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Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Padilla honored for run across U.S.

Mar. 10, 2011 - 05:02PM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 10, 2011 - 05:02PM  |  
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Staying motivated

"There were some days during the run where ... maybe I was feeling a little tired. All I had to do was look at Mark, and I was like, ‘What am I whining about?’ "
Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Padilla, about running with triple amputee and wounded warrior Mark Ormrod

Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Padilla was recently honored for running 3,530 miles across country in 64 days to raise money for fellow wounded Marines.

Padilla was part of a six-man team that ran an average of 25 miles a day to raise $50,555 for the Semper Fi Fund.

Padilla, 47, is the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the School of Infantry's Reconnaissance Training Company at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Last year, he joined a group of British Royal Marine Commandos in the "Gumpathon." But his latest race was no joke. It stretched from New York to Los Angeles, across three deserts, four time zones and 10 mountain ranges.

Padilla said the hard part of the race was "living in a recreational vehicle in confined quarters with guys you didn't know."

One of his fellow runners was Mark Ormrod, a triple amputee who lost both legs and an arm in a blast in Afghanistan. Ormrod ran one to two miles a day with the team.

"There were some days during the run where ... maybe I was feeling a little tired," Padilla said. "All I had to do was look at Mark, and I was like, ‘What am I whining about?' "

Padilla received Eagle Rare Life Whiskey's Rare Life Award, meant to honor individuals for extraordinary accomplishments.

Padilla said he was flattered by the award and said, "It's great for the">Semper Fi Fund. It gets the awareness out because people are struggling bad."

The nonprofit has raised $41 million to help severely wounded Marines and their families, providing financial assistance when a spouse has to leave a job to provide full-time care.

Padilla says his new mission is to help fellow Marines who have suffered horrific wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I am going to do all kind of charity runs," he said. "If they need somebody to do something crazy, they've got my number."

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