Marine Corps Historic Half Challenges Runners for 10th Anniversary

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Just 10 years ago, no one knew if the Marine Corps Historic Half would really take hold, but each year the race has grown bigger and better. Since 2008, the Historic Half in Fredericksburg has seen 50,000 runners, and this year runners from 46 states and seven countries are pounding the pavement.

For the Historic Half’s 10th anniversary, race organizers added a new challenge for runners: the “Devil Dog Double.” Marc Goldman, marketing manager for the Marine Corps Marathon said 600 runners signed up for the challenge. The challenge involves runners completing the Semper 5ive (5 miles), the Historic Half (13.1 miles) and the Hospital Hill route — twice.

“Hospital Hill is mile 10 of the half-marathon course. It is a huge elevation climb over a very short distance conveniently located right next to Mary Washington Health Care earning the name Hospital Hill,” said Goldman. “And it is every runner’s rite of passage. If they can get through that hill, they know they’ve got this event conquered.”

The new challenge’s name is in reference to what German soldiers called U.S. Marines who fought in the 1918 battle of Belleau Wood. “Devil Dogs” described their ferocious fighting style.

The “Historic Half” is not only a great name, said Goldman, but also extols the historic significance of Fredericksburg, home to civil war and revolutionary war sites such as Ferry Farm, where George Washington’s boyhood home once stood.

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The sun comes up in Fredericksburg as event organizers get ready for the Marine Corps Historic Half’s 10th anniversary. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\u00a0U.S. Marines play a huge part in the Marine Corps Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"oembed","media":"

\n\thttp:\/\/<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">US Marines a huge part of the Marine Corps Historic Half. It's the tenth anniversary of the run in Fredericksburg. <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/WTOP">@WTOP<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/RunWithTheMarines?src=hash">#RunWithTheMarines<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/t.co\/YO6LQ9AeUt">pic.twitter.com\/YO6LQ9AeUt<\/a><\/p>\u2014 Kathy Stewart (@KStewartWTOP) <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/KStewartWTOP\/status\/866238466417459200">May 21, 2017<\/a><\/blockquote> <script async src="\/\/platform.twitter.com\/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"><\/script>","caption":"

U.S. Marines play a huge part in the Marine Corps Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"oembed","media":"

\n\thttp:\/\/<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The 10th Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg is underway!@WTOP <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/RunWithTheMarines?src=hash">#RunWithTheMarines<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/t.co\/i8CH1hcTyZ">pic.twitter.com\/i8CH1hcTyZ<\/a><\/p>\u2014 Kathy Stewart (@KStewartWTOP) <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/KStewartWTOP\/status\/866250080147394563">May 21, 2017<\/a><\/blockquote> <script async src="\/\/platform.twitter.com\/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"><\/script>","caption":""},{"type":"oembed","media":"
\n\thttp:\/\/<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Marine Corps Marathon mascot "Miles" giving runners high-five as 10th Historic Half got started in Fredericksburg. <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/WTOP">@WTOP<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/RunWithTheMarines?src=hash">#RunWithTheMarines<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/t.co\/gRbsvVdqTk">pic.twitter.com\/gRbsvVdqTk<\/a><\/p>\u2014 Kathy Stewart (@KStewartWTOP) <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/KStewartWTOP\/status\/866292736735010817">May 21, 2017<\/a><\/blockquote> <script async src="\/\/platform.twitter.com\/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"><\/script>","caption":"

Marine Corps Marathon mascot “Miles” gave runners high-fives as the 10th annual Historic Half started in Fredericksburg. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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Marine Corps Marathon Director Rick Nealis with Jen Ognek at the Historic Half in Fredericksburg. Ognek has run the Historic Half since it began 10 years ago. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"oembed","media":"

