On the morning of Oct. 25, runners stood on the road between Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon, poised to begin a 26.2 mile race through the District.
Carleigh Douglas (MSB ’16) stood among them, watching in awe as Marine Corps officers parachuted out of the sky holding American flags. Surrounding her were more than 30,000 runners — including several Georgetown students — from all 50 states and 54 different countries.
At the sound of the start gun, runners leapt into action, kicking off the 40th Annual Marine Corps Marathon.
The marathon was the culmination of a weekend of activities that lasted from Oct. 23 to 25, consisting of a Health and Fitness Expo, Kids Run, 10K Run, pep rally and Runners Conference.
Douglas said the MCM was something she wanted to complete before leaving presence throughout the race inspiring, including the “Blue Mile,” a stretch in the middle of the course lined entirely with signs and flags in memory of Marines that were killed in action.
Douglas also spoke about how the injured participants inspired her throughout the race.
“I was really inspired by the people who were both wheeling themselves and being pushed by others,” Douglas said. “The times I was running with them were such amazing moments.”
The MCM was Sara Margolis’ (COL ’16) first marathon, although she has participated in half marathons and 10-milers sponsored by the army and the Marine Corps in the past.
Margolis spoke fondly of her experience. She said friends cheered for her on along the way, some of them jumping in to run small sections of the race with her for support.
“I love races in D.C. that benefit the military, and it is also the most fun and beautiful place to run,” Margolis said. “I would love to do it again every year from here on out if I’m in D.C.”
Margolis said that one of the reasons she loves doing military races is that she hopes to join the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the legal branch of the military. She also highlighted the sense of camaraderie she felt throughout the marathon and praised the organization of the race.
“It is a well-oiled machine,” said Margolis, “They know exactly how far apart to put different mile times and they’ve got everything down to a formula.”
Professional runners sponsored by the organization ran at specific places to motivate the marathoners and run with them if they wanted to finish at a certain time.
Michael Saxon (MSB ’18) said the size of the race was intimidating at first, but emphasized the marathon’s sense of community and focus on veterans and the military.
“There wasn’t a big stretch of time during which there wasn’t a stranger cheering me on,” Saxon said. “Everyone was very supportive and a lot of people had signs. You made it because there were so many people around you doing the same thing and so many people in it all for the same goal.”
Saxon also said it was difficult training for a marathon while juggling schoolwork and other commitments.
“I would see myself doing another one in a couple of years,” Saxon said. “It was definitely worth it, but I don’t know if I want to do it again while I’m in college.”
Georgetown Triathlon Team Captain Aaron Lewis (MSB ’16), a former staff writer for The Hoya, also ran and said he was struck by the positive atmosphere and how the course of the marathon involved running through so many different parts of D.C.
“The course definitely showcased D.C.,” Lewis said. “It started in Arlington so you could see the back of the city and had parts where you ran under the Kennedy Center, past the Lincoln Memorial, along the Mall, into Georgetown and finally finished at the Iwo Jima Memorial.”
Megan Wallace (COL ’17) ran as a “Fundracer” for Back On My Feet, an organization she learned about through the Georgetown University Running Club. The nonprofit organization promotes the self-sufficiency of homeless people by engaging them in running to build confidence and strength.
“I am proud to say I beat my fundraising goal, achieved my goal of finishing in under four hours (my time was 3:45) and sprinted up the final hill across the finish line (my own personal goal),” Wallace wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I would really recommend the experience to anyone who is toying with the idea — you are always stronger than you think you are.
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