Marines Run 241 Miles in Honor of Marine Corps Birthday
San Francisco, Calif. (November 9, 2016) – Whoever said "Run your own race" never met the 12 Marines that convened on San Francisco, California November 4, 2016 to run the Reebok Ragnar Relay.
The Marines that volunteered to run the relay traveled from as far as Japan to cover more miles than any other team at the race and met each other for the first time on November 3rd.
Already considered one of the toughest long-distance relay races, the Reebok Ragnar Relay covers 182.7 miles, and runners can expect little, if any, sleep on stretches of California that can go from long to grueling.
The race includes 36 course legs that range from easy to very hard, and no leg is less than two miles. Runners trade off at exchange points between each leg. Between legs, the other runners follow along by van or camp and prepare for the upcoming legs. The course takes runners along the coast of San Francisco and heads across the Golden Gate Bridge to the hills of Sonoma before finally ending in Napa Valley.
The men and women making up the Marine Corps team set out to cover even more miles to reach a total of 241 in honor of the United States Marine Corps 241st birthday on November 10, 2016. It's a task they couldn't have completed without working as a team.
Marines don't run 241 miles alone.
"It's a challenge engrained in us since recruit training to never give up, so that's what we do. Someone set a standard for some miles and we upped that," GySgt Jordan Halverson said. "When you think about our long history, all the battles we've won...241 years is amazing, and it's amazing to be a part of that."
While the scenery makes this run seem appealing, the constantly changing terrain and climate, along with lack of sleep and night running, made the race a challenging run for anyone. The Marines of Team 241 however, took it all in stride as they prepared to start the race along the Great Highway in San Francisco.
Reebok supported the team along the way as they worked through each mile and each exchange point, to complete a challenge the Marines never considered unconquerable. For just over 24 hours, the Marines cheered each other on and helped provide encouragement to the other teams running the race.
"That fighting spirit definitely exists with numbers. It starts with you but it multiplies with other people. You always have to get up, you always have to keep going," LCpl Molly Hampton said. "There might be struggles and that fighting spirit that the Marine Corps has instilled in me is still growing in my service and I'm thankful for that. I'm really thankful to be out here with other Marines that are helping me run this race."
Unlike the other teams running the Reebok Ragnar Relay, the Marines of Team 241 joined together to complete the last leg of the race and cross the finish line as one team.
"You get 12 people to come together, not knowing each other, and within minutes we're bonding, we're brothers and sisters," Sgt Patrick Ramos said. "It feels like an honor to be one of the 12 representing the 241 years here."
As the crowd cheered them on, Team 241 cleared the finish line and celebrated the victory of completing a 241-mile challenge of endurance, strength, and teamwork.
And to help celebrate the team's accomplishment and the 241st birthday of the Marine Corps, Reebok invited Marine Veterans to welcome Team 241 in from the race.
"Active-duty Marines are something special, and being a retired Marine I give a lot to our active duty Marines," Maj Robin Jackson, USMC, retired said. "Seeing [the Marines] come in carrying the American flags all together with real team spirit, you guys are the best."
While each Marine came from a different location, the bond and sense of camaraderie they shared helped them overcome a 241-mile battle. All the while, they never lost sight of what they were running for.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate the birthday of our Corps than to run 241 miles with 11 other Marines," GySgt Troy Campbell said. "I have been lucky enough to celebrate the birthday of our Corps 18 times, but none has been as special as this one. Watching 12 of us come together from different backgrounds and different duty stations to accomplish such a hard task as running 241 miles in 24 hours proves there is no obstacle too hard for Marines."
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