2016 Marine Corps Marathon Weekend
On Friday afternoon Scot and I went to the marathon expo, which was located at the Gaylord National Harbor for the first time. The logistics were tricky as Metrorail does not go to National Harbor. MCM did have shuttles from various locations, and we took the shuttle from the Eisenhower Avenue station in Alexandria. We found the expo to be very crowded and noted that there was a lot of trash in the aisles. The marathon shirt was a nice shade of green, but I disliked the 10K shirt, which was a strange tan-like, yellowish color; not very attractive. At least it would still be a good winter running shirt with the thick material and mock neck. We didn't purchase any official merchandise as we didn't like the designs as much as past years, and we didn't need anything anyway. Later that evening we met up with Jess and Abbi, who were staying with us for the weekend. Well...to be specific, Abbi was staying in her awesome Airstream in our parking lot with Daphne dog.
|Marine Corps Marathon & 10K Club shakeout run crew|
|Group admins Teresa, Sandy, Richard and Kathie (missing: Jeremy)|
|Jess, me and Abbi with Runners World's Bart Yasso (and Daphne dog); Runners World also had their shakeout run on the Mall Saturday morning|
|Some of us finishing up our shakeout run|
Next, it was back to the expo with Jess and Abbi. We took care of business quickly and then went home for some lunch and rest. That night the three of us, along with Scot, met up with Doug for a pre-race dinner at Kora. The food was great as usual, but the service sucked and it took forever to get out of there. We were all tired and needed to get some sleep before the race in the morning.
Bright and early on Sunday, I drove Abbi and Jess to Crystal City to catch the official shuttle to the starting area at the Pentagon. Scot rode separately with Carrie (who he would be pacing to her first marathon finish) and her husband, but met up with us before the race. Security was a breeze compared to the fiasco last year, and we had plenty of time for port-o-potties, bag check and pre-race photos. Both the Marathon Maniacs and my Facebook group had photos in the same location, by design, so that was convenient. I said goodbye to the marathoners who were starting their race earlier than the 10K start. Then I watched the opening ceremony from afar. I could hear the announcer and see the Osprey flyover.
|Pre-race with Doug, Abbi and Jess|
|Marathon Maniacs group photo|
|MCM & 10K Club group photo - I know a lot of folks were already in the start corral|
|Saw these spectators on the way to the 10K start - great costumes!|
|Pre-10K start with Gary|
|Pre-10K start with Cathy (far right) and her friend (center), oh, and with these three Marines|
After watching some early wheelchair athletes race through, the 10K started. The course was significantly different this year, not having any mileage in Washington DC at all. We basically followed the first three miles of the marathon course through Arlington and then back-tracked to the finish line via a different route. The first half of the course was mostly uphill and challenging. I didn't really see anyone I knew, but I enjoyed the nice weather.
|Final decision point; no decision, really: I was registered for the 5K and turned right while the marathoners turned left to cross the Key Bridge|
|A vehicle not seen on your average race course|
|10K runners turning right to charge the final hill; marathoners approached from the other direction, and yes, there were marathon finishers at this time|
|This miniature horse is Moonshine, who is usually found on the Mall, but this year he was on the final hill just before the finish|
As in past years, the 10K shared the finish with the marathon, making the climb up to the Marine Corps War Memorial (the Iwo Jima memorial) to the finish line where Marines placed our medals around our necks. I took a quick finish selfie and then went to the beer tent, where I found Gary and chatted for awhile. Then it was time for my free Team Geico massage and then to head back to the finish area.
|After my free massage with Ronnie|
The weather was getting warm at this point and I felt bad for the marathoners. It was too warm for a marathon. I hoped everyone was being smart, shedding unnecessary layers and staying hydrated. I saw a few people get sick in the finish chute at the top of the last hill. I also saw one runner wheeled through to the medical tent on a gurney; I hoped he was OK.
While spectating, I saw several people I knew but I didn't have enough notice of their arrival to have the camera ready for everyone. I saw Jess and Abbi, who weren't too far apart. And then I saw Scot as he came in with Carrie, for her first marathon finish. Once Scot finished I left the bleachers and went to find everyone. Jess came with Abbi and me as we went to the beer tent for Abbi's first celebratory beer and my (well, maybe 3rd beer...hey non-drinkers gave me their beer tickets).
|Here's Carrie (blue shirt, purple hat) coming in for her first marathon finish (this is the mat that is a few paces before the actual finish line); Scot is behind her taking video|