Forty-five years ago today, I stepped off the bus in Parris Island, South Carolina onto the infamous yellow footprints, forever changing my life.
While I intended to stay in and make it a career, the post-Vietnam era was not a popular time to be in the military. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out after my four-year enlistment. Now, 45 years later, it’s crazy how fast time has flown.
I am forever grateful to be one of the Few and the Proud…Semper Fidelis my Sisters and Brothers!
Memorial Day is a time to pay homage and remember the sacrifice of those who have been killed in action serving our country.
Today I’m remembering my marathon guardian angel Megan McClung, who as a Marine Corps Major served as a Public Affairs Officer in Iraq. A triathelete and accomplished marathoner, Megan was the first female Marine officer killed in action.
The flag-lined Blue Mile at the Marine Corps Marathon is a stark and emotional reminder to all the runners of fallen warrior sacrifices.
I will never forget your sacrifice my Marine sister, and Semper Fidelis.
It’s official…Semper Fi, Sister, the story of my 2015 Marine Corps Marathon journey to celebrate my 60th birthday is included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Running For Good” being released on June 4th!
Title IX granting equity in women’s sports didn’t pass until 1972, the year before I graduated high school. Any running I did was a short sprint to the phone or a shuttle run in PE class.
I first ran a half mile during my two week Army Reserve basic training. Upon enlisting in the Marine Corps, we were issued heavy, baggy baby blue blouses, skorts, and sneakers to run in. I asked my father to send me some new-fangled Adidas hoping it would somehow how make running more tolerable. They didn’t, and just for perspective sports bras didn’t enter the scene until the late 1970s. As the photo below of my bootcamp bunkie and I shows, 1976 Marine recruit running anything but fashionable.
Throughout my active duty years, we took periodic physical fitness tests (or PFTs) running a mile and a half with the shorter the time, the higher the score. Added to our run time was the flexed arm hang and sit-ups for a total PFT score.
I ran in the Marine Corps because I had to, and I gladly hung up my running shoes when my enlistment was over. If you had told that 21-year-old recruit I’d take up running nearly four decades later, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share memories from the training trail leading up to that magical marathon day in 2015. It will be a fun run down memory lane…and I may just inspire myself to hit the trail again.