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Runners take off on their 17.75k trek after the sound of the starting pistol, Sept. 17. The length of the race celebrates the Marine Corps birthday and honors all Marines past and present, giving runners a chance to explore the Corps’ rich heritage at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at the finish line.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christofer P. Baines

MCM Crossroads 17.75k takes runners on epic journey

19 Sep 2011 | Lance Cpl. Christofer P. Baines

As the sun rose early Saturday morning on the east coast, 657 runners charged ahead for the Crossroads 17.75k, Sept. 17. A runner’s motivation, dedication and endurance are all tested during the 11.3-mile journey, which accomplished the Marine Corps Marathon’s goal of promoting physical fitness, community goodwill and showcasing the organizational skills of the Corps.

The distance ran is unique since it commemorates the birth year of the Corps, which in turn honors all Marines, past and present. It’s the 11th of 12 events of the Marine Corps Marathon Event series, leading up to the MCM10K and the annual Marine Corps Marathon, both run on Oct. 30.

Three years ago, the MCM realized that the location of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Quantico made an excellent opportunity to bring runners to the heart of the Corps, said Rick Nealis, race director, Marine Corps Marathon. The people of Quantico and Prince William County embraced the idea and have helped shape it into a resounding success.

The course takes runners through Prince William County along paved roads and the Prince William Forrest Park, ending at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, where they will have the opportunity to see the Marine Corps legacy first-hand, as well as having a chance to interact with those in the ranks.

“When doors open at nine o’clock they have the opportunity to go into the museum,” said Nealis. “They might be going in just to use the restroom or to get a bite to eat, but I believe that once we get them in that door and they see the beauty of this museum that they’ll stay, or better yet, say ‘hey, I need to come back and see this.’”

As the runners crossed the finish line, Marines and volunteers at the museum offered water and sports drinks, as well as free massages and other items.  Once the majority of runners completed their trek, winners were announced and victories were relished.

The winners of the male and female masters division, for athletes over the age of 40, were Billy Ramsey of Stafford, Va., and Heidi Durgan of Quantico, Va. Runners Keith Levasseur, from Columbia, Md., and Amanda Roache, of Manassas, Va., took first place overall for the male and female divisions with unofficial times of 1:05:29 and 1:11:31 respectively.

“Crossroads is a fun and tough course but it’s fair,” said Levasseur. “For every up there’s a down.”

Though the 17.75k was a tough course, it drew in a total of 657 finishers and was a great success. Many participants took great pleasure running, and say they will be back for more Oct. 30.

“You can’t beat the scenery, the great people and the finish at the museum,” said Kate Coupe, a crash fire rescue firefighter and paramedic from Grandby, Conn. “We definitely look forward to coming back in 43-days for the Marine Corps Marathon.”

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