For Lisa and Chris, Doug and anyone else who might be interested, I found these few tips for the Marine Corps Marathon in the November issue of Runner's World magazine. This may be old news to a lot of you marathon vets but I thought it was interesting and hopefully helpful.
- Get Support - The Marine Corps Marathon may be the most spectator-friendly course of any large marathon. It's very easy for your friends and family to see you five times with some brief walks across the Potomac and maybe a Metro stop or two. Check the spectator guide on the race web site for the best vantage points.
- Beware the two starts - For the 30th anniversary this year, registration was expanded to 30K. To accommodate the race's largest field ever, organizers have instituted a two-wave starting system. Teh first wave, denoted "scarlet," starts at 8:15 a.m. The second, "gold," starts at 8:45 a.m. Your wave will be indicated in your e-confirmation card as well as yon your race number.
- Go out easy - The opening two miles are hilly, so be extra careful not to go out too quickly. Back off on the uphills and you'll make up for it on the downhills. So don't worry if you're a little off-pace those first few miles.
- Prepare to take the bridge - The 14th Street Bridge at mile 20 is the toughest part of the course. There's no shade, no water, not many people. It's about a a mile and a half of dead space. Take a gel at the 19-mile water stop (you can pick one up at 12.5 miles). That burst of energy-and the knowledge that you've now got only six miles to go-should get you across.
- Say thank you - All the young men and women who shepherd you through the finish line are lieutenants from the Marine Corp's officer school at neaby Quantico, VA. They're all young and enthusiastic. When they drape the finisher's medal on you, say "Thank you, Lieutenant." They'll be happily surprised you know who they are.
- Find out more - Check out the Marine Corps Marathon's new virtual map, which enables you to zoom in on any part of the course.
Can't wait to hear all the great race reports.