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380AEW Article

Marine Corps Marathon Runs through UAE desert

  • Published
  • By SSgt. Colton Ellott
  • 380th AEW

Airmen, Soldiers and Marines assigned  to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, United Arab Emirates, had the opportunity to run the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 29, 2017.


Al Dhafra Air Base was able to accommodate deployed service members who were unable to run the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon in the nation’s capital.


The first MCM took place in Washington D.C. on Nov. 7, 1976 with just over a thousand participants.


“I wanted to do the Marine Corps Marathon for a while and to have the Marine Air Control Squadron-24, Virginia Beach, Virginia, coordinate the event locally, is a great point of pride for me,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Fork, Staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marine Air Control Squadron-24.


Today, the marathon has grown into one of the largest marathons in the US and the world and has more than 30,000 runners.


“This was my first marathon,” said Fork. “It meant a lot to me to have my first marathon while I’m forward deployed and be able to run alongside joint service brothers and sisters. The fact that it was the Marine Corps Marathon made it that much better for me.”


Running 26.2 miles is no small accomplishment, there was countless hours of training involved before the race began. 


“It required long training runs and lots of miles each week building up to the event, which meant sacrificing sleep and balancing out demanding mission schedules,” said Fork.


During the race, runners were challenged mentally and physically.


“Each of us are motivated by something,” said Fork. “I would put in my headphones and listen to worship music. It was my time to really connect with God. I would use the verse Hebrews 12:1-2 which says run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on”


The Marines of MACS-24, were honored to be able to host this event here on ADAB. 


“We received great support from the 380th AEW and were pleased our host nation allowed us to use the base to carve out the course,” said Fork. 


The runners had lots of support along the route, as volunteers showed up well before the sun was rising.


“We had so many great volunteers who gave up hours to come out and pour water or Gatorade and even hand out gummy bears [Thank you Lt. Col. Kramer], said Fork.  This was a great event bringing together Active duty, Reserves, National Guard members from multiple services.”


“I believe everyone involved walked away gaining much more than just an awesome medal,” said