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TEC member competes in Marine Corps Marathon

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Tech. Sgt. John Temple displays the medal he received for competing in the 35th Annual Marine Corps Marathon, Nov. 2, 2010, at The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center here.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Tech. Sgt. John Temple displays the medal he received for competing in the 35th Annual Marine Corps Marathon, Nov. 2, 2010, (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

WASHINGTON -- A member of The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center traveled to the District of Columbia to join some 30,000 runners on the streets of the nation's capital for the 35th Annual Marine Corps Marathon, Oct. 31.

For Tech. Sgt. John Temple, the operations manager for Wilson Hall, the opportunity to compete in the marathon's 10K race was "awe-inspiring."

This annual event, which typically occurs a few weeks before the Marine Corps birthday on Nov. 10, is the 4th largest Marathon in the United States and the 8th largest in the world.

Annually, the Marine Corps Marathon registers a race field of 30,000 participants who compete in a variety of events. They start at different locations throughout the city but all cross the finish line at the iconic Marine Corps War Memorial.

Temple started the 10K on the National Mall along with 7,365 other runners.

"It was amazing," said Temple of the course, which took him past the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington Monument, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery.

He said the crowd was also amazing.

"I never saw so many people in my life," said Temple. "For the first two miles I was fighting and dodging traffic just to get to my normal running pace...but once I got going, I was in my stride and it felt pretty good."

To even be able to run this race was a huge personal achievement for Temple.

Following three knee surgeries which kept him out of work for six months, he worked hard to get here.

"This was important to me," said Temple, who will retire from the Air Force in June. "With my bad knees, my goal was to just finish without stopping."

He accomplished that goal and was surprised to find he did better than he thought.

Arriving at the finish line in 2,734th place, he was among the top 37% of 10K runners.

A combination of cartilage damage and severe arthritis will soon require total knee replacement in both legs.

Having always been athletic, Temple said this was a tough diagnosis for him.

"My lifestyle is going to change and I wanted to go out in a good way, on top," he added. "I'm glad I was able to do this. It was inspirational."