to take part in the event.

“He has a personal goal for himself in mind, but it’s really all about staying in shape and having fun. I bet a lot of people here would say the same thing” Sewell said. “It’s great to see such a large turnout of people. You couldn’t have picked a better day. The weather is just gorgeous.”

Kicking things off with a rousing rendition of the national anthem was JBAB’s own Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Lamarsay Creer, who is a religious program specialist at the Chapel Center. According to him, an event like this is inspirational on so many levels.

“I look around and I see a lot people showing pride for our country. As a service member, that’s great to see,” Creer said. “It’s also inspirational to watch a group of wounded warriors participate. That only proves there are no limitations in life except what you put on yourself.”

Besides Creer, other JBAB members on hand included the Navy and Air Force Honor Guards. Several organizations also pitched in and served as volunteers at water stops around the course. They included Security Forces, Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the 579th Medical Group and JBAB’s Airmen of Distinction.

An avid runner, JBAB commander Navy Capt. Anthony Calandra was more than happy to lace up a pair of sneakers that day, as well. He was joined on the course by his wife, Tamara.

“This will be an event to remember because of all of you runners and everyone who volunteered to make this a success,” Calandra told a crowd following the Navy 5-Miler. “Please remember us next year. Bring your friends and help us make it another great event.”

All proceeds of the Navy 5 Miler and the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon go to support JBAB’s MWR program. All race results can be found online at www.navyairforcehalfmarathon.com.