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U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Ware of Wheeling, Ill., holds the finish tape after winning in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Ware of Wheeling, Ill., holds the finish tape after winning in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds. (Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Ware of Wheeling, Ill., holds the finish tape after winning in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Ware of Wheeling, Ill., holds the finish tape after winning in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds. (Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A fan of the late running great Steve Prefontaine has some words of encouragement for the competitors.

A fan of the late running great Steve Prefontaine has some words of encouragement for the competitors. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Runners cross a bridge near the Jefferson Memorial.

Runners cross a bridge near the Jefferson Memorial. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Emiru Mekonnen still holds a short lead over Chad Ware near the 16-mile mark, but Ware soon took the lead for good.

Emiru Mekonnen still holds a short lead over Chad Ware near the 16-mile mark, but Ware soon took the lead for good. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Justin Withoff seems to be enjoying the attention he's getting from his fans. He finished 34th.

Justin Withoff seems to be enjoying the attention he's getting from his fans. He finished 34th. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Justin Withoff's cheering section brought a super-sized image of their favorite runner to the race.

Justin Withoff's cheering section brought a super-sized image of their favorite runner to the race. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Emiru Mekonnen, who eventually finished seventh, leads soon-to-be marathon champion Chad Ware and Temesgen Ilanso, who finished 10th, midway through the race.

Emiru Mekonnen, who eventually finished seventh, leads soon-to-be marathon champion Chad Ware and Temesgen Ilanso, who finished 10th, midway through the race. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A water stop near the 16-mile mark.

A water stop near the 16-mile mark. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The gun goes off to start the 36th Marine Corps Marathon.

The gun goes off to start the 36th Marine Corps Marathon. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Wheelchair and hand cycle competitors break from the starting line.

Wheelchair and hand cycle competitors break from the starting line. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Marine Ceremonial Platoon from Quantico, Va., presents the colors.

The Marine Ceremonial Platoon from Quantico, Va., presents the colors. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

(Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

With overnight temperatures in the 30s, runners came prepared for a cold day.

With overnight temperatures in the 30s, runners came prepared for a cold day. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A tandem parachute jump opens the day's activities.

A tandem parachute jump opens the day's activities. (Jeff Schogol/Stars and Stripes)

Some of the hundreds of Marines who helped out at the race offer encouragement to runners heading to the starting line.

Some of the hundreds of Marines who helped out at the race offer encouragement to runners heading to the starting line. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Iwo Jima Memorial is silhouetted against the predawn sky before Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon.

The Iwo Jima Memorial is silhouetted against the predawn sky before Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Running for the All-Army team, Reserve 1st Lt. Chad Ware won the 36th annual Marine Corps Marathon Sunday with an unofficial time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 16 seconds.

“It’s a privilege to be able to represent the Army and it’s a really unique opportunity to be able to do it for fellow servicemembers from all branches, but to be able to wear the Army singlet is something I am grateful for,” said Ware, whose father was also in the Army.

Ware, whose family was stationed in Augsburg and Heidelberg when he was a child, has been running marathons since he was 17 years old, but Sunday marked his personal best time. Still, the last hill proved to be somewhat troublesome for him.

“I started to really feel it the last two miles, but I was able to hold on, thankfully, and I thank the Lord for being able to do that and giving me the strength to make it through first,” he said.

More than 30,000 people braved the bitter cold early Sunday morning to participate in the marathon. Some looked like they were dressed more for skiing than running. The previous day’s pre-winter storm also turned anything that was not paved into a mud-caked quagmire.

Michael Wardian was the second runner to cross the finish line.

“I was hoping to be first so I’m a little disappointed but it happens and it’s one of those things: That’s why you race and I just got to work harder next time,” Wardian said.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Patrick Fernandez was thrilled to come in third in his first marathon.

“I knew the Marine Corps Marathon is the armed forces championship, and being in the Coast Guard, I wanted a chance to get out there and represent the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard,” Fernandez said.

But during that last painful mile, Fernandez wasn’t focused on winning or losing.

“I didn’t really know how far anyone was behind me, I was just focusing on making it to the finish,” he said.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Thomas was the second sailor to finish the race. Like the other runners, Thomas said the last hill was a killer, but he was motivated by watching wounded warriors tackling the hill in their hand-crank chairs.

Currently at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., he was stationed in Atsugi, Japan from 2006 to 2008

When asked if he has a message for his friends still in Atsugi, Thomas said, “Have some sushi for me.”

jeffrey.schogol@stripes.osd.mil

Twitter @jeffschogol


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