It took a bit of faith to watch the snow falling yesterday afternoon and still believe that today would be a good day to race. But faithful or not, we were all rewarded when the early morning near-freezing temperatures warmed up nicely and provided a perfect race day.
This year’s the course — differing only slightly from last year’s version — is still one of the most beautiful courses in all of marathoning. After climbing the early hills in Arlington, Virginia, runners streamed down along Spout Run Parkway, adjacent to the Potomac River. The trees were resplendent in their fall coloring, and runners could see the spires of Georgetown University across the river.
After climbing up to and crossing Key Bridge into Washington DC, runners turned left and headed out on River Road, paralleling the C&O Canal National Park. The rest of the race brought runners down Hains Point (thank you lululemon athletica cheering team!) to the Lincoln Memorial, along the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums, past the Capitol, and eventually back across to Virginia and the finish at the iconic Iwo Jima Memorial.
The only problem marring the race was experienced by mid- to back-of-the-pack runners, who had to come to a complete standstill immediately after crossing the finish line. The runners were being carefully directed through a gauntlet of marines who distributed medals, and then past photgraphers, and food tables. It must have sounded good in theory, but when thousands of runners piled up at this bottleneck, it seems obvious that more room must be provided.
Still, the MCM proved once again that it deserves it’s ranking as one of the top marathons in the country, and one of my favorite races.
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