By Ashleigh Fields

AFRO Assistant Editor

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps gathered in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 29 to support veterans and honor members of the community at the 48th annual Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). The mission of the MCM is to promote physical fitness, generate goodwill and showcase the organizational skills of the United States Marine Corps.  The 26.2 mile race draws about 30,000 people a year to the starting line in Arlington County, Va. It is currently the fourth-largest marathon in the United States and the ninth-largest in the world. Events took place throughout the weekend to engage local kids, recruit students to enlist for service and provide information on the role of a marine.

Photos courtesy of the Marine Corps Marathon

  1. The Marine Corps Marathon’s mascots bring a spark of fun to the start of the children’s portion of the event, allowing younger runners to participate.
  2. Cpl. Mehdrina Jean Charles, administrative specialist with Marine Corps Base Quantico, receives special recognition as a spotlight runner in the Marine Corps Marathon.
  3. Sgt. Ashley Barker, a native of Fairview, Ala., maximizes her physical fitness training to endure the grueling 26.2 mile trail race.
  4. Onlookers cheer on race participants with words of motivation and colorful signs. This race gives local marines an opportunity to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
  5. U.S. Marines celebrate with Soon Kim (middle), the last runner in the 48th Marine Corps Marathon. Kim took home the Penguin Award, which is presented to the last person to cross the finish line. The award is given in honor of the life and service of public affairs officer and marathon runner Maj. Megan McClung, who was killed in action in Iraq in December 2006.
  6. Members of the U.S Marines Corps Color Guard kick off the event.
  7. Local residents line up to race in the annual Marine Corps Marathon.
  8. Cpl. Mehdrina Jean Charles shares words of wisdom and encouragement ahead of the 48th Marine Corps Marathon.
  9. Col. Michael L. Brooks, base commander of the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, attends the 48th Marine Corps Marathon press conference.