NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) - The government shutdown is threatening to cancel the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. The problem is the course -- more than half of runs through National Park Service land.
Even if Congress reaches a last minute agreement on the federal budget, it's not a green light for the race scheduled for October 27.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of local athletes have been training to compete, and many are venting their frustrations. 10 On Your Side spoke with one runner who may make a run for it anyway.
Mel Williams said he is not a marine, but an ex paratrooper.
"We have the same kind of mentality the marines do -- just do it," Williams said.
It's that must do attitude that's taken him across the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon 37 times. The 75-year-old from Norfolk is one of four men who have competed in every single year since the race started.
Not surgery, injured hamstrings, or even a hangover could stop this man, but a group of Congressmen might.
The government shutdown could also shut down the hard work and dreams of another group of marathoners from Hampton Roads -- ten people with physical disabilities and their running partners.
Jenny Dugan has been training to push an athlete in a stroller during the marathon. She told WAVY.com she's not angry, but does feel bad for the athlete she's scheduled to push.
"It'll be her first marathon so it will be a little disappointing, but there will be other races," Dugan said.
A Navy wife, Dugan is more concerned about her friends on furlough and other possible cuts.
"You know social security and military benefits are a little bit higher up to me than 30,000 people running.
Still, she hopes to be at that starting line on October 27 along with Mel Williams, who plans to be there no matter what.
"I know the course and I may go out and just run through it, and hopefully I can get through most of the parts," he said.
Marine or not, Mel will carry on in their tradition.
"Semper Fi, always faithful, we're going to be there; we're the marines," he said.
A spokesperson for the Marine Corps Marathon told WAVY.com a final decision will be made either Thursday or more likely on Friday.
Williams and the other three men who've run every Marine Corps Marathon have been dubbed the "ground pounders" by the organization. You can read more about them by clicking here.
You can also find out more about athletes with disabilities by clicking here.
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