By Gene Lambey,
Special to the AFRO

This year marked the 48th annual Marine Corp Marathon as thousands upon thousands of runners participated in two-day running events across Washington D.C. 

The Marine Corp Marathon hosted its 48th annual race to celebrate and uplift active and retired military service people, honoring their hard work for our country. It is also a tenacious event for passionate runners. It encourages health and fitness for all participants above the age of 14.

This year, the marathon attracted over 23,000 runners from across the United States and other parts of the world from Oct. 28 to Oct. 29. The event consisted of a 10K, 50K and the official Marine Corp Marathon. 

The AFRO spoke with Kristen Loslin, public relations coordinator with the Marine Corp Marathon. She gave the AFRO her summary of the event and how this annual running event honors the divisions of the military.

“The Marine Corp Marathon commemorates a lifetime goal that our runners come out annually.  They strive to go out and set their goal to complete this, but they are also choosing to do it with the Marines,” said Loslin.

Loslin stated that many runners that participate in the event are veterans or active military members. She also stated that some runners that annually run the Marine Corps Marathon are competitive and add this race into their roster to qualify for future events, like the Boston Marathon. 

“Our country is what it is because we have had brave men and women who have gone out and may have given in some way, individuals who have lost their lives, others who have given their time, their blood, sweat and tears because they love this country. They want to represent it and they want us to have a better life,” said Loslin.

Various runners chose to honor fallen soldiers during their run. Mark Chard who ran on behalf of the Beirut Veterans of America. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1983 barrack bombings that took place in Beirut, Lebanon. Suicide bombers detonated a truck in the four-story barracks of the 1st Battalion 8th Marines, causing it to collapse, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers while injuring over 100.  

“He was actually running in honor, on behalf of the Beirut Veterans of America. He ran holding the Beirut Veterans of America flag, joined by his daughters and other family members who were running with other flags,” said Loflin. “On the flag, it had the names of those who were lost at Beirut.”

Over 8,000 servicemen and women participated in the Marine Corps Marathon and more 4,000 active service members cheered them on. 

The 10K course was 6.2 miles, the 50K course was 31.1 miles and the main event, the Marine Corp Marathon, was 26.2 miles.

The 10K course started in downtown Washington D.C. near the National Mall and ended near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial. 

While the 50K run started on Route 110, going through Rosslyn, extending past Foxhall Village going as far as the Palisades. The course reaches back to Georgetown, passing through downtown D.C., all through the National Mall and other historical landmarks. After passing through downtown D.C.,the last stretch of the course extended into Crystal City and ended near the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial. 

The main event, the Marine Corps Marathon, started on Route 110, similar to the 50K event. The course went through Rosslyn, passed through Georgetown onto the Rock Creek Park Trail. Off the Rock Creek Park Trail, the course continued through downtown, just as the previous mentioned courses. The final stretch of the Marine Corps Marathon passes the Jefferson Memorial into Crystal City and finished at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial. 

The winner of this year’s 48th Marine Corps Marathon was 38 year-old Kenyan runner Julius Kogo. His time was 2 hours, 25 minutes and 56 seconds. 

Callum Nuff from Houston, Texas won the 50K in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds. 

As Veteran’s Day approaches, the AFRO encourages readers to remember the fallen service members of our country’s military and to honor those that still fight daily to protect our country’s freedom.