Let’s start with the results… Finish time: 3:20:26 (BQ for 2012) Overall place: 681 out of 20,895, Gender place: 594, Division place: 87, Pace: 7:39. I am really happy with the results so it may influence my race recap.
Before I ran the Marine Corps Marathon I would have told you the Chicago Marathon was my favorite marathon. My wife liked spectating the Chicago Marathon so much, she will run her first marathon there in 2012.
The 2011 36th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) was a spectacular event. Out of the 12 marathons I have run, I would tie Chicago and the MCM for first place. The organization of the MCM is impressive, everything went very smoothly. That is no small feat when you consider there was a 10k race and a marathon going on. The marathon alone had 20,895 finishers.
The packet pick-up was hosted at the DC Armory and was easy to access from the Metro. The expo itself was what I have come to expect, Chicago still had the best expo I have ever been to. Surprisingly, the MCM t-shirt is a regular cotton mock turtleneck and not a tech shirt. It also feels as stiff as cardboard. I did like the iron on patch that was in each packet. Worst booth award goes to Asics. Little to no merchandise, no decoration and crappy shoe selection. My guess is that their “A” game was up in NYC where they are a title sponsor for the ING NYC Marathon next week.
The marathon starts at 8:00 a.m. and is a loop course. There are some decent rolling hills in the first 8 miles of the course, after that, it is relatively flat. We were treated to temps in the 30’s as we waited in our corral. After a day of freezing rain, the sky was perfectly clear, cold but clear. As you walk to your corral Marines line the streets. This race is special with all of the American iconography throughout the course. You are in the nations majestic capital running by the monuments and landmarks that commemorate this nation at it’s best. A feeling of pride in our country washes over you as you run. The weekend is made up of the best of what the USA is made of. If I wasn’t trying to run this race for time, it would make a great tour of Washington, DC. I might run it again at an easy pace just to take it all in.
I am not sure if being so close to the start of the race made the crowd seem like less of a factor than I anticipated, but I never felt that crowded. Water and Gatorade stops were plentiful. The crowd support was amazing. The course is beautiful. The only part of the course that was a little cruel was the sharp uphill about 100 yards from the finish. My exact words when I encountered it was “oh shit!” I was giving my final push and was almost out of gas, the little hill practically crushed me. I don’t know what more you could ask for from an event like this. As you cross the finish line medals are draped over your neck by a Marine. The medals are SUPER cool (pictured above.) With 20,000+ finishers it was near impossible to meet up at the finish. You better have a spot picked out ahead of time.
This is a must do marathon, put it on your short list.
Special thanks to Caleb Masland. Caleb trained me and paced me for this run. The goal was 3:20. He believed when I didn’t.
Check out my Friend and Ragnar teamate Sean Brown’s MCM recap.