Saturday, October 26, 2013

Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Twenty-four hours to the race of a lifetime! Or should I say an accomplishment of a lifetime. Twenty-four hours to the 38th Marine Corps Marathon!

Who would have thought a year ago I would run a marathon, let alone the Marine Corps Marathon also known as the people’s marathon. A race built around 38 years of tradition and support for runners and our military. I alongside 30,000 other runners will be running the streets of Washington, DC, passing monuments while United States Marines hand us water and Gatorade and cheer us on.
The race hasn’t even started and I’m already in awe of the coordination and overwhelming enthusiasm that the race volunteers and Marines have displayed. Everywhere I turn there is someone in a Marine Corps Marathon shirt or jacket offering to help.

Yesterday at the packet pickup, two Marines gave me my bib, pins, Marine Corps Marathon patch, and the program for the event.
When I walked into the Health and Fitness Expo a Marine saw me standing in the middle of the aisle gazing around (I was struck by so much) and offered to help get me started. She handed me my race bag and walked me over to get my race shirt. Then she told me to enjoy the expo and the race and sent me on my way. I walked around the event for two and a half hours.
Last night was the first timers Pep Rally, and event for folks running their first marathon or their first Marine Corps Marathon. Remember your high school pep rallies? Picture that on a much grander scale. Cheerleaders and mascot greeted you as you entered, cheered at various times, and posed for pictures.

A slide show displayed on two large screens, the Marine Corps Marathon race arch sat on stage along with a bunch of race sponsors and an amazing speaker named Robbie who pumped enthusiasm into you with his words. With this man behind you, you could not possibly lose.

We ate appetizers and drank and listened to various speakers tell us how to prepare for Sunday’s race. Great advice like bring a garbage bag to wear to keep warm while waiting for the race to begin, bring tissue in case you have to go to the bathroom without the benefit of a port-a-potty, run your race and your pace, and probably more importantly to smile and enjoy the run. We mingled with other runners where I met a Navy submariner and an older Army gentleman.
Tonight is the carbo-dinner where I have no doubt the meal will be packed with carbohydrates, more words of wisdom will be shared, excitement and enthusiasm will ripple through the hall, and new friends will be met.

At 5 AM Sunday morning all of us will be up and finding our way to Runner’s Village near the Pentagon and the race start. Start time is 7:55 AM, October 27, 2013.


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