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Marines get ready to run the last leg of a 228-mile run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain.
Marines get ready to run the last leg of a 228-mile run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)
Marines get ready to run the last leg of a 228-mile run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain.
Marines get ready to run the last leg of a 228-mile run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Juan Lizalde screams after singing the "Marine Hymn" Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain. Lizalde and about 200 members of Marine Corps Security Force Company, Europe, sang the hymn before running the last leg of a 228-mile company run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday. The Marine ran the 228 miles in shifts, beginning on Wednesday.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Juan Lizalde screams after singing the "Marine Hymn" Friday at Naval Statioin Rota, Spain. Lizalde and about 200 members of Marine Corps Security Force Company, Europe, sang the hymn before running the last leg of a 228-mile company run in celebration of the Marine Corps' 228th birthday. The Marine ran the 228 miles in shifts, beginning on Wednesday. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)

NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — In celebration of the Marine Corps’ 228th birthday, Marines laced up their combat boots and ran 228 miles nonstop in less than two days.

Members of Marine Corps Security Force Company, Europe ran the last two-mile leg together on Friday afternoon.

The run is just one of the many ways in which Marines worldwide are observing the Corps’ anniversary this month. The Continental Congress created the Corps on Nov. 10, 1775, to defend ships and Navy installations.

About 200 Marines in Rota participated in Friday’s final jog, carrying a Marine Corps flag while chanting and clapping until the finish.

Lt. Col. Michael Popovich, executive officer of the Norfolk, Va.-based Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, and Maj. Frank Lugo, the company commander, led the pack as it snaked up and down naval station roads.

Popovich is the guest of honor at Saturday’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball in El Puerto de Santa Maria.

Staff Sgt. Jason Grove, the company’s operations chief, came up with the idea of having a run this year.

“Before I could even formulate any kind of a detailed plan, the Marines of this company were all about running a total of 228 miles,” Grove said.

The company began on Wednesday around 5 p.m. Teams of three or four ran two- and four-mile routes in shifts. Marines ran during their free time.

Lance Cpl. Shawn Thorson said he volunteered to run for “all of the Marines who have died in war.”

The company might make the run an annual event.

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