This past weekend I raced in the inaugural Runners Marathon of Reston in Northern Virginia. If you love a very well-managed small community event, then this is the race for you. It doesn’t offer the big crowds of Chicago or Boston, or the big money of New York; all it offers is a beautiful course with great support and great post-race food.
The race starts at South Lake High School, which means that runners can stay indoors before the race, store their bags, keep warm, enjoy the food and drinks that are provided, and use proper bathrooms instead of port-a-jons.
The course is a double loop for the full marathon (a half-marathon is also offered) that is run half on city streets well marked with traffic cones and police support, and then half on parts of Reston’s extensive bike trail system. This is a hilly course, no doubt about it, but it’s a very pretty one, as the trails head through the woods, across streams, and even through a pedestrian tunnel. Along the way the aid stations offer not just water and sports drink, but gels, bananas, oranges, and fig newtons.
The race ends back at South Lakes High School for a lap on the track, and then runners head indoors to feast on pizza, chili (meat or vegetarian), oranges, muffins and bread. Awards are deep, and are made up of a matted or framed photo of a beautiful view of the trail the race had just covered.
Usually I’m concerned about running an inaugural event, since there are kinks that usually need to be worked out. But in the Runners Marathon of Reston, it’s hard to imagine how the event could get even better. http://runnersmarathon.com