\n\thttp:\/\/<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ainsley's Angels waiting for start of Marine Corps historic half in Fredericksburg. <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/AinsleysAngels?src=hash">#AinsleysAngels<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/WTOP">@WTOP<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/RunWithTheMarines?src=hash">#RunWithTheMarines<\/a> <a href="https:\/\/t.co\/8rffZL53SN">pic.twitter.com\/8rffZL53SN<\/a><\/p>\u2014 Kathy Stewart (@KStewartWTOP) <a href="https:\/\/twitter.com\/KStewartWTOP\/status\/866294841369653248">May 21, 2017<\/a><\/blockquote> <script async src="\/\/platform.twitter.com\/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"><\/script>","caption":"

Volunteers with Ainsley’s Angels, a nonprofit that helps people with special needs participate in races, wait for the start of the Marine Corps Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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A man portraying World War I Army Gen. Black Jack Pershing at the Historic Half as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of entering World War I. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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Congressman Rob Wittman has been a part of the Marine Corps Historic Half since its inception. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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The Historic Half started as a practice run for the full Marine Corps Marathon, but it has become its own big success in the past 10 years. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Historic Half started as a practice run for the full Marine Corps Marathon, but it has become its own big success in the past 10 years. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Historic Half started as a practice run for the full Marine Corps Marathon, but it has become its own big success in the past 10 years. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Historic Half started as a practice run for the full Marine Corps Marathon, but it has become its own big success in the past 10 years. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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The Devil Dog Double race is this year’s challenge for runners to mark the 10th anniversary of the Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Devil Dog Double race is this year’s challenge for runners to mark the 10th anniversary of the Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Devil Dog Double race is this year’s challenge for runners to mark the 10th anniversary of the Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The Devil Dog Double race is this year’s challenge for runners to mark the 10th anniversary of the Historic Half. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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Laura Morrow from Woodbridge is one of 600 runners to take on the Devil Dog Double challenge. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"

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The youngest runner in this year’s Historic Half is 9-year-old Yug Kolla from Ashburn. He’s completed 3 half-marathons in 3 months. (WTOP\/Kathy Stewart)\n"}], previews: [{"index":0,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half14_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":1,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/themes\/wtop\/assets\/img\/gallery_preview.jpg"},{"index":2,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/themes\/wtop\/assets\/img\/gallery_preview.jpg"},{"index":3,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/themes\/wtop\/assets\/img\/gallery_preview.jpg"},{"index":5,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half13_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":6,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/themes\/wtop\/assets\/img\/gallery_preview.jpg"},{"index":7,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half12_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":8,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half11_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":10,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half7_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":11,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half8_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":12,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half9_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":13,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half10_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":15,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/Historic-Half3_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":16,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/Historic-Half4_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":17,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/Historic-Half5_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":18,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half6_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":20,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/historic-half_KS-260x174.jpg"},{"index":21,"src":"http:\/\/wtop.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/05\/Historic-Half2_KS-260x174.jpg"}], prev: "\t", next: "\t" };

Rick Nealis, race director for the Historic Half, said that the Historic Half was created 10 years ago as a practice run for organizers to get ready for the Marine Corps Marathon held in October. But the Historic Half has grown into its own main event.

“It’s nothing short of a success,” he said.

Jen Ognek from Fredericksburg has run the Historic Half since its inception.

“It’s a half-marathon that’s going to be around for a long, long time,” she said.

Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va., 1st District) has been a part of the Historic Half over the last 10 years as a celebrity starter firing the starting pistol. He says people come from all over to Fredericksburg for the race, even making it a weekend destination.

“It’s really amazing how it turned out and what it’s become today,” he said, adding that for the running community they look to this race as one that they have to check off their list.

Wittman said that the best part of the race is seeing the Marines work the event with smiles on their faces and enthusiasm to make the event so special.

“These same Marines who are out here today, tomorrow could be in harm’s way,” said Nealis.

He said that when the runners and others at the Historic Half thank them or ask for hugs or selfies, “the Marines get something back, because they know the public really appreciates what they’re doing.”

The post Marine Corps Historic Half challenges runners for 10th anniversary appeared first on WTOP.

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