Washington County Career and Technical Education Center SRO and AHS Nurse Complete 42nd Marine Corps Marathon

A man and woman posing with their medals.On Sunday, October 22, 2017, thirty-thousand runners took part in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon (MCM). Among the thirty-thousand were two of Washington County’s own: WCCTEC School Resource Officer and Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy, Billy Nichols and his wife, Abingdon High School’s School Nurse, Paula Nichols.

Billy and Paula trained for the Marine Corps Marathon for about ten weeks. They would run between three to five days each week, varying distances daily and increasing distances each week. On Saturdays, they would run between ten and seventeen miles. Paula had competed in a full marathon in March, but Billy just completed his first half Marathon in September. The MCM selects most of the runners through a lottery system. Paula entered the lottery and was lucky enough to be chosen. Wanting to run with Paula and having a son in the military sparked Billy’s interest in competing.

Both Billy and Paula describe this experience as amazing-- from the crowds that lined the race course to cheer on the runners, to the beauty of running all over D.C., from the Pentagon to Georgetown, to the monuments, and across the Potomac twice. “The Blue Mile is amazing, lined with photos of fallen soldiers and at the end were people holding flags as far as the eye could see,” says Paula. “We found ourselves running and trying to take time to get pictures of the sites,” Billy adds.

The Marine Corps Marathon was started to showcase physical fitness and generate community goodwill in order to promote high standards and discipline of the Marine Corps. The 26.2 mile course runs through Alexandria and Washington D.C. Entrants must be fourteen years of age and be able to maintain a fourteen minute mile. Upon completion of the race, finishers receive their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Finisher’s medal from a member of the Marine Corps.

Billy says, “Being able to complete this race and hold Paula’s hand to cross the finish line, made this race one that will never be forgotten.” Paula advises, “If I can do this, anyone can. Even if you start with walking, you can increase your endurance, run time, and how much you can tolerate. I did not run in high school. I only started running in the last five years!”
Congratulations to Paula and Billy! We are so proud of you both and thrilled for your accomplishment. You both are an inspiration to us all.

Contact Person: 
Laura Smith