Team Marine Parents™ 2008 Marine Corps Marathon
Team Marine Parents™ participated in the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon/10K. We had a team member participating in the full marathon, several 10K runners, and even hand cyclist Lance Corporal Joe Lopez on our team! Together, the team raised more $3,500 to support the outreach programs of Marine Parents.com,Inc.™: The Care Package Project™, Operation PAL™ and Purple Heart Hero Support™.
The day before the race, all participants picked up their race packets from the expo center, then headed to the team reception. Our athletes enjoyed light hors d'oeuvres and drinks while getting to know each other. Participants hailed from all over the country.
On race day, the runners were up at zero-dark thirty and met in the hotel lobby. This tough crew was having no part in taking the shuttle bus. Team Hardy went on a recon mission the day before and found a safe walking route to get the team to Runners Village, the race's starting point.
Frank, from Team Hardy, gave his wife a kiss for luck and we said our good-byes to marathon runner Sue, who went to take her place in the marathon mosh pit. The rest of the 10K team managed to find each other and started the race together as a team.
The day was filled with incredible sights and sounds. Everything, from the 50-caliber guns signaling the start of the race, to Marines lining the streets to hand out water and encourage the runners with "ooh rah ma'am or sir", to media helicopters buzzing over head, made the day one to remember. At times, as runners settled into their zone, all you could hear were the footfalls and breathing patterns of the other runners. Some of the runners were relaxed, some were not. At the end, it was wonderful to meet back up with the teammates and listen to everyone share their experiences.
"I had my picture taken with a Marine from Chicago who hung the medal around my neck and said, "Congratulations ma'am". He was so cute; they were ALL cute"
"I thought I was walking really fast until a guy and his wife passed me holding hands. He was using a prosthetic leg and was walking part of the way and running part of the way. They were adorable. When they walked past a group of Marines, the guys yelled to him "RUN MARINE", so he did."
"6.2 miles later [when completing the 10k], I crossed the finish line — 10 seconds behind the marathon winner!! Yep, looked like he barely beat me!"
"I felt like walking, until a hand cyclist zoomed by me. I realized I was lucky to have these tired legs and just kept going".
After running on Sunday, several Marine Parents volunteers helped serve the Purple Heart Hero Support™ meal at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Barracks. It was such an amazing feeling to be among our heroes and their families. While we were there, the chaplain came and asked us to take some food to a family in the ICU waiting room downstairs. They had several children with them and had not left the hospital for more than 48 hours, since their Marine had been brought in. The cafeteria is closed on weekends and they needed a warm meal to nourish their stressed bodies. They were so grateful to get a warm meal.
Before leaving, the team toured the Pentagon. It was amazing and humbling to stand in the very spot where innocent lifes were lost when the plane hit on September 11th. We toured the memorial and chapel inside the building at the crash site, and toured the new outdoor memorial as well.