They call the Marine Corps Marathon, “The People’s Marathon,” and now I understand why. Besides the 34,000 runners, there were nearly 100,000 spectators lining the course. This is a marathon of the People, by the People, and for the People. And what better way to commemorate our independence, to celebrate our freedom, to honor our liberty and the men and women who protect it, than to boldly undertake the challenge of running a marathon through our nation’s capital.
It was a proud moment as I stood at the starting line and they announced to the crowd that I was running my forty-third consecutive marathon. The Marine’s next to me saluted me, which gave me the chills and made me chuckle at the same time. I got the chills because I felt so honored; I chuckled because we were all standing there in running gear.
Many of my friends and training partners are active in the service or have served our country. I am forever grateful to those who have protected our freedom and the rights of freedom loving people across the world. Running the Marine Corp Marathon was my way of saying, “Thank you.”
It was impossible not to feel proud to be an American as you ran past the Kennedy Center, entered the National Mall, ran past the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and then by our nation’s Capitol. On the return, you pass the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, and eventually finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial. It is truly a beautiful course, a marathon of the monuments.
Conditions today were tough, with a strong wind blowing out of the north. There were also plenty of hills to contend with, especially near the end. My body is still a bit brutalized from the spill I took on Friday, and it showed, not just in the bandages on the outside, but also in the bruises and muscle soreness on the inside, which slowed me down. A few more days of heeling will be welcomed.
The people today were terrific, both the other runners and the spectators. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I saw plenty of heroic efforts during the marathon, especially near the end when people were really hurting. Several runners ran arm-in-arm, shuffling courageously toward the finish. One man apparently collapsed ten feet from the finish, and then crawled across the line. Another limped on one leg through the finish as passersby shouted words of encouragement. Today, we
American’s band together, and although it wasn’t always pretty, we got the job done.
Fifty states, one nation, and lots of sore muscles,