There’s nine days left until the 37th Marine Corps Marathon. For many runners living in Washington, D.C. or Virginia, this weekend’s Army 10 Miler will be a good preview of what’s in store for the big day on Oct. 28. Many marathon runners use the Army 10 miler as a last training run in advance of the longer course. While the crowds of spectators are generally smaller, the turnout is always impressive and the course is flat, making it one of the most popular races in the area.
This year’s marathon is expected to be the largest in the race’s history. Known as the “People’s Marathon,” for being the largest marathon in the world to not offer prize money to participants, thousands of runners from around the world will cross the finish line.
Thirty thousand runners between the ages of 14 to 86 from every state and 54 countries will participate. Everyone has a different reason for running. Here are some of them:
Team “Doc” Almazan
I’m running to remember Army Sgt. David Almazan, 27, a combat medic killed in Iraq in 2006. Almazan’s humvee was hit by an IED just three weeks into his deployment. A proud Mexican native, he was working at Costco on Sept. 11 and decided to join the military one year later.
Almazan was assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment.
I met his wife, Salina Jimenez, when I covered the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon. Inspired by her journey and his service, I’ve joined her national running team and have participated in several races across the country in Almazan’s name.
While Salina won’t be able to make this year’s marathon, our team will wear David’s photo on the back of our singlet for 26.2 miles.
Pfc. Brandon Smith & Lance Cpl. Nicholas Perez
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Boutwell is running to honor several Marines he lost during his deployments in Iraq including Pfc. Brandon Smith and Lance Cpl. Nicholas Perez.
Pfc. Brandon Smith, 20, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. Smith enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2003 and was killed in 2004 by mortar fire in Qaim, Iraq.
Lance Cpl. Nick Perez was also assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. He was killed during an attack in Iraq’s Anbar province the same year. Perez was passionate about sports and the Corps.
Boutwell described Smith and Perez as two of the finest Marines he ever served with.
“They [joined the Marine Corps]because they felt compelled in their heart to serve. They did it because they wanted to.”
Cpl. Christopher Bordoni
Thirteen family members and Marines will run in honor of Cpl. Christopher Bordoni, 21, who died in April from injuries he sustained during a suicide blast in January.
Bordoni was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marines as a rifleman and was deployed to Afghanistan twice during his career.
Jess Bordoni, his wife, will run her first Marine Corps Marathon with Bordoni’s father and aunt.
Marine battles cancer
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jerry Embry has spent the past year battling a form of blood cancer known as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After a year of receiving treatment, the motor transport mechanic will participate in the race with his nurse, Agnes Sicat.
While Embry underwent treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Embry and Sicat quickly became friends.
The pair joked about signing up for the race during treatment and when registration opened in March, Embry signed the two up.
Today, the cancer is virtually undetectable in his blood.