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Marines race to catch up with the rest of the 3rd Marine Division 3-mile formation run to celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday on Camp Hansen Tuesday.

Marines race to catch up with the rest of the 3rd Marine Division 3-mile formation run to celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday on Camp Hansen Tuesday. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa — Running and Marines go hand-in-hand, say Marines with the 3rd Marine Division here, so what better way to celebrate the Marine Corps’ 231st birthday than with a division formation run?

More than 1,200 Marines hit the pavement early Tuesday morning for a 3-mile formation run around the perimeter of Camp Hansen.

Marines bused from Camp Courtney and Camp Schwab were ready to go by the time a 6 a.m. cadence rang through the air on a football field.

Once all were assembled, Division Sgt. Maj. Evins McBride addressed the runners: “This is meant to be fun. There should be no mental blocks of pain coming from your bodies.”

The run was intended for motivation, he said, and “I wish we could do this once a month.”

After running the Hansen perimeter, Marines headed to the United Service Organizations for a “Warriors Breakfast” of pancakes and sausages.

Running is a Marine Corps tradition, so it’s only natural to celebrate the Corps’ birthday this way, said Capt. Morina Foster, part of division staff.

Cpl. Vick Wang agreed with the weight of the tradition, but “I would rather do a field meet — pugil sticks and stuff like that,” he said.

But Lance Cpl. Glenn Stein said the event was the best possible way he could have celebrated his first Marine Corps birthday.

“This is something I won’t forget, and I’m looking forward to next year,” said Stein.

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