Brad Brecher, the Agency Legal Consultant for the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, served ten years on Marine Corps active duty as a Staff Judge Advocate, from 2009-2019. Major Brecher continues serving at the Marine Forces Reserve Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, headquartered in New Orleans, LA and he maintains a regular commitment to volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon Organization and other worthwhile efforts.
According to Brecher, volunteering is a way he gives back to organizations or causes that he believes in and supports. It also helps him feel connected to others who have similar beliefs and priorities. After completing 13 marathons, he has a wealth of wisdom to share about his experience at the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), as a runner and volunteer.
Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering for the MCM is especially important to me. As a Marine and runner, it allows me to give back to the running community through an organization whose mission is aligned with my personal priorities and life. The first marathon I ran was the MCM Forward while I was deployed in 2011. I still remember the great sense of pride and accomplishment finishing my first marathon, but wondering if I could do better. The MCM helped bring a bit of comfort and a sense of home to my life while deployed in Afghanistan and has been a constant in my life as I changed duty stations and transitioned off active duty. The least I can do to support a race and mission that means so much to me is to volunteer and try to help others experience the same sense of accomplishment and success that I had when I crossed my first finish line and had a MCM medal hung over my neck by a fellow Marine.
Do you volunteer with other organizations?
I served on the Board of Directors of the Fredericksburg Area Running Club while stationed in Quantico and as the Secretary for the Armed Services Student Association while in law school. I volunteer for local races in Durham, NC hosted by the Bull City Running Company. I also volunteer for Kids Run Durham, a race series for kids ages 4-12 which introduces children to running in an organized setting in the form of a loosely structured “track meet” that allows participants to explore distances ranging from 100 meters to 1 mile.
What is challenging about volunteering?
Ensuring that every runner has the same exceptional experience that I have enjoyed every time I have run a Marine Corps Marathon or MCMO event. Every participant has their own unique needs and working to ensure everyone’s needs and desires are met is both challenging and rewarding. All of the MCM volunteers I have interacted with in the past have embodied this ethos and I strive to do the same.
What is your most vivid memory from your time as a Marine Corps Marathon volunteer?
Riding in the pace car through the wear blue mile on Hains Point. The wear blue mile on Hains Point always gives me goosebumps—whether I am running through it or riding in the pace car. However, there is something special about driving through the wear blue mile with no one in front of you and seeing American flags and posters of fallen brave men and women on both sides of the road for as far as your eyes can see. Every time I run or drive through the wear blue mile I tear up. Remembering the ultimate sacrifice that brave men and women who came before me have made is always important. Remembering that no matter how painful the race is, or that the race will become, it pales in comparison to what others have done in the past; the pain is only temporary. It allows me to remember the friends I have lost during my time in the Marine Corps and how my life was made better by knowing them, learning from them and calling them my brothers and sisters in arms.
Why should more people consider volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon?
Volunteering allows you to be a part of the race without running. It allows you to enjoy the event weekend and event experiences even if you haven’t trained or are unable to run. Most importantly, it allows the Marine Corps Marathon to maintain the level of excellence and friendliness that have given it the reputation as “The People’s Marathon.” The MCMO staff is one of the most dedicated group of men and women who work year-round to ensure that events are run to the high standard participants have come to expect. However, they can’t do it alone. They need volunteers to make the experience great.
Volunteering also allows you to work alongside Marines. The MCM is one of the few opportunities to roll up your sleeves, work alongside a Marine for a day and get to know him or her as a person. Come volunteer for the Marine Corps Marathon and learn for yourself that there is no better friend than a U.S. Marine.If you’re ready to be as inspired as Brecher, check out our 2020 volunteering opportunities.
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