District of Columbia,
- 10 miles
- Road Race
The race was huge, I heard more than 30,000 people. So it was crowded. No way around that, especially at the beginning. There was a spot in mile 1 where we were taking a ramp up to a bridge where the course narrowed so much everyone had to walk. But I think that was the only part that was quite that crowded. The rest of the course was full and I had to weave quite a bit but I never felt like I couldn't go my pace. But I was in the back of the pack. I imagine it was worse in the middle of the pack. One place the crowds were really felt, even in the back, was at the water stops. I'm really glad I had my hand held water bottle so I could skip most of the stops. They were really crowded with an unbelievable number of cups on the ground.
It was an absolutely beautiful course. It included views of the monuments, the river, the Watergate, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian museums, and of course the Pentagon.
Miles 7 to 9 were the hardest for me. This was a bridge back to Virginia and no longer scenic. The bridge was also steeply banked and this started up the knee pain again.
Mile 10 perked me back up because I knew I was almost to the finish. It also had a section in the Crystal City neighborhood where there were a lot of spectators and that was a nice boost as well. The last bit of the race was another stretch of highway back to the Pentagon and we ended on the other side of the building from where we started.
After crossing the finish line, the organization continued to be efficient. I didn't experience any bottle necks. I walked along at a comfortable pace, got my finisher coin, water, a pre-packaged box of food in a plastic bag (so convenient!), and a banana.
There was a long walk from the finish area back to the start. There was a shuttle but the line was huge, so we just decided to walk. I think it took us 20 minutes plus another 10 minutes to walk to the garage where the car was. It seemed like everyone had parked there as it took forever to actually be able to drive out of the garage.
So that was my race experience! We had a great time overall and all felt we would do this race again.
Pros - great pre- race communication, well organized, beautiful course, mostly flat, 15 minute per mile pace requirement, really smooth post-race area, plenty of water stops, military bands along the course, and supporting the military and the environment that comes along with that.
Cons - difficult race morning logistics with the start at the Pentagon, crowded, long walk or shuttle line to get back to the start