Distinguished Goal Concludes with Run Alongside Granddaughter

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The Distinguished Participant medal is the most limited in release of all the awards distributed by the Marine Corps Marathon Organization. Earned for a year of running with the Marines, this medal is presented to runners who have completed runs on four specific event dates throughout the year. Later this month, more than 200 runners will receive the exclusive medal at the Turkey Trot finish line, including first-time challenge participant, John Wojcik.

For Wojcik, 58, achieving Distinguished Participant status is great, but it’s the journey he’s most proud of. With distance challenges ranging from one-mile events to the 18.1-mile Devil Dog Double, he was able to focus on shorter distances and trying new courses.

“I’ve ran the marathon, the half, and the Turkey Trot numerous times, but I wanted to do something different this year,” said the Virginia local. “The Distinguished Participant program was perfect because of the series of events required throughout the year and the scenic courses. It allowed me to set some training goals.

“I've especially enjoyed the Belleau Wood 8K and Quantico 12K for the unique distance and course that combines road racing with a bit of trail running,” Wojcik continued.

Distinguished status is open to runners of all ages and ability levels. It is the perfect opportunity for motivated individuals to participate in the MCM Event Series hosted on or near Marine Corps Base Quantico. Ambitious runners who seek to earn this coveted title and exclusive medal in 2020 can register for any four qualifying events in a single transaction beginning November 13, 2019. This is a new registration option intended to encourage and support the long term commitment required to achieve this goal.

  • May in Fredericksburg, VA – Choose from the Historic Half marathon, the five mile Semper 5ive or the Devil Dog Double, which combines both event courses.
  • June on Marine Corps Base Quantico – Participants may run a 4.97 mile course through the woods in the Belleau Wood 8K, tackle mud pits along a hilly four mile course in Run Amuck, ruck it through trails for 12 miles in Recon Ruck or tackle two events in the Crossroads Challenge, which requires runners to run or ruck and then Amuck.
  • August on Marine Corps Base Quantico – Participants can swim, bike, run or just run for the third qualifying event co-hosted at Quantico’s Officer Candidates School. The Quantico 12K is a 7.46 mile run that concludes adjacent to the OCS obstacle course. The Quantico Tri features a 750m swim in the Potomac, a 12.8 mile bike ride and a 5K run.
  • November on Marine Corps Base Quantico – The year-long journey concludes with the Turkey Trot 10K and Mile taking place outside Quantico’s Lejeune Hall. Participants can look forward to a petting zoo and award presentations of frozen turkeys, courtesy of Wegmans.

While Wojcik is most looking forward to completing his eighth Turkey Trot and celebrating the end of another great event season, this year he’ll be running the mile with his 2-year-old granddaughter, Colette, who is running her very first event.

“Colette and I are very excited about the Turkey Trot,” says Wojcik. “It's a great atmosphere for runners and their families.”

Registration is still open for the 2019 Turkey Trot 10K and Mile, one final calorie-burning opportunity before the holidays. Participation in this event does not serve as a qualifier for 2020 requirements.