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marine corps 10K race recap: the most fun I've ever had while exercising

Posted Oct 29 2012 9:27am
I'm a bit melancholic today, and it's not just because Hurricane Sandy is having her way with the weather in the Northeast (though she is making it possible for me to write this blog post, since work was cancelled...). The MCM 10K finally happened yesterday, and I'm a little bummed out that it's over.

While I was training, my relationship with this race wasn't the best. I wondered why I had bothered signing up, since I hadn't enjoyed my last large race experience , and I also doubted myself a great deal. I had never run more than 5 miles before, and had a lot to accomplish to prepare for 6.2 after several months of not running long distances.

But with the help of a new playlist populated by the new Ben Folds Five album and amazing fall running weather, I got through it. My training plan made me more confident and prepared than for any other race I've run.

That being said, you could train your butt off and still have a horrible time at a race. This was not the case with the Marine Corps 10K. There were a lot of things that made this race so unique, fun, and inspiring
  • The course is amazing. I can't imagine a better DC race course except perhaps the Marine Corps Marathon. Although some spots are a little industrial, especially along the highway in Crystal City, you almost always have a view of some DC area landmark to take your mind off running.
  • When there's nothing to look at, there are spectators. I've never run a race with so many spectators before. Perhaps some of them were waiting to see some marathoners (the wheel chair competitors finished several minutes after I got done with the 10K), but you would never know. They held signs and cheered and smiled. Some even brought their dogs, which I appreciated!
  • What can you even say about a race populated by so many smiling, polite, helpful Marines? I was greeted by a Marine on my way up the escalator before the race. The Marines were stationed around the course for moral support. and it was a wonderful feeling to have a Marine place a medal around my neck at the end of the race.
  • Most of all, this race is a race with a message. I saw many competitors with prosthetic legs (most of them running faster than me), and hundreds of people running in honor of a fallen soldier. I didn't expect myself to react this way, but the whole experience was very emotional and extremely inspiring. I felt so much sympathy for those around me -- ESPECIALLY the wounded veterans passing me -- that I was able to give it a little more than I normally could have. Running up the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial at the end of the race is such a fitting end to this wonderful race.
  • And of course (since Marines are involved), the race is extremely well-organized, which is no easy feat for a series of events that includes 30,000 runners. 

    I think you can tell how much I enjoyed this race by this post-race picture:

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