by Seth Eisenberg
2nd Lt. Jacob Bradorsky bested 30,000 competitors to finish first in today’s 26.2 mile Marine Corps marathon with a time of 2:23:29. Nearly 11,000 first-timers were expected for the 35th annual event that covered a course from Arlington, Virginia to the Kennedy Center, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln, FDR, Korean War, and Vietnam Veteran’s memorials, Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, Pentagon and finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
For the past four years, satellite marathons have taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan for deployed marines.
I first discovered the Marine Corps marathon in 1976 from Lt. Col. Joseph Griffis. Joe and his wife were my mother’s clients at a Northern Virginia residential treatment center for adolescents before the Marine colonel became a regular part of our family and forever touched my life. His youngest son, Pat, was my closest childhood friend for several years. Although Joe died in 2008 after a long battle with lung cancer, his commitment to helping veterans beat overwhelming odds surely lives on through many of the competitors in this year’s marathon.
Joe’s belief in the benefits of physical activities inspired many hiking trips and led Pat and me to a week-long survival course in the Virginia mountains that helped us learn much about ourselves as teenagers.
Today, couples and families alike are increasingly turning to physical activity to build family connection along with a chance to boost feel-good endorphins while providing a distraction from daily worries.
Marathons have become popular family activities throughout the country. The annual Marine Corps marathon includes many families running together and has been recognized as the best event for families to do together.
Preparing for a marathon requires a rigorous routine of daily exercise. While few will ever beat Lt. Bradorsky’s winning time in today’s event, the process of preparing and participating brings lasting health benefits.
A report from the Mayo Clinic says exercise increases overall health and sense of well-being, while providing direct stress-busting benefits.
- It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
- It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
- It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
Learn more at MayoClinic.com and your family can start preparing to join in next year’s Marine Corps marathon.