It’s almost that time of year again. Time to start sorting out my registration for the Marine Corps Marathon. Do I try to get online and sign up for 17.75? And then run one of the hardest races in the area for the pleasure of handing over my credit card to pay for my guaranteed entry? Or do I take my chances and enter the lottery? Or is it time to give back and fundraise for a worthy cause (there are so many, I’m not sure who I’d even pick).
Regardless of what method I decide to use to enter the Marine Corps Marathon, one thing is certain: I will be running it again this year.
I didn’t mean to fall in love with the Marine Corps Marathon. I truly believed I would be one and done. Even after I returned to the world of marathoning, I never planned to return to the Marine Corps Marathon. I loved the race from the first, but I don’t like running in the summer. I especially don’t like running long during the summer.
Finally, I’m ready to come clean. I love the Marine Corps Marathon. It’s my hometown marathon and my favorite race in the area. It’s crazy crowded and the weather likes to make it an even bigger challenge, but even when I hate it (at say, mile 16), I love it.
- I love the crowds – yes, I know there are sections that suck, but large portions of the run are filled with energy. I love slapping little kid hands around the mall and drinking a coke from the awesome MRTT table in Crystal City.
- I love the other runners – This race is truly the People’s Marathon. Runners of all abilities are around you at all times. New runners, runners with disabilities, runners carrying flags, or wearing signs of lost loved ones. So many seem to have a deeper reason to run this particular race.
- I love the course – all the monuments and the Blue Mile. And the absolute insanity that is Crystal City. And running up the last hill to Iwo Jima being cheered on by Marines.
- And the Marines. Oh, how I love the Marines. Ahem.
- And finally, the medal. Each year it seems to get more awesome.
I know to some, the logistics of the Marine Corps Marathon and the sheer size of it are daunting. But it’s my hometown race and every year that I run it, it feels more and more comfortable. I’ve learned that for me, this is a race meant to be enjoyed and that I should embrace every moment on the course. Come join me this year and run the city with me.
What’s your favorite hometown race? Share it with us for Tuesdays on the Run!