2016 Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

I didn't run the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) this year (I ran the 10K), but it was still a big weekend for me. The weekend started on Thursday evening when I met Richard and Teresa for happy hour. They are two of my fellow admins of the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K Club Facebook group.

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.

On Saturday my Marine Corps Marathon & 10K Club Facebook group had our second annual shakeout run on the National Mall. We had a great turnout and everyone was given a button/badge of our unofficial club logo. All our admins (Richard, Teresa, Kathie and I) were able to make it except for Jeremy. The weather was chilly, but beautiful, and it was nice to meet several group members. Jess and Abbi came to the Mall with me that morning and Daphne joined us. After the run our little sub-group went to Starbucks with Richard and Teresa.

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
Osprey flyover
Finally, it was almost time for the 10K start. The logistics were different this year. Instead of starting on the Mall, and at the same time as the marathon, the 10K started at the Pentagon more than an hour after the marathon start.  I saw friends Cathy and Gary before the start.

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.


Finish selfies
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
Finally, Scot found us and we all took the shuttle back to Crystal City to get the car. On the way to the parking garage we stopped for some food at Mezeh (falafel - yum). It was a long day, but a good one. Abbi finished her first MCM, Jess finished her second one (first was years ago), and Scot finished his fourth (one more and he can join the MCM Runners club). I was happy to have run the 10K (my fourth MCM 10K) and spectated.

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