Marine Corps Base Quantico -- “Our town loves this event,” said Fredericksburg, Virginia Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw during a ceremony at the Fredericksburg Expo Center to kick off the Marine Corps Historic Half weekend events. “Neighborhoods are competing to see who can make the most noise for you.”
Nearly 6,000 runners from 45 states—and seven foreign countries—took on the 13.1 mile course in the ninth annual running of the Historic Half marathon. The route winds through the streets of historic downtown Fredericksburg dotted with Revolutionary and Civil War landmarks, past the scenic Rappahannock River, and ends with the infamous “hospital hill,” a 200-foot incline past Mary Washington Hospital to the finish line.
After 15 straight days of rain in the area, the runners welcomed sunshine on the day of the race, even though temperatures were in the chilly low-50s at the 7 a.m. start time.
Mark Hopely, 27, of Fredericksburg was the winner, finishing in 1:11:05. The fastest female—for the second year in a row—was Britta Ultz Baxter, 37, of King George, Virginia, with a finish time of 1:25:23.
The pool of runners included 10-year olds Jackson Smith of Fredericksburg and Alison Hutchins of Stafford, Virginia, who finished the half marathon with times of 3:7:41 and 2:12:43, respectively. Richard Ferry, 84, a former Marine from Vero Beach, Florida and Bonnie Snoddy, 73, of Locust Grove, Virginia, were the oldest male and female to finish the race.
The final runner to cross the finish line at 11:51 a.m. was Lt. Daniel Glen, 28, of Jupiter, Florida, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia, who completed the entire race wearing an 85-pound bomb disposal suit to raise money for the EOD Warrior Foundation. Marine volunteers ran with him over the finish line.
A new feature for 2016 was the Wear Blue: Run to Remember mile, held at mile nine of the course. Runners passed photographs of service members killed in action and displayed American flags. One runner took time to salute each photograph as he passed by.
This year also introduced the Semper 5ive five-mile run, which replaced the Semper Fred 5K and Historic 10K events of previous years.
Nine-hundred-sixty-nine Marines from Marine Corps Base Quantico volunteered to help out at the event, passing out jelly beans and cups of water or Gatorade along the route and awarding medals and handing out snacks at the finish line.