McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 20, 2013

Proud Marine finished half marathon with Marine Corp flag

McALESTER — On March 9, McAlester resident and Marine Corps Recruiter John Leal, 28, finished a half marathon wielding the Marine Corp flag in Beaumont, Texas.

 “It’s a tradition of mine to run the last three mile leg with the Marine Corps flag,” Leal said. “I do it to represent the Marines and every service member who has fought for this country, past and present.”

 He said one of the proudest moments of this past run was when he was granted the opportunity to cross the finish line with a U.S. Army Korean War veteran, Felix Lugo, who carries the American flag.

Leal is originally from Lockhart, Texas, but has been stationed in McAlester for recruitment duty.

“I’ve been a United States Marine for eight years,” Leal said. “I spent five and a half years with an infantry unit in Camp Pendleton, Calif. — I completed three tours in that time frame.”

He said he has run four half-marathons, three half-marathons, and one Oklahoma City memorial half-marathon.

“As a Marine Corps recruiter, it’s my duty to live above the standard and set the right example for young men and women,” Leal said. “I feel like after running 10 miles and finishing that last 3.1 (miles) with a flag motivates and inspires individuals.”

He said he believes it is important for people set short-and long-term goals and doing everything it takes to accomplish those goals.

“My future Marines, family and friends have been a great motivation tool as I trained for this run. “I’d like to give a special thanks to my wife Ashley Leal and son Evan Leal for always supporting me in my personal goals.”

He also said he was thankful to Blake Heffley and Pamela Johnson for giving him nutritional guidance to stay fueled during his last run.

Leal says he and another Marine intend to participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial half-marathon on April 28, where again he will proudly finish with his Marine Corps flag — this time running the entire half-marathon with the flag.

He said, “We are doing it to represent the Marines that were lost in the (Oklahoma City) bombing.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Stephen Colbert Dishes With Letterman #myNYPD backfires for NYPD New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.