Almost four decades ago, when retired Lt. Col. John Germain joined the Marine Corps, no one would have guessed he would one day have such an impressive running career with more than 100 marathons under his belt.
The Jacksonville, North Carolina native joined the Marine Corps in 1978 and served for three decades. It was during his time in the Marine Corps when his passion for running grew stronger. He was motivated by the encouragement from his peers. For him, it was mind over matter that gave him the willpower to accomplish his goals.
“I wasn’t much of a runner before I joined the Marine Corps, but once I joined, I learned that I had to run and learned to enjoy it,” said Germain. “I just kept increasing the distances and kept getting encouragement from other Marines.”
Germain ran his first marathon in November 1979 during his first term. Since then, he has participated in several others across all 50 states in the U.S. and completed his 100th race at the 40th Marine Corps Marathon in October 2015, running more than 2,600 competitive miles along the way, according to a Hope for the Warriors press release. Germain’s running journey and passion for the sport did not end there, as he has completed 10 more marathons since he reached the 100 mark.
The retired Marine was recently inducted into the Hope for the Warriors’ Century Club, which celebrates members of Team Hope for the Warriors who have completed 100 full or half marathons. As we all know, finishing a marathon requires arduous discipline and commitment, and it’s an enormous accomplishment in itself – multiply that times 100.
“Your body can do it. It’s just your mind that tells you that you can’t,” said Germain. “A lot of the time, I’m calculating and trying to figure out where I’m at on the course and how fast I’m going.”
For more than a decade Germain has been a member of Team Hope for the Warriors, volunteering at community events and raising funds for the organization. He became involved with the nonprofit in 2006 when he volunteered for the very first Run for the Warriors.
“John Germain has been an inspiration to us all at Hope for the Warriors. His commitment to reach his goals and to keep pushing beyond his limits has touched so many staff members at Hope for the Warriors,” said Rebecca Herron, Hope for the Warriors’ Race Series manager. “He has always been there willing to help with anything. I personally can name a few of the Run for the Warriors races in May where he was there at 5 a.m. helping us set up the race, and as soon as the gun went off for the start, he was crossing the start line to run in the half marathon.”
Hope for the Warriors is a national nonprofit founded on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Their goal is to restore a sense of self, family and hope for veterans, service members and military families. For more information about Hope for the Warriors, visit hopeforthewarriors.org.
Article by Ena Sellers