Groundpounders

In 1976, the first Marine Corps Marathon welcomed nearly 2,000 runners to the start line. Only four of those original runners have participated in every MCM. They are affectionately named "the Groundpounders". Known for their dedication to the sport of running and their allegiance to "The People's Marathon", the Groundpounders are staples on the course, rich with history, memories and the spirit of the MCM.

Will Brown

2013 Will Brown1st MCM: 3:41:21
38th MCM: 6:18:03
Best MCM Finish Time: 3:14:37 (1977)


Will Brown, 67, of Raleigh, NC, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967 and served active duty for four years, including a year in Vietnam. He spent 26 years in the Marine Corps Reserve and retired as a colonel in 1998. Brown decided to run the very first MCM because it was being sponsored by the Marine Corps Reserves. He sent in his application “in a moment of insanity,” just to see if he could do it. Since the first race in 1976, he has completed over thirty-five marathons, 38 of which are MCM’s, 29 ultra marathons and three 100-milers. The race has another special meaning for Brown. His father was a WWII Marine who fought and was wounded on Iwo Jima. Another family member, a distant cousin of his mother, PFC Rene Gagnon, is one of the Marines raising the flag in the Rosenthal picture that inspired the Iwo Jima monument, and finish line of the MCM.  Brown was inducted into the MCM Hall of Fame in 2010.

 

Matthew Jaffe

2013 Matthew Jaffe1st MCM: 3:41:38
38th MCM: 6:42:47
Best MCM Finish Time: 3:01:50 (1982)


Matthew Jaffe, 72, of Rockville, MD, started running while on the wrestling team at Bucknell University in 1962. He continued running for conditioning purposes and early in the 1970’s he began racing. In 1976, Jaffe decided to embark on the challenge of a marathon, and chose the first MCM as his event. Jaffe says his memories from that first MCM included traffic jams at National Airport and a storm at the end of the race. However, Jaffe enjoyed the run so much he continues to return year after year. Jaffe says his goal is to run and complete the first 50 MCMs.

 
Alfred Richmond

2013 Al Richmond1st MCM: 4:04:14
38th MCM: 5:52:57
Best MCM Finish Time: 3:16:21 (1979)


Al Richmond, 74, of Arlington, VA, began running in high school.  Richmond says he disliked long-distance running, but a conversation in a locker room changed all of that. Richmond was working in the Marine Corps office that was helping put on the first ever Marine Corps Reserve Marathon in 1976. While he was working for the race, he never actually intended to run it. Then one day, a co-worker commented that he was going to take part in the marathon and Richmond figured that if his co-worker could do the marathon, then so could he. Richmond has completed more than 40 marathons to include 38 MCM’s.  Richmond says the MCM is, “a personal thing, and I don’t want to be the one who breaks this streak early.”

 

Mel Williams

2013 Mel Williams1st MCM: 2:51:41
38th MCM: 6:18:51
Best MCM Finish Time: 2:34:49 (1982)


Mel Williams, 75, of Norfolk, VA, took up running in high school to lose weight for the wrestling team. When he joined the Army in 1955, he continued to run as part of his required workout regime. But Williams didn’t start competitive running until 1972, when he became one of the founding members of the Tidewater Striders in Norfolk, VA. In 1976, Williams began what has turned into 38 years of participation in the Marine Corps Marathon. Despite having run a marathon in New York City two weeks earlier, and having stayed up partying until 2:00 a.m. the night before the inaugural race, Williams finished in 2:51:41, 86th place overall. In 37 years, he has consistently finished in the top of his age group, and won his category several times.

 

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