Several runners at the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday ran in honor of servicemen and women who died recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among those runners were first-time marathoners Rachael Wilson, 28, a former Marine from Corinth, Tex., and Marine Sgt. Beth Jordan, 30, of Atlanta. They ran in honor of their friend, Staff Sergeant Lori Privette, who was killed in Iraq. Anne-Marie Pastorkovich, a 39-year-old government lawyer from Fairfax, ran in honor of her second cousin, Sgt. Michael J. Esposito Jr., who died in Afghanistan.
Wilson ran despite two screws in her knees from reconstructive surgery that forced her out of the Marine Corps. She finished in 5 hours 38 minutes 33 seconds.
"I was seizing up a lot toward the end, but I was pushing through," said Wilson, who injured her knee jumping out of planes. "I had to get out early from the Corps, which was upsetting to me. I felt this was a chance to feel like I have some closure."
Jordan, who returned from Afghanistan on Oct. 4, did several of her training runs while deployed carrying pistols for protection. She came in at 4:43:05.
"We were supposed to run a marathon together when [Privette] got back from Iraq," Jordan said.
Pastorkovich also ran with an injury, a stress fracture in her tibia. She crossed the finish line at 5:32:54 and said she felt it was a good way to keep her cousin's memory alive.
"It's just nice to have somebody remember," Pastorkovich said.
Chris Campagna of Alexandria wanted to do something special to reward his wife of nine years for completing her first marathon. So he bought her one of the Marine Corps Marathon pace cars, a 2004 cream-colored Cadillac Escalade, and presented it to her at the finish.
"He's kind of a grandiose person, but this is the biggest," Shannon Campagna said. "I'm just stunned."
Capt. Lauren Edwards was barely walking a week ago. She thought she had a fractured hip. But when she learned that her hip was only misaligned, she decided to go ahead and run the marathon as part of the Marines team. Edwards, a 29-year-old former George Washington University cross-country runner, finished in 3:39:50.
Edwards, who wore a groin wrap to get her through the race, started to struggle around Mile 16. But the support of her fellow Marines on the course as well as the spectators kept her going.
"You're wearing the [Marine team] jersey, there's no way you can let anybody down," Edwards said.
It was unseasonably hot and humid yesterday which led to an increased number of runners with heat-related illnesses.
"We had quite a few more heatstrokes this year," said Capt. Bruce Adams, the marathon's medical director.
Unlike last year, when it became hot toward the end of the race, this year it was warm throughout. As a result, the medical staff treated more runners on the course instead of mainly at the finish. Aid station seven in Crystal City around the 22-mile mark was particularly hard hit.
Forty-five runners -- almost four times as many as last year -- were taken to area hospitals.
"The bulk of them have been evaluated and released, but there are a handful of them still there," Adams said at 4 p.m. yesterday.
David Swain, 58, of Wake Forest, N.C., won the wheelchair division in 2:25:08. Swain didn't finish in the time he had hoped, but that was because he blew out his tire in the first mile. He traveled the remaining 25 miles on a flat tire. . . .
Awit Yohannes, a 19-year-old American University sophomore, won the 8K race in 26 minutes. Air Force Lt. Col. Kimberly Robinson, who won the 1998 Marine Corps Marathon as Kimberly Markland, was the top female finisher at 32:23. . . .
CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux finished in 6:14:34.