A Run, a Bell, and the Forging of a New Marine

The U.S. Marine Corps is renowned for its rigorous training programs and the unwavering dedication of its recruits. Among the many physically demanding and mentally challenging exercises that new Marine recruits undergo, one event stands out as a symbol of motivation, resilience, and the forging of a warrior spirit: the Marine Corps Motivational Run – the concluding physical fitness session before graduating from recruit training.

During the motivational run, Marines run a multi-mile course in formation as their drill instructors call cadence, while parents, family members, friends, and Veterans line the streets in support. The trek circles the base and ends at the parade deck. Selected recruits are given the honor of ringing a bell as milestones in the route are completed, loudly signaling the last steps in the arduous 13-week training.

A new U.S. Marine rings the bell during a 3-mile motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a 3-mile motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on Sept. 7, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

The final motivational run is not just a physical exercise; it's a ceremony and a rite of passage. It's a testament to the idea that Marines are forged from the crucible of adversity, becoming stronger, more disciplined, and more motivated in the process. The run is not about individual effort, but rather teamwork. Recruits are expected to support and motivate their fellow Marines throughout the run. This sense of camaraderie and mutual support is a cornerstone of Marine Corps culture.

For those in pursuit of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (the official emblem and insignia of the U.S. Marine Corps), the last bell’s resonant tolls over the jubilant and exhausted recruits is the signal of a job well done and a position well earned. Congratulations, Marines.

A new U.S. Marine with Hotel Company rings the bell during a motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Hotel Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on July 20, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A U.S. Marine Corps Drill Master rings a bell during a motivational run

Image: A U.S. Marine Corps Drill Master with Recruit Training Regiment rings a bell during a motivational run for Golf Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on April 13, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Alexander O. Devereux, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A new U.S. Marine with Kilo Company rings the bell during a 3-mile motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a 3-mile motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on April 20, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A new U.S. Marine with Echo Company rings the bell during a motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on June 15, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

Two Marines ring a bell during a motivational run

Image: New U.S. Marines with Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, ring the bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on March 9, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A U.S. Marine Corps Color Sergeant rings the First Battalion bell during a motivational run

Image: A U.S. Marine Corps Color Sergeant with 1st Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, rings the First Battalion bell during a motivational run for Bravo Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on June 8, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Alexander O. Devereux, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A U.S. Marine rings a bell during a motivational run

Image: A U.S. Marine with Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, rings a bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on Sept. 21, 2023. Courtesy: Cpl. Elliott A. Flood-Johnson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A new U.S. Marine with Mike Company rings the bell during a motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Mike Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on July 27, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

A new U.S. Marine with Echo Company rings the bell during a motivational run

Image: A new U.S. Marine with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, rings the bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on June 15, 2023. Courtesy: Lance Cpl. Jacob B. Hutchinson, U.S. Marine Corps.*

Cover image: A U.S. Marine with Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, rings the 1st Battalion bell during a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego on July 13, 2023. Courtesy: Sgt. Yvonna Guyette, U.S. Marine Corps.*

*The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.