QUANTICO, VA, UNITED STATES
“The Marines did a really good job setting up this morning,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Octavio, Marine and Family Programming Division, administration chief. “I hope that, in the end, they understand that what we are doing here today is not just about passing out water and energy drinks. It’s about us supporting the Marine Corps Marathon and motivating the runners and cyclists. We are making sure that the runners do not give up because they are almost done. I mean, what’s more motivating than a Marine telling you you’re doing a great job and to keep on pushing?”
“Zero-dark-thirty” is the only phrase that could describe the pitch black of the 3:30 a.m. early morning scene where Marines gathered at Quantico’s Butler Stadium, awaiting transportation. Many Marines seemed prepared for what Mother Nature could brew up as they had combat desert jackets, beanies and warming layers when they arrived to the stadium.
As the Marines arrived at the water and food points in the District of Columbia, they were co-located with historical buildings that many have traveled far and wide to visit, such as the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial and George Washington Monument.
Soon after the Marines arrived to their site, they set up more than 30 tables and placed 7,200 cups of water and energy drinks in anticipation of marathon participants. At the food point a quarter of a mile away, 10 Marines were setting up more than a thousand energy gels to energize the athletes during the race.
“I can’t wait to support these runners today,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Stanbury, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Office of the Inspector General, administration clerk. “I didn’t really go to sleep last night, but I have the marathon music and the energy shots to keep going so I can keep the runners going.”
The Marathon opening ceremonies started at 7:20 a.m., but the first wheelchair and hand cyclist didn’t pass by the Marines’ points until 8:20 a.m. As the Marines had set up in an expedient manner, they had time to relax and “stand by” for participants.
While waiting, some Marines ate chow, a few caught up on some well-needed rest, while others waited for participants to pass by.
“By the time the runners and cyclists get to our station they are already half way done,” said Cpl. David Flynn, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, Public Affairs, media chief. “So giving the runners the energy to keep going is worth the early morning get up to me. This event overall is really fun and it is great that we get a chance to show our support.”
As the cyclists and runners began to come in, there were only spurts of them. The Marines had plenty of time to replace and refill the cups of water and energy drink, and pick up the cups the runners had thrown on the ground.
About an hour later, more than 23,000 participants began pouring down the stretch of road where the water point was located and that’s when the Marines put their work ethic into overdrive. The faster the runners came by, the faster the Marines refilled their tables. If it wasn’t hectic enough just trying keep the runners hydrated, the water point was just a few yards away from the Potomac River, making wind gusts an issue, as cups were beginning to fall over and fly away.
Eventually, the wind started to die down as the amount of runners slowed to a trickle. In the end the Marines accomplished their mission of hydrating the runners but also motivating them to keep on truckin’.
||QUANTICO, VA, US
This work, Marines give cups of motivation to runners, by Cpl Antwaun Jefferson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.