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Marathon runners reaching out for a slice of orange, to recharge their energy at the first food station of the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27, 2013. The runners have just completed the first nine miles of the race.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Cuong Le

Orange you glad to see us

27 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Cuong Le Marine Corps Base Quantico

On Oct. 23, 2013 Gunnery Sgt. Cesarina Hernandez’s morning started at 2 a.m., but she was not training or working out, instead she was preparing for the start of the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon.

Thirty Marines from various units aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico manned Food Station 1, in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington, D.C.

“We are here to support and provide motivation to the runners and encourage them to finish the race,” said Hernandez. “Who better than the Marines to motivate and encourage the runners during the Marine Corps Marathon.”

Marines were not the only ones preparing for the marathon at 2 a.m., for Melissa Grant-Martin this is her fourth year consecutive year volunteering for the race.

“I love the marathon, because it is so fun and you get to see so many different types of people,” Grant-Martin said. “You also get to help and support the runners by providing them with energy and motivation.”

As the runners passed by the nine mile marker, Marines and civilians handed the runners fresh cut oranges and a shout of motivation.

“Knowing that you can help motivate the runners is a great feeling and I love to cheer them on,” said Jessica Gambino, volunteer, Food Station One. “I generally enjoy helping the racers and I really like to watch them run.”

According to Grant-Martin, Marines and volunteers not only provide the sustenance, but they resupply them with the motivation to keep going and finish the race.

“People like to see Marines and they look forward to us coming out here every year,” said Grant-Martin. “I think the best part about the whole event is that we are helping such a diverse group of people.”

Left with a street full of oranges the Marines and civilians stood fast until all of the 30,000 racers had passed. Now, the only thing left to do was to clean up.

“Helping motivate the racers motivated us,” said Staff Sgt. Jamal Russell, officer in charge, Food Station One. “When all the runners passed, it gave us a sense of pride knowing that we had completed our mission.”

Combat Correspondent:

Marine Corps Base Quantico