Many runners represent their running clubs or teams by wearing a singlet featuring the group’s name at races. For some runners, that team is the United States Marine Corps.
The U.S. All-Marine Running Team provides both competition and camaraderie, said Lt. Col. Joseph Galvin, who said he’s been on the team since about 2006. The team competes against other U.S. military branches and other nations.
“When you see runners over and over again, you get to know more about them and they get to know more about you, and it’s a great community, as most running communities are,” Galvin said. “It’s very encouraging.”
Unlike other running groups, the team doesn’t get to train together regularly, because Marines are stationed across the world, said Galvin, who recently moved from Florida to the D.C. area. Bill Stearns and Dave Davis, coaches at Colgan High School, coach the the runners online.
Galvin, 47, encourages younger Marines to get involved with the team. Finding new members for the team can result from wearing the uniform at competitions, getting info out through messages sent to all Marines and looking at Marines’ times for the physical fitness test and reaching out, he said.
There are about 25-30 runners on the team, Galvin said, with about 10 or 12 of them especially active in the group. Since the Marines are part of this team in addition to their jobs as Marines, some have more availability to participate, he said.
Capt. Lindsay Carrick was one of the U.S. All-Marine Running Team members who traveled to England in June for the Torbay Half Marathon, where the U.S. Marines competed against the British Royal Navy and Marine Commando Running Team.
She was going for a sub-six-minute pace, she said, and she was able to do that, finishing as the second overall female and earning a new personal record. Her chip time was 1:18:24.
“It went well overall and I’m just grateful for the opportunity that we can get overseas with the team,” said Carrick, 26, who works in Quantico, Va., at Officer Candidates School.
Her performance helped the team to victory — the U.S. team’s third consecutive win at this event, according to the Marine Corps Community Services website. Davis wrote in an email that the competition is scored based on the times of each team’s top three men and top woman, which was Carrick. Carrick came in well ahead of the British team’s first woman, he wrote.
In October, the U.S. and British teams will race again at the Marine Corps Marathon. This is also the Armed Forces Championship for the marathon, Galvin said. Another race Marines compete in is the Armed Forces Cross Country Championship, which is in February, he said.
Galvin has run the Torbay Half Marathon several times, but this year, he participated in the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship instead, he said.
Last year at the Marine Corps Marathon, Carrick said she ran with a woman from the British team for 21 miles, even sharing a water bottle, before Carrick broke away.
“We have since become friends from across the pond, and that was truly a great experience I could not have found elsewhere,” Carrick said.
Not just anyone can qualify for the U.S. All-Marine Running Team. The time standards for men are 17:00 for a 5K, 35:00 for a 10K, 58:00 for a 10-miler, 1:18 for a half marathon and 2:48 for a marathon, according to information on the Marine Corps website from August 2018. For women, the standards are 20:00 for a 5K, 41:00 for a 10K, 1:08 for a 10-miler and 3:15 for a marathon.
When Capt. Christine Guerrero joined the team about a year ago, she hadn’t quite made that 5K time, she said, but she did have marathon experience and potential.
Training and being part of the team have made a difference for her, she said. Guerrero said she’s been able to gain confidence and push herself more.
Her chip time at the Torbay Half Marathon was 1:26:28 – and that was not too long after she ran a marathon.
“I think I surprised myself a little bit, honestly,” Guerrero said.
Members of the team do not give up their regular jobs — this is just an additional way to represent the Marines, Guerrero said. She is based in Columbus, Ohio, and works as an officer selection officer.
“I definitely like being a part of the team and showcasing that I’m a Marine still,” she said.
Carrick ran the Boston Marathon this year and got permission to wear her Marine Corps singlet for the race. She got to hear cheers like “Go Marine” and saw a woman from the Army representing at the race, too.
“The second that I’m wearing it and I’m getting the cheers, it just helps me that much more to push past whatever comes your way,” she said.
She works her training around her role at Officer Candidates School, where one day’s hours could be 5 a.m.-9:30 p.m. She also participates in the workouts that the candidates do, she said, but she still got up on a recent weekend to do a run at 4:30 a.m.
“It’s been unique and it makes you get creative and just find the time, but if you’re that committed, it certainly works out,” Carrick said.
Carrick got involved with the team after doing well at the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. She won’t be running the Marine Corps Marathon this year, because she will be representing the U.S. Armed Forces in the marathon competition at the International Military Sports Council, or CISM, Military World Games in China.
There’s a lot to balance when it comes to work, running and everyday life, but it’s something that the former Pennsylvania cross country state champion has enjoyed.
“It takes a lot to put it all together, but It really is a great experience that has highlighted my Marine Corps experience so far,” Carrick said.