West Point Grad Wins Marine Corps Marathon in First Try

WASHINGTON — The light morning rain didn’t stop 2nd Lt. Trevor Lafontaine from winning his first ever marathon, the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon, on Sunday. Lafontaine was running for the U.S. Army.

All four branches of the military competed amid a crowd of 30,000 runners.

“I was hurting at the end, but I think everyone else was hurting too,” said Lafontaine, 22, who finished with a time of 2:24. “I’m pretty shocked. I did not come in expecting to win.”

The first Marine to finish, Sgt. Richard Powell, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines, wrapped up his ninth consecutive Marine Corps Marathon 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. “I pushed a little too early at 18 (miles) instead of 20 (miles). I hit the wall around 24, 25 (miles).”

After eight years in the Marines, Powell officially ends his service contract in three weeks. Even while he attends Syracuse University College of Law, Powell said he will be back for his tenth consecutive Marine Corps Marathon in 2016.

“This is the best thing I can do for the Marine Corps is run and represent for the team,” Powell said. “It’s always a good feeling coming across the line as the first Marine.”

The 26.2-mile course is known for its competition and monuments, but also for helping to unify the military community. One of the largest marathons in the world, active and former service members of all ages compete.

“Even though (veterans) have been out of the service for 40-plus years, they still have that fight to come out here with their Marines no matter how young we are or how old they are,” said Lance Cpl. Dominique Mays, 22. “We still have that bond so that’s a big deal for me…to be out here with people of an older generation that did something more... I get to pay my respects.”

Lance Cpl. Carmine Mancini said he also talked with military people from nations such as Spain, Germany and Georgia.

“It’s kind of like a camaraderie,” said Mancini, 21. “You get a bunch of friends together and you roll 26.2 miles.”

Retired Marine colonels Will Brown and Al Richmond, Marine Corps Marathon hall of famers, were also celebrated for being the last two “Groundpounders” who have finished every Marine Corps Marathon since its inception.