Marine Corps Marathon Receives Flame of Marathon

By Michelle Murdock, Freelance Writer

Celebrating the military roots of long distance running, the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) received the Flame of Marathon from the Municipality of Greece, during a ceremony held in Hopkinton, the sister-city of Marathon. The Flame of Marathon was created in 2007 in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Athenians, in Marathon, Greece the site of the historic Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

“It’s growing,” said State Senator Karen Spilka, referring to the spirit of the Flame of Marathon. The flame, which has burned continuously in Hopkinton since its arrival in 2008, was successfully transferred to Rick Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon Director, on Thursday, October 21 at the ceremony at the Hopkinton Police Department.

“The spirit of the marathon lives in this community,” said Hopkinton Athletic Association Executive Director Tim Kilduff.

And now, that spirit will be shared with the Marine Corps Marathon. The MCM shares its 35th anniversary with the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. The MCM team will carry the flame on a multi-city tour to four cities during a period of two days as part of their Battle of Marathon Tour.

Following Hopkinton, the MCM team will continue on the tour with an early morning stop in New York City and will then move on to host a ceremony in at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Flame and the recently unveiled painting by Dustin Neece, honoring Hopkinton's Iwo Jima veterans, will then travel to Washington, DC where their presentation will coincide with the running of the Marine Corps Marathon, commonly referred to as "the People's Marathon" on Sunday, October 31 with 30,000 participants from all 50 states and 54 countries and each of the U.S. armed services. The Marine Corps Marathon epitomizes the ideal of excellence for the sake of excellence, offering no purse or special appearance fees to elite runners.

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