Saturday, March 15, 2014

Running for the Red

My Marine Corps Marathon Memories

By Clayton Kolb, Volunteer Contributor 

Last year I had an opportunity to fulfill a dream I've held since I enlisted in the Marine Corps. Ever since I stepped off the bus and on to the yellow footprints at Parris Island in 1996, I've wanted to compete in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. I trained for this event twice during my enlistment but was deployed both times and was unable to participate.

In the 13 years since my enlistment ended, I've been able to continue my service to this country as a commissioned officer in United States Navy Reserve and also working for the American Red Cross. As an employee of the Red Cross, I have had the unique privilege of helping the public prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The Red Cross offered an incredible opportunity to form a team and participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. I was honored to be able to represent the Red Cross on this team while also having an opportunity to fulfill a dream.

From the start, I knew it was going to be a great day. Marines were all over the place shouting words of encouragement and motivating us in a way that only Marines know how to do. There were also a number of our wounded warriors on the course that were either running in prosthetics or pushing themselves in their wheel chairs. It was humbling to see them perform at such a high level.

My official finish time was slightly above my goal but it was less about my time and more about the experience. The course was lined with spectators and Marines, there were constant reminders of the sacrifice many have made for us in service to this country, and crossing the finish line at the Iwo Jima Memorial was an experience that I will never forget.

This year, Team Red Cross will compete again in the Marine Corps Marathon and it is an honor and pleasure to be the Team Captain. I look forward to and embrace the challenges associated with training for a marathon, to include the bumps and bruises as well as the fundraising on behalf of the American Red Cross.

Who will accept this challenge and privilege to represent the American Red Cross with me?

Editor's Note: Clayton Kolb is the Senior Director for Disaster Resource Support and Coordination in Disaster Services at American Red Cross National Headquarters. He'll serve as the Captain for Team Red Cross in the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon. For more information about joining Team Red Cross, please contact Jordan Ritchie at  

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