- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

In the running world, the Marines are synonymous with the Marine Corps Marathon, but the Marines have been working to change that.

With a large staff in place for the annual marathon, the Marines developed a series of races year-round to provide creative racing opportunities for the communities surrounding their Quantico, Va., base.

First up was the inaugural Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, Va., held in May 2008 with 5,000 registrants.

At the time of the announcement of the race in June 2007, Marine Corps Marathon race director Rick Nealis said: “The Marine Corps Marathon team is excited about the partnership between Marine Corps Base Quantico and the Fredericksburg community. I am confident this new event will bring a significant economic impact to the area by promoting tourism, businesses, the city’s historic and scenic sights and, of course, the local running community.”

It did, and so the Marines got the local support they needed to add several more events to their schedule.

The Run to Register 10K was in March, starting and ending at Butler Stadium on the Marine Corps base. After the race, eligible runners were provided the opportunity to register for the Marine Corps Marathon — four days before the opening of online registration.

Next up is the Run Amuck race June 20. The course, approximately four miles long, will feature a variety of obstacles including hills, a tire dash, fire hose and plenty of mud. Then it is on to what the Marines describe as the “musically magical experience” of RunStock. This evening 5K race Aug. 15 includes on-course entertainment and a post-race concert, also on base.

Of course, then there’s the Marine Corps Marathon weekend at the end of October, with the 26.2-mile run, 10K race and kids dash. The year closes with the Crossroads 12K/Turkey Trot 5K on Nov. 21.

The staff’s hard work paid off last week: The city of Fredericksburg was selected to host the 2011 Road Runners Club of America Convention to coincide with Marine Corps Historic Half weekend May 12-15. The event will be coordinated by the Fredericksburg Area Running Club and the Marine Corps Marathon Running Club, and the Historic Half will receive RRCA designation as a championship event.

“Fredericksburg is a city known for its strategic importance during the Civil War,” Marine Corps Marathon deputy director Angela Huff said. “What better way to celebrate this history than hosting an exchange of ideas and knowledge?”

Going long again - Don’t call Michael Wardian of Arlington on June 19. He probably won’t answer, because he is scheduled to be running 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) at the International Association of Ultrarunners’ 100 Kilometer World Cup in Belgium.

USA Track & Field announced the 2009 100K team last week, and Wardian was an automatic qualifier by virtue of his triumph at the 2008 USA 100K Championships in Madison, Wis.

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