Army officer takes first place at Marine Corps Marathon

Army 2nd Lt. Trevor Lafontaine bested 30,000 runners in his first ever marathon at the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes.

Drizzly weather and competition from runners of all ages and experience didn't slow down Lafontaine, who found a good pace the others couldn't maintain.

"Probably with about four miles to go, I realized, 'OK, I'm not going to fall apart at this point,'" said Lafontaine, 22. "I was hurting at the end, but I think everyone else was hurting, too."

Running in his ninth consecutive Marine Corps Marathon, Richard Powell, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, finished first among Marines with a time of 2 hours 35 minutes.

"It was a little more painful than last year," said 27-year-old Powell, who also finished as the first Marine last year. "It's always a good feeling coming across the line as the first Marine."

Powell's eight-year service contract ends in three weeks. Despite transitioning to life after the Corps attending Syracuse University College of Law, Powell said he would run in the Marine Corps Marathon next year.

"I'll be back next year to make it my solid tenth Marine Corps Marathon in a row. And I'll just keep running as long as I can." Powell said. "This is the best thing I can do for the Marine Corps is run and represent for the team."

Jenny Mendez Suanca, 35, from Costa Rica, was the first female finisher, coming in at 2 hours 45 minutes.

The 26.2-mile course celebrated its 40th run with two Marine Corps Marathon hall of famers. The "Groundpounders" Will Brown and Al Richmond, retired Marine colonels, have run in every race since its founding.

Known for monuments that dot the course, the Marine Corps Marathon is also the largest marathon to not award prize money, dubbing the race "The People's Marathon."

Lance Cpl. Austin Marshall, 25, said the race draws so many people for the historic sites in its path alone.

"A lot of people enjoy just running through D.C., just seeing the monuments. This marathon has made a name for itself."

Runners from more than 50 countries participated in the race, including members from English, Spanish and German military forces, among others.

Lance Cpl. Carmine Mancini, 21, said he talked with Georgian armed forces members and a former military school classmate checking in for the race.

"It kind of brings everyone closer," Mancini said. "It's kind of like camaraderie, you get a bunch of friends together and you roll 26.2 miles."

Despite finishing nearly two minutes ahead of second place finisher Oscar Mateo Santos, Lafontaine waited at the finish line to embrace Santos and cheer on his Army teammates.