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The top finisher for females Natalie Daniels crosses the finish line in the 17th annual Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg Virginia, May 19, 2024. The Historic Half is a 13.1 mile race that generates community goodwill, fosters public relations, and increases advocacy for individual health while emphasizing the Marine Corps' warrior ethos. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Jeffery Stevens)

Photo by Courtesy Photo

First place woman runner finishes Historic Half with surprise

23 May 2024 | Shaemus Sawyer Marine Corps Base Quantico

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Almost 4,000 people from all over ran with the Marines during the 17th annual Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg, May 19.

This 13.1-mile-long race weaved throughout Historic Downtown Fredericksburg, home to over 200 stores and several historic sites, and was themed “a bond that bridges generations – women who serve the Nation and communities.”

Natalie Daniels, the first-place runner for women, crossed the finish line carrying her baby.

“I am actually four months pregnant,” she said after finishing with one hour, 24 minutes and 12 seconds. This will be her last race before the baby is born.

“I think a lot of times, the message to women is ‘take the easy way’ or ‘relax.’”

”Don’t,” she said definitively.

“You’ll always be surprised by yourself. I know what kind of boundaries I need to stay in, and I surprised myself by a huge margin,” she continued. “Just always be willing to stretch yourself.”

While some have seen their last race, there was also a historic showing. It’s been 12 years since they last made an appearance on the East Coast, but the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard performed during the opening ceremony of the race.

Shortly after, a musket was fired to signal the start for tandem runners, and another signal from cannon fire started the historic half.

“For those who endured the course, a big congratulations,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Rachel Murphy, a member of the All-Marine Running Team and first woman within her team to cross the finish. “Everyone I saw out there was pushing … and for the people pushing the strollers out there, kudos for those hills – that’s tough!”

To make this race happen, it took about 800 volunteers and service members, with the addition of Fredericksburg city officials, MCBQ leadership and Marine Corps Marathon Office staff.

"The historic half being voted the best half marathon goes to show just how much work goes into this event," said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Michael L. Brooks, the commanding officer of MCBQ. "This literally takes the entire city to make this an experience for all runners."

The historic half is one of many races the MCMO holds that leads up to the culminating event: the annual Marine Corps Marathon. To register for future races and discover more about the variety of events the MCMO holds, please visit for more information.

Marine Corps Base Quantico