With the swiftness of leprechauns and dressed in vibrant hues of green, 1,693 runners dashed to the finish in the March 17 Marine Corps Marathon-sponsor Irish Sprint 10K, a festive but challenging 6.2 miles. The race is run through Prince William Forest Park in Prince William County, Va. Marines placed first among the men and women running the event with Maj. Jason Kut, 34, finishing in 37:16 and Capt. Erin Demchko, 33, finishing in 41:43.
Kut, a logistics officer stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., also won two MCM events in 2011, the Run Amuck mud run and the RunStock 5K. Demchko, a training and support officer stationed at the Officer Candidate School at Quantico was a member of the All-Marine running team at last years Marine Corps Marathon and placed second at the Turkey Trot 10K in November.
“The Irish Sprint was a great scenic course, and I enjoyed all of the bridges, but they were a little tricky, which made it more of a challenge,” Kut said after his first-place finish.
“It was a great race and perfect with the hills at the beginning and a lot of downhill toward the end and really overall, a great course,” Demchko said.
Placing second overall was Nick Oltman, 24, of Fredericksburg, Va., who completed the Irish Sprint in 37:34. Finishing third overall was 16-year-old North Stafford High School freshman Zachary Batt, who ran the course in 38:24. Batt was thrilled to run his first Marine Corps Marathon organized event.
“It was a good course today, I ran it a few times to practice and to train, and Iam in the middle of track season right now so this a good place to run,” Batt said.
Finishing second among the women was Courtney Culhane, 20, of Cohasset, Ma who completed the Irish Sprint 10K in 45:24, while Nicole Philip of Severna Park, Md., finished in 45:45.
Leading in the masters category were retired Marine Lt. Col. Alex Hetherington, 45, of Vienna, Va., who finished in 38:56, and Lynda Hymans, 43, of Annandale, Va., who completed the course in 47:10. Hetherington, a former member of the All-Marine Running Team, also is a member of the Marine Corps Marathon Hall of Fame Class of 2009.
The Luck O the Irish filled the forest, as all Irish Sprint 10K finishers received their lucky golden tickets with each ticket providing guaranteed entry into the sold- out 37th MCM. All Irish Sprint finishers also received ceramic challenge coins provided by MCM partner Warrior Chip. In addition, finishers received the runners bib with B-tag and lime-green Irish Sprint technical shirt for the event held on St. Patrick's Day and many finishers enjoyed a congratulatory green beer.
The Irish Sprint 10K is the first in the MCM event series held through November. More information about the Marine Corps Historic Half and the MCM Weekend of events is available at www.marinemarathon.com.