District of Columbia,
- 6 miles/10K, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
This was my first year running the Marine Corps Marathon, and I ran the race on my birthday. The weather was crazy this year. There were areas in which there was a downpour, and then for about the last two hours of my race (I finished in 5:34), it was sunny and somewhat hot.
I personally had a really tough race, but the organization of this race was great to be able to pull off a race of this size and magnitude in Arlington and Washington, D.C. The course was easy to follow, there were tons of spectators and there were Marines throughout the course. There were also a good amount of aid stations, and medical support was available throughout, as well.
Last year's colorful shirt with all the runners got a lot of complaints, and this year's marathon shirt was a 1/4 zip that was black with faint lines on it — a great shirt! The shirts are unisex and I got a medium, which fits perfectly. The medal is beautiful and looks like a high-quality medal.
I'm giving aid stations a "4" simply because some of them could not keep up (at least where I was in the course). I'm not sure if they were short-staffed because of the poor weather conditions or if it's always like this, but I filled my own cup at one of them. However, there were many helpful Marines at the aid stations and hardworking volunteers. There were also a good amount of aid stations.
The scenery is really cool. The race starts and ends in Arlington, Virginia, and much of the race is run in Washington, D.C. Some parts were really pretty with the trees, and we also ran past numerous monuments and waterfront areas. There were also plenty of spectators and lots of fun signs.
I went to the expo at 5 p.m. Saturday, and it closed at 6 p.m. I thought it was a fine expo with lots of vendors, but expos aren't that important to me and I didn't buy anything. It looked like there were some cool speakers and a podcast taping on the schedule, but since I went so late, it was not very crowded by the time I went. I got my bib and shirt quickly. I did have to pay $5 to park. Someone posted a sign for parking validation, but I didn't see that. Shuttles were also available from a Metro stop.
I'm giving it a "2" for elevation, as the course is mostly pretty flat. There are larger hills in the beginning and at the very end (the last 0.2), which are tough. I really struggled during this race and even the slightest incline felt like a hill by the end.
I thought this race was pretty tough to get to, but that comes with being a large race in a metro area. I walked 1.5 miles before I got to the start. I stayed in a nearby Airbnb and should have just walked, but instead, I tried taking a Lyft to get closer — I would not recommend that, as the driver got turned around and couldn't really get very close. There is a nearby Metro stop, but I was worried about the Metro being too crowded (it probably would have been fine). I would try to stay close to the start if you can. I did walk back to my Airbnb from the finish. There was also what felt like a long walk after the race to get out of the finish area and to get my checked bag.
This race was a great experience. I was questioning myself on a tough day, and I don't like to repeat marathons, but I'm already considering it for next year to try to redeem myself, as it was my slowest marathon.
Check out my race recap on my blog: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/10/28/mission-accomplished-i-ran-the-marine-corps-marathon-on-my-birthday/