U.S. Marine Wins Marine Corps 17.75K in Prince William County, VA

1,954 finishers capture spot in 41st MCM at event that also included local police tribute

Mrine 2nd Lt. Andrew Harper of Michigan and Sharon Schmidt-Mongraine of Pennsylvania win the MCM 17.75k--Photos courtesy of Marine Corps Marathon

QUANTICO, VA (April 2, 2016)-- 2nd Lt. Andrew Harper, 24, a U.S. Marine stationed at The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA won first place at the Marine Corps 17.75K finishing in 1:05:33 today in Prince William County, VA. It was Harper's first time running the event that offers all finishers "Access Granted," or a guaranteed spot in the 41st Marine Corps Marathon this October. Harper, who finished in the third fastest time in event history, led 1,954 runners to capture the win.

"Being from Michigan, we really don't have hills like here, but for every uphill there's a downhill," Harper said after he finished. "I'm excited to run the Marine Corps Marathon and hopefully with my [military] schedule I will able to do it."

The Marine Corps 17.75K also included a special Prince William County Police tribute with 150 police, first responders and supporters of fallen Officer Ashley Marie Guindon, killed during her first day of official duty on Feb. 28. Guindon's family members, including her mother Sharon Guindon, were at the event presenting finisher medals and running with members of the Police force.

One of those runners was Officer Guindon's aunt Joanna Guindon of West Springfield, MA, who as a veteran marathon runner, said the Marine Corps 17.75K was "the toughest course" she has completed. Joanna Guindon said she was thrilled to be part of the tribute to Ashely and her fellow fallen officers of the Prince William County force.

"She [Ashley] is definitely here today watching us and helping us get through this," Guindon said. "Ashley would really be proud of everybody, who gave their all today, and for Sharon, as she, and we all, grieve." Also finishing the Marine Corps 17.75K in top form today were Robert Michell, 36, of Glenn Dale, MD who placed second among the men, finishing the 11.03 mile course in 1:06:29 and Charles Engle, 45, of Sterling, VA who achieved the third-place win finishing in 1:07:42.

17.75K women runners were led by Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain, 40, of Lafayette Hill, PA, who captured first place while completing her run in 1:16:12. Joining her on the winner's platform were Alissa Savage, 29, of Stafford, VA who took second place after finishing in 1:18:34 and Ashley Kniss, 32, of Adelphi, MD who completed the run in 1:20:27.

The 17.75K Masters category was won by Prince William County Police Officer Jason Van Horn, 42, of Bristow, VA who finished the course in 1:09:16. Van Horn actually took second place overall at the 17.75K last year, finishing that event in 1:08:00. Also celebrated for her Masters win was hometown runner Judy Doldorf, 43, of Manassas, VA who completed her run in 1:21:30.

The Marine Corps 17.75K is part of the MCM Event Series hosted through November. Runners from 35 states participated in today's event.

All 17.75K finishers received impressive arrowhead-shaped medals that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, as runners completed the event in Prince William Forest Park, which is among the National Parks, also celebrating its 80th anniversary. The Marine Corps 17.75K also pays tribute to the year the Marine Corps was established in 1775.

Access Granted cards were also presented at the finish line enabling runners to officially register for the now sold-out 41st Marine Corps Marathon. Runners will have until noon Eastern on April 5 to register before the Access Granted code expires.

For more information about the 41st MCM visit marinemarathon.com.