Ready, set, go! Thousands of runners take part in 2017 Marine Corps Marathon

Some of the first runners meet WTOP's John Domen at the finish line. (WTOP/John Domen)

WASHINGTON — They came from all across the country to take part in what’s called “The People’s Marathon.”

“When people talk about it, I get chills,” said Kristen Brouse from Watsontown, Pennsylvania. “I just think it’s such an amazing event.”

She was one of the 30,000 runners to take part in this year’s race, and like for a lot of runners this marathon is more than just a race. Her brother-in-law is in the military.

“He’s got three little kids and he missed all their births just because he’s helping us, keeping us safe,” she said.

Erinn Casazza of Morgantown, West Virginia, took part in the marathon for the fourth time after raising more than $1,000 for charity.

“I could have just written a check,” she said. “But I decided to do it the hard way.”

Peter Dernier from Vermont proposed to his wife, Nicole, at the finish line 22 years ago. This year he carried a ring with him so he could ask her to marry him again.

“I think she’ll say yes,” he said.

The winners of both the men’s and women’s races had local connections this year.

Desta Beriso Morkama from Arlington, Virginia, came in first on the men’s side after coming in second place last year. He finished in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds.

“It’s a year I worked hard to win,” he said.

Wesley Turner of Danville, Virginia, came in second place with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 34 seconds. He was followed by Kiernan O’Connor of Arlington, Virginia, who was leading for most of the race before running out of gas.

“I got dehydrated in the second half and cratered pretty hard,” O’Connor said. “Desta ran a great race to catch me.”

O’Connor finished in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 6 seconds. While he was disappointed in the results, there was one positive he found at the finish line.

“Waking up in my own bed, being able to hang out with my family after this is a nice change of pace from most marathons,” he said.

Sarah Bishop of Fairfax, Virginia, came in first place for the women with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 6 seconds.

“Home turf, I’m local, I’m super excited,” she said.

The 35-year-old mother of four had to plead her way into the race a week ago.

“Raising them is heard,” she said talking about her kids. “Going for my run, I can clear my head. That is my time.”

Bishop’s winning time missed qualifying for the Olympics by just six seconds.

“I was like ‘Oh my God! I didn’t realize it would be that close,'” she said. “I know I am not that caliber of runner but to qualify … that’s the goal, yea.”

Meghan Curran of Fort Carson, Colorado, came in second place for the women with a time of 2 hours, 50 minutes and 23 seconds. She was followed by Suzanne Hutchins of Gastonia, North Carolina, who finished with a time of 2 hours, 53 minutes and 35 seconds.

You can see all the results over on the Marine Corps Marathon’s website.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.

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