To sustain through an event like RAAM requires as much mental determination as physical effort. On that second night and the grueling days and nights that followed, Marino asked herself, “Who is it that you want to be, and how do you want to live your life? When you get your chance, are you going to go out there and give everything you have?”
For RAAM, Marino’s motivation to “give everything” was something larger than herself or even her team. She was racing with Team Intrepid Fallen Heroes in support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and its current initiative to build treatment and rehabilitation centers for military personnel and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury. Marino’s RAAM team would ultimately raise nearly $650,000 for the fund.
“I had never felt like I had been a part of something that was so big and actually made a difference in the lives of others,” Marino said. When the race felt hardest, she said, thinking of whom she was racing for and what they have endured helped her keep pushing.
For nearly the entire race, Marino’s team trailed just behind “the Aussies,” a four-person mixed-gender Australian team. In the final 27 hours, Marino chose to stay in rotation on the road, without sleep, to help her team in its pursuit.
“It was total tunnel vision,” Marino said. “I went to places I did not realize I could go.”
After trailing for 2,940 miles, they passed the Aussies in the final 60 miles to win their division in 6 days, 13 hours, and 49 minutes.
“It was an extremely emotional journey,” she said. “I feel like I lived my whole life in six days.”