Solorio ran a 21-minute personal best this year, a feat he credits to the Semper Fi America’s Fund to which he’s a member.
“Semper Fi America’s Fund takes care of disabled veterans. They helped me get to the race financially, taking care of the flight, hotel and the race fee. This year, I joined the Runner Battalion, another part of the fund. This provided me with a training plan through Training Peaks, and, if I finished 75 percent of the training, the fund would take care of my race expenses. It was my first time following a real running plan and having people checking in on me to make sure I was following it.”
Solorio felt strong throughout the whole race, despite the physical and emotional challenges of the Blue Mile. The Blue Mile is the 11th mile of the race, a challenging section on Haines Point that often takes the brunt of winds coming off the Potomac River. This section is lined with posters of fallen military members, American flags, and Gold Star Families attending the race to honor their loved ones.
“No matter how many times I’ve run this race, the Blue Mile is always very emotional and sentimental,” Solorio says. “I always do a live video on my phone as I approach it, so my followers, many of whom are military veterans, can see it and feel that moment with me. We all stick together and are bonded together. That Blue Mile will always be very, very emotional and sad.”