March 29, 2012
By Lance Cpl. Derrick Irions , Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The 2012 Marine Corps Marathon has sold out the 30,000 available online entries in a little more than two and a half hours, becoming the fastest sellout in the history of marathon events. For one runner, enduring the 26.2-mile trial will be more than just a personal accomplishment.
This year’s Marine Corps Marathon will be Sgt. Nancy A. Wright’s 25th marathon since beginning her running career in 2005. After her first year of running, Wright decided to take her marathon career to the next level by dedicating each marathon to Marines and sailors killed in action from the Brookpark, Ohio-based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment.
“It all started in August of 2005. I was stationed in Northern Italy and I normally called home once a week,” said Wright, who is an air support net operator with Marine Air Support Squadron 3. “My mom asked me, ‘did you know that we lost 13 Marines just the other day?’”
“Nancy has always had a deep respect for those in the military,” said Wright’s mother, Bonnie Wright-Trees. “When she heard that these Marines gave their lives for us to enjoy ours she knew that she could honor them by not allowing others to forget them.”
At first, Wright wasn’t sure what she could to do to honor the Marines who lost their lives from Lima Company, 3/25, until she began researching online what others have done in the past.
“I came across an idea where people were running races and marathons in honor of a loved one,” so Wright thought, “What better way to honor Marines than to shed some sweat, pain and maybe a little bit of blood.”
When Wright initially began paying homage to those fallen Marines, she was only going to run for the initial 13 Marines and one translator from Lima Company. During one of the marathons, she decided to continue paying tribute to the service members killed in action on a battalion level which totals 46 Marines and two sailors who lost their lives from 3/25 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The first marathon she ran to pay tribute to a fallen service member was an Ultra Marathon in Sweden for Lance Cpl. Christopher Dyer, who was killed in 2005 while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I started running for Lance Cpl. Dyer and after that I decided that I would run for everyone killed in action from Lima Company,” said Wright. “That was 22 Marines and one corpsman.”
After contacting and speaking with Dyer’s mother and getting the approval to run in Dyer’s honor, Dyer told Wright that she and her daughter were flying out to Sweden to watch Wright participate in the marathon.
To Wright, each Marine has a different story, and each marathon has a personal meaning to herself and the fallen Marine’s family.
“When I run, I listen to the Marine’s favorite music,” said Wright, referencing that during the Swedish marathon she listened to Dyer’s favorite Tupac songs. “It helps me keep in mind that I’m running for more than just my personal accomplishment; I’m running for someone else’s life.”