Washington, DC - This year marks the fifth time that former Marine Mike Tomlinson will be running the Marine Corps Marathon. Once again he’ll be leading his team, the Two-Foot Onions—which has been among the top fundraisers each year they’ve competed.
Why the “Two-Foot Onions”? As Mike explains, it has nothing at all to do with gardening.
“Teufel Hundens, which is German for ‘Devil Dogs,’ was a nickname given by Germans to U.S. Marines in World War I,” Mike said. “When I was active duty, and even after, I used the phrase ‘Two-Foot Onions’ as a play on the words ‘Tuefel Hunden.’ When I started my team in 2009, I needed a unique name that would be recognizable to those who have carried the title of Devil Dog.”
That first year of running was the result of some serious self-examination on Mike’s part.
“Back in 2008, I was out of the Corps for eight years and I’d let my fitness and health suffer,” explained Mike, who had gained about 50 pounds, smoked too much, and had let his diet falter. “I saw a news story about the Marathon and decided to get in shape and run in 2009. During my training, I found out about the Semper Fi Fund and decided to run for this incredible charity that has changed the lives of so many Marines and their families.”
Although training for his first Marathon, running subsequent Marathons, receiving his first Marathon medal and other experiences are all noteworthy, Mike counts 2012 as his most memorable Marathon to date—because of his wife.
“Crossing the MCM finish line as she completed her first marathon, that was really something,” Mike said. “I had never seen someone I love so much endure such pain for so many hours with such drive, determination, and dedication—all in order to stand in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial with a medal around her neck and forever be able to claim the title of ‘marathoner.’ "
Mike and his Two-Foot Onions have raised $61,000 to date for the Semper Fi Fund, but he’s not looking to call it quits anytime soon.
“If I successfully complete my fifth Marine Corps Marathon in 2013,” Mike says, “I hope to register as a member of the Marine Corps Marathon Runner's Club and take part in the Marathon for the rest of my life.”