MARINE CORPS MARATHON WEEKEND
BY ERIC STEINKOPFF
EXTREME OUTFITTERS STAFF
WASHINGTON, DC – It was an uncharacteristically warm late October weekend when Extreme Outfitters ventured to our nation’s capital to support wounded warriors at the 35th annual running of the Marine Corps Marathon.
The staff arrived Friday, October 29, and met with the public, giving out free items and others at nominal charge, to visitors along Pennsylvania Avenue near the Marriot Hotel – all within sight of the Capital Building and the Washington Monument.
Saturday was busy as liberal comedians John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, dubbed “the founding fathers of fake news” by The Washington Post, held their Rally to Restore Sanity in large part as a response to conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s rally Restoring Honor on the national Mall just two months prior.
But the real story was to wait until Halloween Day.
Bright and early race day Sunday, November 30, runners gathered in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Virginia, near the Iwo Jima memorial and the National Cemetery.
There was nervous small talk as some tried to forget the pre-race anxieties and participants were dressed in sweats or sometimes plastic wrap or garbage bags – to capture their body heat before the impromptu wraps were deposited along the route.
Nearly 22,000 runners completed the marathon - with the first finishing in just under two and a half hours and the last just over eight hours.
Extreme Outfitters sponsored employee Brian Parran, 27, ran his first marathon that day in under six hours, but doesn’t intend to stop there.
“It was long, but a lot of fun,” Parran said. “It was great hanging out with the team. I’ll do it again next year.”
Some estimated guests in the area to be as high as 50,000, while more than 1,000 serious visitors came by the Extreme Outfitters booth on race day, obtaining discount cards, information on products and supporting wounded warriors with monetary donations.
Team Xtreme leader U.S. Marine Jeremy Soles wore a gas mask through the event, setting a new Guinness World Record of just under four and a half hours and dedicating his efforts to Marine Cpl. John Michael Peck, 24, who was the victim of a roadside bombing in Afghanistan last May that inured both arms and legs, leaving him a quadriplegic.
The entire Xtreme Team and supporting cast with Soles is from the Richmond, Virginia area and consisted of Jason Thompson, Rocky Motley, Benjamin Dyer and Nathan Huffman – all of whom successfully completed the grueling 26.2 mile course.
But Soles ran the race his own way to demonstrate the struggles that physically and mentally challenged warriors must endure every day as a result of injuries sustained from their service to our country.
“We accept these challenges not for fame or fortune, but to represent those who face challenges far greater than running 26 miles in a gas mask,” Soles said. “We do it to represent and honor our wounded brothers and sisters in arms who would do the same for us. The mask symbolizes perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds and overcoming mental and physical obstacles.”