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In 2017 our rep Colin Robertson went out to look after our guests on the Marine Corps Marathon and also had the opportunity to run this special race. Find out why it made it into his top three races ever (with Colin being a Six Star Finisher this is a decent accolade.)
Firstly a little more info about Colin.
Some of his more notable runs include:
Six Star World Marathon Majors finisher, 6 x Edinburgh Marathon, 2 x New York Marathon, 2 x London Marathon, Athens Classic Marathon, 2 x Calgary Marathon, Toronto Marathon, Disney Dopey Challenge, Reykjavik Marathon, Washington Marine Corps Marathon, 3 x New York Half Marathon, Scottish Half Marathon x 3, Kilomathon, Para’s Ultimate Endurance 10miler and Rock n’ roll Series Edinburgh, Lisbon & Nice. So he’s run a fair few Marathons!
Colin started working for us in 2014 and has been a regular for us on many of the big city marathons. So over to you Colin.
Colin (Centre) pictured at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Left: Barbara – who has also done Tokyo and Berlin with Sports Tours International and right: Amanda from the UK
Marine Corps Marathon lived up to its reputation. It’s the most American experience I’ve had at a US Marathon and it’s fantastic. Even just making your way to the start you go straight pass the Pentagon!
Once at the start it’s much less formal than some other marathons and operates an honour system for the starting corrals …….so you are expected to place yourself responsibly. It’s also worth mentioning the organisation at the start (and throughout) is amazing (well it is the Marine Corps after all) and once the F35 Raptors buzzed the runners we were literally off with a bang, as a Howitzer is fired for the start!
The first 4 miles is undulating, so it’s sensible to ease into a steady pace. I actually found this quite easy as my preferred pace was perfectly in time with the chanting from the Marine’s lining the course through Georgetown. “1, 2, 3, 4 United States Marine Corps” over and over again – with everyone joining in, it’s quite an experience.
Overall it is a beautiful course, and I loved seeing different parts of the city. The run through Rosslyn, Georgetown, Rock Creek Parkway, the National Mall, and more. The support from the Marines was so inspiring. At every aid station and every mile marker the Marines are positive and encouraging and are always up for a sweaty high five and even a selfie. Aid stations as you’d expect are ran with Military precision and everyone is encouraging you.
Speaking of inspiration…everyone before the race mentioned “The Blue Mile”. It’s very moving and a powerful experience. This area on the course (approx Mile 11) is very touching and emotional as you run through pictures on each side of the course of Marines that were killed in action or are still missing in action. It is a tribute to the fallen and everyone respects that as you could hear a pin drop with everyone lost in their own thoughts.
The Next notable milestone is what everyone calls “Beat the Bridge” over the Potomac River (Miles 18-21)…..be prepared to make the cut off time (2017 was 1.15pm). If you don’t get to it by the time stated you will not be officially recognised as a finisher, but you’ll still be allowed to finish. There is no aid / refreshments through this section but I didn’t realize it would be for 3 miles!! I’d say that the bridge is something to contend with psychologically.
Once over the bridge, the finish is getting closer and the race takes you through Crystal City. And Crystal City is buzzing! There are thousands of supporters and making lots and lots of noise – it’s amazing and it carried me to…
…The Finish – you read about this a lot and it definitely did not disappoint. You run uphill for the last 385 yards and it’s an epic finish up to the Iwo Jima memorial with Marines lining both sides of the route treating you like heroes!
All runners have their medals presented to them by a serving Marine. I recall walking towards my Marine and I was given a salute with a ‘Awesome Job, Sir’.
The MCM is high up on my list of marathons, top 3 infact! It’s a great course, it’s very well organized, and nothing beats a Marine putting your medal around your neck at the finish. It’s definitely a race that I would recommend to add to any marathoners list, and because it’s such a supportive atmosphere it’s beginner friendly for anyone looking to do their first full.
There’s a reason this sells out every year, and I’d definitely recommend the MCM. ‘OOOrah’ as they say!
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