District of Columbia,
- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
Expo: I went to the expo on Friday, the day before the race. Despite the security line to get in (and having to pour out my water), the expo was very organized. I enjoyed the variety of vendors and the woman at the pacing booth was very helpful with my few questions. My one complaint is that the hours don't go late - with the awful DC traffic, I had to take a half day from work to make it there in time, from Baltimore.
Pre-race: There were tons of porta-johns with reasonable lines, and gear check appeared to go smoothly (I didn't check a bag). Corrals were assigned by "expected time", but there was no control over them the morning of the race. I purposefully self-seeded myself back, knowing I wasn't going to run the time I submitted, but many others definitely didn't. Aside from that, I loved the pre-race music. I seeded myself around corral 12-13, and it took me about 15 minutes to cross the start.
On the course: The course was congested for the first 4-5 miles, but then it opened up. While the course missed some great monuments, it still offered some great sights for tourists. For people who have run other DC races, this course is very different, which I love. There are plenty gentle rolling hills in the second half after one BIG, STEEP hill around mile 6. My favorite part was around mile 9-10 when you run a straight shot towards the Capital. It was a beautiful view and giave runners something to work towards during a hard portion of the race for many. There was great spectator support within the last mile of the race, which made the finish very exciting.
Post race: The qeue(s) in the finisher's area were organized and quick. I was thankful for a full bottle of gatorade. It may be small thing to others, but I was bummed that there weren't any potato chips! Sorry Rock N Roll, pop chips are not as good as a bag of salted potato chips! The band in the finisher's area sounded great and of course, it's a must that a race offers a post-race beer.
Other: The swag is great. The medal is high quality and I love that the premium is a short sleeve. In my experiences, most 1/2 and full marathons give out long sleeves, and their short sleeved t-shirt is great. I honestly don't mind that there wasn't much else because I find that often, a lot of the things given away in premium bags are wasted. Getting to the race wasn't super easy, but not awful either - $16 for parking is steep. But if you're willing to use the DC metro, it isn't all that inconvenient.
I would definitely recommend this race to a friend - I'm already signed up for next year. Sign up early for the best prices, or look for deals throughout the year.