Latest reviews by Phillip

"The race of my life"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

As a Marine, I was overly excited to participate and run in the Marine Corps Marathon.
Entry to the race is not guaranteed. This is a lottery system event. You can put in for the lottery and never be selected. I was lucky and made it the first year I attempted. The trip was a great anticipation for my entire family. We knew we would visit the White House, Arlington, Museums, Pentagon, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, The Wall, and so much more and we did it all over the entire weekend.
The event expo was excellent. There were giveaways, handouts and a ton of things to buy and try. While there were 30k people everywhere, it was well organized and easy to move through. Parking was not any more difficult than you might expect. Be patient and be careful driving around the area as there are a lot of people, one ways and traffic. On race day, taking the train into the race area is the best method of travel from hotels to the event. Parking would be very difficult that morning. Taking the train home is also the best option for the same reason.
On the morning of the run it was a cool Oct morning and everyone tried to show up early. The walk from the parking lot to the staging area was crowded and my daughter has a wheelchair, which was able to navigate the access but it was limited. First best piece of advice I can offer: use the restroom BEFORE the walk to the 1st staging area. The 1st staging area was a bit confusing with the amount of people and knowing where to go. The port-a-potties had lines that took upwards of 45 minutes and was just a mass of people trying to figure where to stand. From the staging area everyone had to go through metal detectors and security screening. Once past the screening process, the area was wide open with more port-a-potties and no line! The open area was about another 1/4-1/3 mile walk to the starting area for staging. As the sun was rising the Marine Corps Hymn played, the National Anthem and a wonderful flyover with paratroopers dropping into the area. Marines greeted runners, shook hands and took photos with people. Then it was time to start.
The race began and we were off. As I learned with this distance, its all about pace. With all the excitement that is easier said than done. Pace yourself! The streets were full of spectators cheering and music playing. The first several miles were through the streets of Washington on wide areas blocked off for the event. First aid and water stations were found at regular intervals and highly supported throughout the race. Running past historic places, monuments, and government buildings was breathtaking. The weather was cool and a bit overcast but worked well for running. I knew I was experiencing a possible once in a lifetime event and was sure to stop for selfies and photo ops at these locations. I was not worried about my time for this event, but I never stopped for more than that photo. Running through the city had ups, downs, under and over bridges. In mile 12-13 was the Blue mile. Every 3 feet apart lining both sides of the road were photos and names of Marines recently killed while in service. For an entire mile you could feel the weight of every step and the sacrifice each of them had made. Some runners walked part of the mile, others slowed the pace but all showed deep respect and admiration. The next 1/2 mile was lined with surviving veterans and patriotic people hold flags and cheering us on. Running along side the Potomac is something that you will enjoy to experience. The scenery along the entire 26.2 cannot be understated. If you are enjoy American history, the area is rich with things to see. As I made my way to mile 20, exhaustion started to show and thankfully the next two miles were lined with people cheering and supporting the run. The sun had come out during the run and the heat was turning up later in the run. I will never forget how thankful I was for the open spraying fire hydrant at mile 21ish. The rest of the run was once again in wide open road areas until the final mile, which was a push for completion. The Marines and people cheering everywhere as I rounded the last turn and climbed a slight incline in a turn to the finish. Once across the finish line, everyone, including me, lay on the ground beside the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial. Family were sectioned off by large fences that prevented their entry to that area and there was a several block walk to get around the fence for the runners to reconnect with families.
Washington DC, Virginia and the surrounding area does not have elevation difficulty. Preparation, diet and getting plenty of rest is the best option for success in the marathon. Walking around the city the day(s) before will also catch up to you on the run, so be sure to rest.
Needless to say the swag for the event is the best! I love my medal from this event and the great additional goodies. The medal is the Eagle Globe and Anchor of the US Marines and its a heavy piece of hardware. This is one run I would do again in a heartbeat. Overall, there isn't much I could ever imagine matching up to the personal experience I had.

Happy Running!


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