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Royal Marines, Navy take Challenge Cup

By Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes | | October 25, 2009

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The men’s British Royal Marines and Navy took back the Challenge Cup during the 34th Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 25.

Mark Croasdale, a British Royal Marine currently serving in the Brit’s recruiting command, said it was nice to finally get the cup back from the Marines.

“I’ve been competing here for the past 10 marathons and we’ve always been neck and neck with the Americans,” said Croasdale, a Lancashire, United Kingdom, native. “It feels good to win, but most importantly, the challenge the Americans gave us makes the win that much better.”

The Royal Marines and Navy’s fastest runners finished with a combined time of 8 hours, 1 minute and 17 seconds.  The U.S. Marines all female team claimed the cup for the females and had a combined time of 6:38:3. Croasdale described the challenge as good, friendly competition.

Erin Demchko, a logistics officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, lead the female Marines in run time, and felt that the challenge was a bit more than just on the marathon course.

“It’s such a friendly rivalry between us,” said Demchko. “We spent some time exchanging some friendly smack-talk with [the British Royal Navy and Marines] during a dinner we had last night.”

Demchko is no stranger to challenges. She recently returned to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., from a deployment to Afghanistan. However, she spent most of the little free time she had aboard Camp Leatherneck, in Helmand Province, training for this marathon.

The U.S. Marines and Royal Navy and Marines have been going head-to-head in the Challenge Cup for 30 years and running. After a member of the Royal Marines and Navy team held their cup in the air at the marathon award ceremony, Croasdale said they’ll have to work hard to protect the cup at next year’s marathon.

“It was tough to give up the cup but the [U.S.] Marines performed really well,” said captain of the U.S. Marine team Steven Peterson. “It was a very close competition.”

The winner was determined in two categories – men’s division and women’s division. The men’s winner was determined by the combined time of the top three male finish times. The women’s winner was determined by the combined time of the top two female finish times.


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