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AFMC Command News

Olympian to appear in sneakers and onstage race weekend

  • Published
  • By Caroline Clauson
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Olympian Paul Chelimo flies when he runs, but that’s not all that makes him a relevant representative and guest speaker at the 2022 Air Force Marathon, scheduled for Sept. 16-17.

Although Chelimo usually pulls ahead of the pack in a race, he will blend in with many Air Force Marathon runners as a fellow U.S. military veteran.  

“Mr. Chelimo is a world-class athlete with a story of overcoming,” said Rachael Ferguson, director of the Air Force Marathon. “He has also served in the armed forces and has a strong respect and appreciation for the U.S. military. He has won multiple medals at the Olympics and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience we believe our runners can fully benefit from.”

Born and raised in Iten, Kenya, Chelimo moved to the United States on a running scholarship, graduated from University of North Carolina-Greensboro and joined the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, which supports Soldiers pursuing and training for spots on the U.S. Olympic team and facilitates citizenship for international athletes.

“I give a lot of credit to the Army for my resilient racing tactics,” Chelimo said. “I like to race fearlessly and have been seen on occasions to run wire-to-wire on a hard pace, solo. I am a firm believer in: ‘Go hard or suffer the rest of your life.’”

The distance star has won or medaled in several 3,000-, 5,000- and 10,000-meter races, including silver in 2016 and bronze in 2020 at the Olympics in the 5,000.

Marathon weekend will feature both Chelimo’s endurance and personality. On Sept. 16 at 6:30 a.m., he will invite contenders on a 45-minute training run beginning at Holiday Inn in Fairborn and onto or near the 5K course at Wright State University. Returning to the hotel at 8 a.m., Chelimo will speak at the Breakfast of Champions.

Also that Friday, the featured guest will do a live Facebook interview on the Air Force Marathon page and appear at the “Star Runners” reception, a celebration for those who have run the marathon distance all 26 years. Chelimo will talk at Friday’s pasta dinner as well.

On race day Sept. 17, fans can catch Chelimo running a longer course than his usual as he competes in the Air Force Half Marathon.

Anyone interested in marathon weekend events can register at Click “Register” on the right-hand side of the page, log in or create an account, and find the event you’re interested in attending.

The 2022 Air Force Marathon is scheduled for Sept. 17. Additional races and events will span Thursday to Saturday that weekend. For a full schedule, go to