Esprit De Corps Ultra


Hello everyone! Just wanted to provide you all with a quick snap shot of our amazing 177.5 mile journey. This is a condensed version of what took place because we don’t want to give away too much of the story before the book gets published (LOL!). But on Wednesday morning the opening ceremony went off without a hitch and all of the key components seemed to flow together real well. In attendance were the 5 member Marine Band from Quantico, the I&I Staff Philadelphia Color Guard, the founder of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (IMSFF) Mrs. Karen Guenther, guest speaker Major General Tom Jones, and guest chaplain CDR Richard Butler. All of whom were instrumental in the success of our First Annual Esprit De Corps Ultra opening ceremony. That’s right I said “Annual”! And if you think you got what it takes for next year's run then leave us a message by clicking here:CONTACT US.  Qualifications will be published soon.

After a few inspiring words from Mrs. Guenther, Team Esprit De Corps, Maj Gen Jones and the final blessing from Chaplain Butler we were ready to step off. The weather in Philly that morning was sunny but a bone chilling 40 degrees. After we said our goodbyes to friends and family we began to pound the pavement out of the city. Once on the road we were escorted by two of Philly’s finest who lead from the front and by two of the Marine Corps finest drivers who covered our six from the rear. Many thanks and much respect to Sgt David Adames for his superior driving skills! Both he and Sgt Tom Geiser ensured our safety every step of the way like guardian angels.

Throughout this entire journey we learned that the human body can do amazing things when pushed past what we normally consider to be our own predefined “limits”. There were times when the last 5 miles of every day seemed like they took forever to complete. There were times when our hamstrings felt like they were on fire and were getting ready to explode each time we stepped off from a quick break. We suffered through back, leg, knee and foot pain every waking morning, every step of the way and each night before bed. Yet, we kept at it every day and motivated each other through our enthusiasm, humor, and not to mention our IPods. This is what kept our sanity in check, our spirits high, and somewhat numbed our painful joints & muscles to help us forge ahead.

During this run our humor came from many different sources. We laughed and poked fun at each other whenever one of us became cranky as a result of being hungry, cold, tired and just plain miserable. We joked whenever someone had their IPod turned way up and began to sing or talk out loud without realizing what they were doing. Once we arrived at the Marine Barracks at 8th & I in DC we were welcomed by a small group of friends and family which was a great ending to our 4th day of travel. Because the next morning we would have to take on the final leg of our journey: the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). 

Unlike the previous day which pelted us with rain and strong winds, the day of the MCM was sunny and in the mid 50’s. Although we thought running the MCM would be much easier than previous days, it proved to be a bit more challenging than we thought. For the first time in our running experiences we found ourselves at the back of the pack trying to keep up with the 6 hour pace group! Talk about a shot to the ego. However we understood that we weren’t out to set any world records that day but mainly just to finish this final leg of our journey together and in one piece.

All seemed to be going well until about mile 14 or so when we fell way behind the 6 hour pace group! That worried us a great deal because if we didn’t make it to the bridge by a certain time we would be pulled off the course and the previous 151.3 miles we endured over the past 4 days would have been for nothing. Defeat is definitely not in any Marine’s vocabulary and it definitely was not in our hearts & minds that day. So we sucked up the pain and mustered every last bit of “intestinal fortitude” and pushed ahead even harder. After a while our legs were on auto pilot and kept moving as if they had their own sense of purpose. While our minds were riding the emotional roller coaster between hope & hopelessness, our feet and legs seemed to have been telling us, “I don’t know what the hell you guys are doing up there but we got a job to do!” 

Then to our surprise and astonishment we miraculously caught back up to the 6 hour pace group at around mile 17!! We were cruising along and knew that the bridge would not beat us. Instead we were ready to beat the bridge! Once we made it to the bridge past mile 20 any worries about not fully completing this ultra marathon quickly came to an end. We had beaten the bridge by about 8 minutes and were glad to have followed through on the promise we made to the IMSFF about completing all 177.5 miles of this amazing journey in their honor. But before we got too excited we knew that it was not over yet. We still had a few more miles to go before we could truly claim victory. 

So once again we forged ahead and as we began to approach the finish line our team quickly lined up side by side so we that could finish just like we started: as one Team.  A sense of accomplishment washed over us like a great tidal wave as we congratulated one another on our victory and immediately claimed our finisher’s medal. This time around the finish line experience and the finishers medal held a deeper meaning for all of us as we contemplated our magnificent journey at the IMSFF tent area in Charity Village with our families. Truly one of the greatest experiences in our lives so far!  

Before we close out this blog there a few things we’d like to mention. This journey brought out some of the best in people. Some of which we never knew and all of whom we will mention on a separate “thank you” page on our website. We also learned that a good sense of humor and an awesome playlist on your IPod can be just as important as Motrin, socks, and chow.  We’d also like to ask all those who didn’t believe it was possible for us to run this many miles or accomplish our mission: Now do you believe?  To those of you who believed in us from beginning to end we say: Thank you!! And finally to those who said we are both motivated & crazy we simply state: You don’t know the half of it!

Once again thank you all, God Bless and always remember that Persistence, Determination and Perseverance will ultimately lead you to the success of your desired goals but don’t forget to bring along a good sense of humor and some tunes for the journey.

Semper IPod!

Team Esprit De Corps

“One Team of road hardened warriors! 5 glorious days! 177.5 ground pounding miles!”  OO-RAH!!! 




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Joe Garcia
10/30/2008 12:45:32 am

Wow, I couldn't have said it any better than you did Den! It was def an honor and priviledge to run with you guys.....

Semper IPod!

10/30/2008 01:36:00 am

Good job guys, I never had a doubt in my mind you guys would finish. Can't wait for the book to be published.

Sgt O.


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