Monthly MURCAn Spotlight Archive
Twice per month we put a MURCAn in the spotlight to share their story and perspective on running and life. MURCA is special because as Marines, we share a sacred bond, and through running, out bond becomes even stronger. Below are the stories of the fewer, the prouder, the MURCAns.
1. Derek Dowell
Derek was born and raised in Monroe, LA and started ultrarunning in 2010. Since then has run 65 ultras including Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Bear 100, Vermont 100, Bighorn 100, Cruel Jewel 100, Arkansas Traveller 100, and the Madeira Island Ultra Trail, to name a few. Read more about Derek.
2. Mosi Smith
Mosi grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has a 100 mile PR of 17:04:00. Some of the more notable runs he has enjoyed along the way: Badwater 135, Western States 100, Marathon des Sables, Conquer the (Great) Wall Marathon, Virginia Triple Anvil (Triple Ironman), Adidas 10k Paris, Grindstone 100, JFK-50, and the Annapolis 10-Miler. Read more about Mosi.
3. Sarah Bergstrom
Sarah grew up in northern GA and played rugby at the Naval Academy. She’s a well-rounded athlete and has run several ultras including the JFK50! Read more about Sarah.
4. Gerry Hollis
Gerry grew up in western CT and was a Marine Infantry officer during Desert Storm/Shield. He enjoys scores of running, bike, multi-sport events on both road and trail, including midwest favorites like Hawk 50, Free State 100k and Ozark Trail 100. Read more about Gerry.
5. Micha Shines
Micha was born in Busan, South Korea and raised in Philadelphia. She played softball, karate, ballroom dance, tribal bellydance and earned a Psych Degree from University of PA. She ran Marine Corps Marathon in 2014 and has since finished several ultras; her long term sights are set on the Leadville Trail 100 miler. Read more about Micha.
6. Frank Bozanich
Frank Bozanich is one of the most naturally fleet-footed athletes in the history of ultrarunning. He began as a wrestler and sprinter in high school, and later as a member of the track team at Eastern Washington University. Prior to becoming an ultrarunner he served for 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam war in the late 1960’s. He became the first American to break 7 hours for 100km, running 6:51:20 and shattering the old mark by 20 minutes. He ran 15:17:20 to set a long-standing course record in the Old Dominion Trail 100 Miler in Virginia, winning by almost an hour. He also holds the unique distinction of having won an ultramarathon outright, finishing first overall, in each of the past five consecutive decades: the 70′, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, and 10’s. Read more about Frank.
7. Christine Taranto
Christine hails from Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, she is past winner of the Armed Forces Marathon Championship and was awarded USMC Athlete of the Year TWICE (2013 & 2015). Read more about Christine.
8. Bob Coolidge
Bob “Iceman” Coolidge grew up in Omaha Nebraska and fought.. alot, both on the streets and in school. He went on to win five Golden Glove boxing titles in Minneapolis, MN. After serving as a Marine infantryman (machine gunner) he returned to boxing, fighting professionally and amassing a 22-3-1 record. His last fight was in Atlantic City against the #7 rated middleweight in the world. Read more about Iceman.
9. Canice Harte
Canice was born in Port Jefferson, NY and grew up in Mill Valley, CA. After serving as a Recon Marine, Canice became a successful entrepreneur in the outdoor industry. After a near-catastrophic motorcycle accident, Canice went on to run the Western States 100. Read more about Canice.
10. Adam Casey
Adam grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, I was quite the unextraordinary kid in both school and athletics. He did, however, end up walking on to the Mizzou football team and played five seasons for the Tigers. Check out his 2016 TEDx talk “Why You Should Fall Recklessly In Love”. Adam’s story is truly incredible, having left Navy SEAL training to become a Marine infantry officer, then having to battle an advanced Stage IV cancer diagnosis. Adam was also featured in a Trailrunner Magazine article entitled “To Hell and Back“. Read more about Adam.
11. Rich McKnight
Rich grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He’s finished 55 ultras, and 15 of those were 100 miles or longer finishes. His Western States 100 finish was in epic fashion, as he literally passed out crossing the finish line. In 2015, he ran Vol States 500k (solo, self-supported) across Tennessee, in July, on the road. Read more about Rich.
12. Jeff Rock
Jeff grew up in Northern Minnesota and is part polar bear. He has finished the Arrowhead 135 several times and is a member of the prestigious Order of the Hrimthurs (completed Tuscobia 160, Arrowhead 135, and Actif Epica 162k all in 2017). Read more about Jeff.
13. Billy Hagee (Jesus Tarzan)
Billy is a source of comedic relief and entertainment in MURCA, but he’s also one tough MF with an inspiring story. Read more about Jesus Tarzan.
14. Heather Griffith
Heather spent over six years in the Corps, then decided to become a full-time SAHM of three children as her husband pursued a career as an Army Green Beret. Although new to ultrarunning, she is training hard and progressing smartly toward a 100 mile finish; she also brings an incredible amount of positive energy to MURCA. Read more about Heather.
15. Maggie Seymour
Maggie was a Marine officer and has run more than 10 Marine Corps Marathons. She also ran across the United States to benefit military veterans. Read more about Maggie.
16. Jimmie Barnes
Jimmie was raised in a small town in Oklahoma and is one of those amazing human beings that will inspire you to become a lifelong runner. He turned 80 in June of 2018 and since then has American records for 12 hours on the track with 46.26 miles and 24 hours on the road with 91.1 miles and 48 hours on the road with 128.7 miles. Read more about Jimmie.
17. Leon Nevins
Leon grew up in upstate NY and has run competitively since 7th grade. He was the 400th MURCAn to join and recently finished as the second military male at the Tobacco Road Marathon in a time of 2:51:00. Read more about Leon.
18. Billy Richards
Billy grew up on Long Island in the Town of Islip. He is a former Marine infantryman and has achieved some incredible feats of endurance in ultra and obstacle course racing. Billy is known for carrying the American flag on all of his races. His 2019 plan is to beat the 100 mile finish record of 40 100 milers in one calendar year. Read more about Billy.