Despite apprehension over the approach of Hurricane Sandy, a record field of 23,864 runners set off on October 28th for the 37th Marine Corps Marathon, and were treated to near-perfect race conditions, with temperatures in the low 50s under cloudy skies.
It seems to be a tradition for the Marine Corps Marathon to tweak and change the marathon almost every year, and 2012 proved to be no different. After enjoying beautiful views of the Potomac River on Spout Run Parkway in Arlington and River Road in DC, runners threaded through Georgetown on their way to the National Mall, but they might have been surprised to find that they would not be running on Constitution Avenue. Instead, they wove their way along the Mall, still finding their way to the west front of the Capitol. Then, after crossing into Virginia, the course avoided the out-and-back course through Crystal City, and instead opted for a loop route. While some runners seemed to miss the old route, I was happy to avoid the drive-way turn-around that used to be part of this section.
There were welcome changes to the end of the race at the iconic Iwo Jima Memorial as well: the finish line was moved up, relieving congestion that proved to be challenging at last year’s race. And upon completing the race, participants not only received their medal, but also got a disposable jacket, which was a welcome bit of schwag as the temperatures began to drop.
By nightfall, the rain had begun. While Sandy didn’t wreak as much havoc in the area as had been feared, it still reminded us what a difference 24 hours could make. If it’s true, as Vince Lombardi reportedly said, that luck is a combination of preparation and opportunity, then the Marine Corps Marathon made the very most of the hand that it was dealt, to the benefit of everyone who came out to participate.