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Runners looking to run 13.1 miles through the streets of D.C. during the late summer will have one less option this year.
Organizers of the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon and Navy 5 Miler announced this week that both races have been cancelled due to budget concerns.
“After much deliberation and review of the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Warfighter & Family Readiness’ annual budget and resources, the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon and Navy 5 Miler (NAFHalf) is cancelled indefinitely,” the announcement on the race website reads. Both races were scheduled for Sept. 15.
Naval District Washington public affairs officer Ed Zeigler tells City Paper that the decision to cancel the race is unrelated to the partial federal government shutdown. Zeigler’s naval region has oversight over the local Navy bases, including Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.
“The race had already been canceled prior … a couple months ago,” he says. “The race just wasn’t a money maker, so they decided it was no longer beneficial to keep doing it.”
Those registered for either race will have their entry fees refunded, and runners are encouraged to contact the race at email@example.com.
More than 7,500 runners completed either the half marathon or five miler last year. The race began as the Navy 5 Miler in 2004 and organizers added a half marathon in 2012.
Hosted by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the half marathon started and finished near the Washington Monument and wound through historic landmarks in D.C., including the Lincoln Memorial, which served as a backdrop for race photos. It was one of the many races in the District with military connections.
As of June 2018, 9,771 active duty military members lived in D.C., 124,510 lived in Virginia, and 30,055 lived in Maryland, according to figures from the Department of Defense. Thousands of veterans and civilian Department of Defense employees also reside in the area.
The future of the race, if there is one, remains unclear.
“I imagine at some point, if it’s determined there’s a way financially it could support itself, and we feel the military community wants it, we can probably take a look at it,” Zeigler says. “Right now, it’s not a financially sound decision.”
Runners turned to social media to express their disappointments at the decision.
“This is a real shame,” wrote one Facebook user. “Enjoyed this race.”
“I really regret not running this,” wrote another. “I had hoped [to] finally do it this year … goes to show you to do it now and not wait… Sad.”
Photo by Chris Favero on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license.