Henderson Hall Marines help race move smoothly behind the scenes
November 8, 2010
Marines from Headquarters & Service Bn., Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall mustered together at 3 a.m. to support the 35th Marine Corps Marathon in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area Oct. 31.
The Marines managed a crowd of more than 30,000 runners at Runner's Village in the Pentagon parking lot, handing out water, setting up tables and picking up trash, as well as discarded clothing that runners dispensed with along the course, which stretched from the Pentagon into the District and past the iconic Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn, Va.
Capt. Michael Fowler, executive officer of Headquarters Company, H&S Bn., HQMC, Henderson Hall, said, ''Our Marines are going to be directing [runners and spectators] to where they want to be.
''When personnel come through, we are a catchall. We are the checkpoint prior to the race."
A second group headed by Capt. David Capizzi, a supply officer for H&S Bn., HQMC, HH, was tasked to support the marathon's 10k race that began on the National Mall.
Capizzi said, ''We were in charge of set up and breakdown of the [10K] start line, mile markers, cones, tracking the special Olympians and assisting their Families, as well as picking up trash and clothing."
Another pre-race task was to keep the runners hydrated. Cpl. Justin Williams and Lance Cpl. Shawn Dingle, from the Information Technology division of H&S Bn., HQMC, HH, filled cups of water non-stop and handed them to thousands of runners on their way to the start line.
''I'm filling up cups with water for people that are thirsty. Handing it out to the runners," said Dingle. Noticing a paper cup drop to the ground, he smiled. ''We're picking this up later anyhow."
''Our most important function was [to have] a Marine presence," said Sgt. Jerry Hoey, who is attached to H&S Bn, HQMC, HH, and assigned to the Office of the Judge Advocate General's Corps, Navy Yard. ''So, we are here for motivation, motivating the runner. They can see Marines here, at the [marathon]."
The Marine Corps Marathon is known as ''The People's Marathon" because it is open to all runners ages 14 and above and is the largest marathon not to offer prize money.
''It [is] one of those events that gives back. It's an event for the people. That's why they call it The 'People's Marathon," said Gunnery Sgt. Roger Munoz, Motor Transportation, H&S Bn., HQMC, HH.
''The Marine Corps puts a ton of events together. It promotes health and it's kind of an exchange for the Marines for being there. It feels good to be recognized."
Munoz added ''You know how the civilians always come up to Marines. They [marathon runners] came up to us and said, 'Can I take a picture with you guys'' The Marines get to feel appreciated and a part of something big."
As Wounded Warrior participants approached the finish line, the crowd cheered and rooted for them through the grueling last hill before the finish line.
''Getting to see some of the finish line - that was my favorite part. I didn't actually see them run up there, but I heard them over the speaker," said Hoey.
''Seeing all the festivities at the Iwo Jima Memorial at the finish line was motivating; to see the people and the dedication they had."
''The Marines liked it. They enjoyed it and some of our Marines said they would do it again," said Munoz.