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Marine Corps Marathon 2008

Date: October 26th, 2008
Time: 04:24:40

This is one of the five big US marathons. I am not sure how many people signed up, but there were over 18,000 finishers. My training for this race was on the WO&D trail, which is a 44 mile bike/running path running from Shirlington to Ashburn, VA.

We had a cold front roll through the area few days before the marathon, with temperatures dropping below freezing. However, the weather was perfect on the race day. It was probably around 40F at start line, and got up to about 58F by the time I finished. I got to the Pentagon metro station just in time to walk over to the runners village, drop off my sweats bag and head to the start line. I only managed to make my way through to the 5:00 hour finish time. With all the people in front of me, it took me about 7 minutes just to cross the start line.

Start line

The marathon was one long traffic jam. I thought that things would clear out a bit towards the end but that was not so. Way too many times I got stuck behind somebody not being able to pass. I probably wouldn't had finished at a much better time even if it wasn't so packed, but still this is a pretty convenient excuse for my relatively slow time. Still, if you are walking after only 2 miles, do you think you really belonged in that 4:00 finish corral?

Some guy running in a pretty freaky "teddy" costume


Somewhere near mile 4. We are running on the GW parkway towards the Key Bridge


We next headed west along the C&O canal and the Georgetown Reservoir


Running through Georgotown's M street before turning south along the Potomac

The course had us going north to Rosslyn and then to Georgetown. Running around the Georgetown Reservoir in the Palisades was my favorite part of the run. I didn't even know there was a part of D.C. called the Palisades. There were a lot of trees here, and everything was covered in the morning fog. I currently attend the George Washington University, which is located in part of D.C. called the Foggy Bottom. I heard this is due to the morning fog that lingers in the area. I have not yet experienced the fog at GWU, but this was close enough.

Aid station near the half-way point at the southern tip of the East Potomac Park


Here we are running north by the marina towards the Lincoln Memorial


The next long segment had us running on the National Mall. We passed the White House and turned around at the Capitol.

Smithsonian, around mile 19.5

From Georgetown we headed south along the Potomac River to the tip of the East Potomac Park. I have done this part before - this is where I go running when I am at school and feel like taking a break. The tip was the half-way point of the marathon. We next headed back north, and then covered several miles on the National Mall.


We then crossed back to Virginia on the 14th-Street Bridge at mile 21 and made a yo-yo in Crystal City


Traffic jam past the finish line, and Marines corralling the runners

Photo of me

In all, I had a good time running and I felt really strong. Still, I didn't get even close to my 4 hour goal. I think I'll hang up the Marathon hat for a while, at least until I feel quite sure that I can break 4 hours. I ran into (literally!) to that guy from Big Sur who likes the extra challenge of carrying the US flag. I later found out from some other runner that the reason for his shirt (with the text along the lines of "kiss my ass" followed by a long list of names) is that he was on a disability, which got terminated after one of his BSIM runs. Speaking of BSIM, I was running in the 2008 t-shirt, and it was quite a hit. I had a lot of people strike up a conversation with me about the course. I guess running Big Sur is someething that alot of east coast runners inspire to.

MCM was about what I expected. It was big and crowded, the sort of a once-is-enough race. But to give the folks credit, all the aid stations were fully stocked, and things ran quite smoothly given the large number of runners (ignoring the traffic jam at the finish). The thing I found most dissapointing was the lack of the whole Marine image. Maybe I've been watching too many movies, but I really expected boot-camp type personalities shouting orders at the runners. This wasn't so. All the Marines seemed very polite and... nice. Kind of like what what I would expect from the Air Force. I apologize in advance to which ever branch I might have offended...