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    The 46th Marine Corps Marathon Hosts its Second Virtual Marathon

    The 46th Marine Corps Marathon Hosts its Second Virtual Marathon

    Photo By Erin Rohn | Marines stationed in the Marine Corps National Capitol Region salute at the starting...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Marine Corps Installations Command

    Every October, tens of thousands of runners line up in front of the famed Marine Corps Marathon arch in Arlington, Va., anticipating a 26.2 mile run through Washington, D.C. Surrounded by Marines, Sailors, family and friends, they watch the Color Guard present the National Colors, sing the National Anthem and count down the seconds to the fire of the starting gun as the Howitzer cannon booms in the distance, signaling the beginning of the race. Upon the completion of their journey at the Marine Corps War Memorial, a Marine presents the coveted medal and salutes the runner, symbolizing the marathon’s slogan, “Always earned. Never given.”

    This year however, for the second time in its 46-year history, the Marine Corps Marathon will be held virtually.

    “There was a major partner that factored into the decision this year for us to change from a live race to a virtual race, and that is the Pentagon, because we send our runners through the North Pentagon tunnel at the beginning of the race,” said Rick Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) Race Director for the Marine Corps Marathon, 50K and 10K. “Since June, Virginia had no restrictions on groupings, but the DoD directive stated that [groupings] were limited to 25. So, why was the Marine Corps Marathon cancelled? It’s a simple answer: we’re held to a higher standard under the DoD and we didn’t want [to do] anything that would put the Marine Corps, military or law enforcement in jeopardy of getting COVID-19.”

    Formally known as the Marine Corps Reserve Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon was founded in 1976 by former Marine Corps Colonel Jim Fowler, who wanted to promote the goodwill of the Marine Corps and showcase their organization skills. Col Fowler imagined an event that would not only leverage the Marines’ physical fitness, but garner community involvement in a post-Vietnam War era. Shortly before the war ended, Frank Shorter became the first American to win the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics, which put long-distance running on the map and inspired the creation of the marathon. The event initially gave local Marines the opportunity to qualify for the Boston Marathon but has since become one of the largest marathons in the country, drawing participation from people all over the U.S. and around the world.

    The marathon was originally managed by the Marine Corps Reserve but transferred to the active-duty side, falling under Marine Barracks 8th and I, in 1978. In 1981 it relocated to Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico, where it exists today and is managed by the MCMO.

    The MCMO works with several partners in Virginia and Washington, D.C., including the military and more than 2,000 volunteer Marines and Sailors, state and city law enforcement, Metro Transit, National Park Service and other government agencies to plan and execute the event.

    Although many runners may feel discouraged about completing the run virtually, there are many benefits to not having an in-person event.

    “[The run] is about the journey,” said Nealis. “Someone who would never be able to experience the marathon who lives in California can now have that experience. We’re also allowing runners to compete without time limits, so that’s bringing other people into the sport who would never have that opportunity."

    One runner in particular, Danielle Rosvally, has embraced the virtual journey and encourages others to make the most of an unfortunate situation. Rosvally has completed 11 marathons, including two that were achieved in Ironman competitions. This year’s event will be her second virtual Marine Corps Marathon and 12th overall marathon.

    “I think a lot of people forget that we choose to run. We get to run,” said Rosvally. “One of the things that’s really cool about a virtual race is that we get to take that time to reflect and think about why we’re doing this and what it is that’s going to keep driving us forward.”

    While a virtual marathon does not allow you to race among fellow runners along a shared journey, it does provide new opportunities for celebrations and it challenges a runner’s mental agility.

    “I think at some point in our lives we’ve all thought, ‘I can’t do that,’” said Rosvally. “I want to break that barrier down for myself and prove that not only can I do it, I can do it under less-than-ideal circumstances without anyone aside from me to push me. This is all about what I can do in between my ears and with the training I’ve put in my tank.”

    Runners will have from October 1 to November 10 to submit their race results online and can engage with fellow runners by using #RunWiththeMarines on social media.



    Date Taken: 10.13.2021
    Date Posted: 10.25.2021 15:38
    Story ID: 407959
    Location: US

    Web Views: 195
    Downloads: 0