After finishing a marathon, most runners enjoy a recovery snack and take a few days off to relax. But Marine Corps Capt. Jason Dequenne embraced his inner Forrest Gump over the last two weeks and kept running.
Marine Corps Capt. Jason Dequenne finished the Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 26, then ran another 213 miles before Nov. 10 to bring attention to the Marine Corps' birthday and charities for Marine and veteran families. (Image source: Facebook)
After completing 26.2 miles during the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., Oct. 26, Dequenne extended his trip another 213 miles. His goal: run a grand total of 239.2 miles in honor of the Marine Corps' 239th birthday and to draw attention to one specific military charity that provides educational assistance to the children of fallen United States Marines and federal law enforcement personnel.
"I met the founder of the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation at a building dedication at the Basic School [for Marine Corps officer training] in Quantico that was being named after his son, who was killed in a helicopter accident," the Marine logistics officer told TheBlaze. "It was while talking with Pete Haas I learned about the incredible work they do."
Dequenne ran 15 to 20 miles each day after the marathon, making his way across parts of Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Dequenne said he ran the 239.2 miles as a way to provide a more permanent way to support families of veterans and Marines, something more permanent than just a single day of sharing stories.
"I began to think that a more lasting manner of honoring the fallen, aside from telling their stories as best I can, is to support a charity that ensures their children can go to college," he said. "The running one mile for every year the Corps is old is something I always said I'd do. Everyone said I wouldn't over the years, [but] losing some very special Marines I served with gave my desire to do it purpose."
Dequenne has run long distances to raise awareness for charities before, but he's never run quite this far, or just after having emergency surgery. His 239.2-mile trek took place just three short weeks after returning from Afghanistan to have an emergency procedure.
"This year I was unable to front load the miles before the marathon due to having surgery (tonsillectomy and cancerous lump in my neck) that kept me from running," he said in an email. "But once my thick Marine brain realized I wasn't going for a race I was going for a run, it felt a lot better."
Dequenne ran along the paths, roads and highways from Virginia to New York City: he wanted to finish his run in honor of those of who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
"It was special for me, I had never seen the 9/11 memorial site," he said. "So I decided to run from the marathon finish and go to Philly and finish at Ground Zero."
New York City police escorted Dequenne the last 1/2 mile of his journey to the base of Freedom Tower.
After running the equivalent of just over nine marathons in two weeks, Dequenne said he's ready for a break.
"I need a good week of sleeping ... I might have a broken bone in my foot, but I'm mostly just feeling a lot of joint pain."
Other Marine Corps fans have been celebrating the Corps' 239th birthday in style too, including with 239 pull-ups or 239 exercises.
And some Marines even took the celebrations beyond the Marine Corps' age of 239 years. Ascending several thousand feet into the air, a group of four Marines — who didn't know each other beforehand — had a mini-celebration on the top of Mount San Antonio in Los Angeles County.
"Four Marines [ascended] Mount San Antonio yesterday on the 239th Birthday of the Corps. They all arrived at the top at approximately the same time, 1250. None had met before the encounter," 1st Lt. Dan Klimas posted on Facebook. "Having determined that each other were Marines, they decided to have a birthday celebration. They read the Commandant's message at 10,000ft and made a impromptu birthday cake out of granola bars. They represented a plethora of generations of the Corps ... Semper Fidelis!"
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