The Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) hosted its first live event for 2020 on Saturday, Aug. 22. More than 300 runners from 16 states gathered aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico to participate in the Belleau Wood 8K, Quantico 12K and Recon Ruck. An additional 1,600 registered for the virtual version of the events. 

“We worked really hard to create a safe environment for our runners, staff and volunteers by making significant changes, taking necessary precautions and implementing new protocols including masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing measures,” said Rick Nealis, MCMO Race Director.

Runners assembled in socially-distanced corrals at six feet apart and left in small waves, with five runners starting every minute from 6–7:30 a.m. Pre-event communication and signs near the Start/Finish lines encouraged runners to “do their part” and practice social distancing throughout the event, avoid group photos and physical contact, wear a mask when not running and wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.

Hand washing stations and hand sanitizers were placed throughout the event site and near port-a-johns, the information booth and hospitality queue. All finishers received a branded MCMO face mask before collecting their medals and pre-packaged post-race goodies.

“This was outstanding!” said Quantico 12K participant Lou Peradotto from Fredericksburg. “Great job. I love the way the queues were set up, the masks at the end, no crowding at the start; a great format for races going forward.”

Leading the Belleau Wood 8K finishers was Matt Rouse, 34, of Quantico, with a time of 30:15. He was followed by 13-year-old Izrael Diaz from Springfield, with a time of 35:31 and father-and-son duo Josh (40) and Landon Mills (13) from Stafford, finishing only a second apart at 40:22 and 40:23, respectively.

For Rouse, being able to run in proximity to others was a welcomed outlet. He said, “I’m so grateful that we can do it even with all the differences. It’s just nice to get out and feel a sense of community and compete with folks.”

Yuko Whitestone, 48, from Springfield, finished first among women in the Recon Ruck event with a time of 1:17:49. “I love the MCM events and since this is the first live one since the pandemic hit, I couldn’t miss it. When I registered, the Ruck was the only option left for live participation; it’s the hardest one but I said ‘I have to do it.’ The Organization really went above and beyond for this event.”

Top event finishers unofficial results:

Quantico 12K Male Top Three Results

        1. Anthony Sanders, 36, Stafford, VA 55:07

        2. Brian Zenni, 22, Arlington, VA 55:29

        3. Ryan Olson, 35, Stafford, VA 56:19

Quantico 12K Female Top Three Results

        1. Annette Aho, 27, Pittsburgh, PA 59:56

        2. Catherine Miller, 54, Spotsylvania, VA 1:00:30

        3. Dana Mills, 40, Stafford, VA 1:05:46

Belleau Wood 8K Male Top Three Results

        1. Matt Rouse, 34, Quantico, VA 30:15

        2. Izrael Diaz, 13, Springfield, VA 35:31

        3. Josh Mills, 40, Stafford, VA 40:22

Belleau Wood 8K Female Top Three Results

        1. Erika Jacobs, 40, Stafford, VA 45:18

        2. Maria Smith, 48, Germantown, MD 49:09

        3. Lindsey Williams, 30, Leland, NC 49:22

Recon Ruck Male Top Three Results

        1. Tom Quinn, 38, Quantico, VA 59:51

        2. Nathan Wood, 37, Quantico, VA 1:04:35

        3. Michael Putney, 27, Stafford, VA 1:07:46

Recon Ruck Female Top Three Results

        1. Yuko Whitestone, 48, Springfield, VA 1:17:49

        2. Laurie Walther, 43, Manassas, VA 1:19:06

        3. Elaine Herman, 23, Washington, DC 1:26:21

Other notable finishers included Col. William C. Bentley III, commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico, who completed the Recon Ruck with a time of 1:31:18 and veteran runner Sid Busch, 74, who presented the colors at the start of the morning’s events and then completed the Quantico 12K in 2:54:32.

Participants in both the virtual and in-person events received the official event shirt. Belleau Wood 8K, Quantico 12K, Crossroads Challenge and Duathlon finishers earned a spectacular, originally designed medal. Recon Ruck finishers received a patch and those who complete the DIY Run Amuck will be awarded a special coin. 

Unofficial results are available at Runners may continue their commitment to #RunWithTheMarines by participating in the 2020 Turkey Trot 10K on Nov. 21 with both, live and virtual options available. Additionally, all MCM Weekend event registrations are open including the marathon, 10K, 50K and mile.

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