My first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2008. The decision to run a marathon was not one that was well thought out. It just somehow came out of my mouth one day when I was chatting with a friend. Next thing I knew, I was finding a training plan and planning my race weekend. Never mind that the longest race I’d ever done was the Army 10 Miler and that I could hardly walk afterwards.
So, when I saw that the topic for Friday Five this week was “Five reasons to Run…”, Marine Corps Marathon immediately jumped to mind. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget!
1. The Marines – I admit it. I’m shallow. I like it when men in uniform hand me water and Gatorade. If nothing else, it takes your mind off of the pain as you get farther into the race.
2. It’s a great course – The course for the Marine Corps Marathon takes you around the National Mall for a view of one of the best parts of the Nation’s Capital. You hit this area around mile 16, which is a great time to have lots of things to look at and reasons to focus outside yourself.
3. The spectators are awesome and plentiful – Just past midway into the race, you head near the Mall. There are spectators everywhere! So many signs, so many little kids to high five. It’s pretty awesome! Then once you get over the bridge, you head into Crystal City. The energy there is unbelievable. People are packed in, cheering for the race. This is where many of the locals go to cheer and it gives you a boost as you head into the final miles. And finally, the finish line. Wall to wall people cheering. Nothin’ negative about that.
4. It’s a well run race – I’ve run a ton of races since Marine Corps Marathon. Many of them have been well organized. Marine Corps Marathon makes them all look like they are as well run as my household (which is to say, absolutely chaotic). From packet pickup to start to water stops to the finish line, everything proceeds as it should and in a well run manner. Given the number of people that run this race, that’s pretty darn amazing.
5. The pride and emotions you feel at the end. Take the normal pride in yourself that you feel when you complete a marathon. Multiply that by the pride in your nation that you feel as you run past the monuments. Then run past the tribute to the fallen soldiers. You will be left feeling like you belong to so much more than just a marathon.