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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon Forward

TEAM Iraq at the MCM Forward

Running in support of TAPS!

Last week I told you about the Marine Corps Marathon. See that story here.

This weekend will see thousands of runners - Marines, Marine families and friends - running to honour their fallen brothers and sisters in arms. One special team is team Eli, and Eli's family will be participating in the run raising money for TAPS.

TAPS team - Running for Eli
Parker family

What you may not know is that while the Run and Remember is taking place in the US, in Washington, thousands of miles away, Marines in Al Asad, Iraq will also be running.

These 150 servicemen and women are part of MCM Forward. This is the third year that the Marathon has been run in Iraq simultaneously with Washington:

More than 6,000 miles away from the start of the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Arlington, Virginia on October 26th, 2008, hundreds of service members and contractors will run to honor our fallen heroes - but they'll be doing it in the sands of Al-Anbar Province, Iraq. And there's a way for you to show your support for their service and help families of the fallen!

Their 26.2 mile test of endurance, known as the "MCM Forward," will honor service members from all service branches in Iraq and Afghanistan who have given their lives in service to our country. You can honor their commitment by contributing funds to help those left behind. We are asking the American public to pledge $1,000 per runner to honor their run and support TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.


From TAPS official Press Release:

It's especially poignant and fitting that the first steps of the Marine Corps Marathon this year will be run in Iraq in memory of our fallen heroes," said Bonnie Carroll, founder and chairman of TAPS.

Funds raised by the runners in Iraq will support TAPS programs to help families losing loved ones who serve in the military, providing much needed support for Good Grief Camps for children, case management support services for grieving families and the quarterly magazine TAPS produces for surviving families...

They are unofficially dedicating this year's run to US Marine Corps Major Megan M. McClung. McClung promoted the Marine Corps Marathon Forward in 2006, and was killed in December 2006.

Running in memory of McClung is very important to the runners, say organizers. "Thanks to her witty and charming personality and dedication to mission and commitment to fitness challenges, we are able to continue this annual event here in Iraq in support of the service members who wish to challenge themselves and dedicate this race to our fallen heroes," said Nadeau. "I know she will be smiling at all the runners and volunteers as they take part in the event in Al Asad on October 26, 2008 to coincide with the stateside race."

More information about donating to support a runner participating in the Marine Corps Marathon Forward in Iraq is available on the TAPS website here.

Major Megan M. McClung (April 14, 1972– December 6, 2006) was the first female United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat during the Iraq War. Maj McClung was serving as a public affairs officer in Al Anbar Province, Iraq when she was killed. (source)

For those of us unable to be in Washington - or in Iraq - we can watch the Run live. The Marine Corps Marathon: The People's Marathon, can be followed every step of the way. On their site, they have full instructions and links to lead you to the action. That is here: MCM

There will be approximately 30,000 runners in Washington this weekend. Through the miracles of modern technology, we CAN cheer on all the amazing runners in this 33rd Marine Corps Marathon - TAPS Run and Remember - from anywhere in the world.

Semper Fi, Marines.

Be sure and read below for stories of a few of the special runners in Marine Corps Marathon.