A couple nights ago I was driving home from ballet, zoning out to WTOP (local news radio), when I heard it: “changes to the Marine Corps Marathon route.”
Naturally my ears perked immediately, and I learned multiple things:
- It’s official: due to the ongoing hardcore track work that’s be going on all summer and is scheduled into the fall, the Metro will NOT open early for MCM. This is a bummer but not unexpected; I already knew the Metro wasn’t opening early for the Navy-Air Force Half six weeks earlier. I’d hoped MCM would be different but what can you do. We here in the DC area are used to Metro disappointments by now, believe me.
- By consequence of this, runners will now have a full hour to cross the start line – from 7:55 to 8:55am. (This would’ve come in handy last year but I hope I don’t need it this year!) I assume this to combat the potential traffic snarl that will almost certainly render a lot of runners late.
- And by consequence of THAT, the course has changed. As many know, you’ve got to “Beat the Bridge” – make it over the 14th St bridge (around mile 20 in previous years’ routes) by a certain time or else get swept as they need to reopen it for traffic. With the extra start time buffer, beating the bridge can be more challenging. Therefore some of the course before the bridge – the Rock Creek Park section – has been cut in favor of more time in Crystal City, which is post-bridge.
- This isn’t relevant to me personally, but those participating in the 10K will not longer start at the National Mall; indeed, they’ll now race entirely within Arlington County, no DC at all. Tough break, guys.
How does this affect me? Well:
- I’m sad about the Metro not opening early; it’s a convenient and cheap way to get to the start line. But it is what it is. I figure I’ll catch an Uber around 5am. I’m a high anxiety driver when I don’t know exactly what I’m doing and rode closures would make it worse; let someone else figure it out.
- The extended start time will hopefully be a non-issue for me if I’m leaving at 5am but I guess it’s good to know I can take four times as long to get there and still be in plenty of time. Since I have more time to cross the start I guess I could technically wait for the Metro to open at 7am as usual and take my chances, but HAHAHAHAHAHA NO.
- And hey, if other runners are late, early race crowding could dissipate!
- I’m actually pretty okay with the course change. Rock Creek Park, while full of lovely forests, is one of the least populated in terms of spectators and has some of the lowest energy. Meanwhile, Crystal City is FULL of people and downtown sights and also you know you’re nearing the end of the race so you’re like YESSSSS and I just generally kind of love the Crystal City portion of the race, is what I’m saying. Also the bridge is one of the roughest portions of the race for me, and if I’m reaching it sooner I might have the energy reserves to make it less miserable.
- The only part that makes me nervous – if I mentally associate Crystal City with Almost Done, but really I have way more race left than I think I do, how will that mess with me? On the other hand, maybe I’ll just be tricking my happiness into kicking in early…
Overall, and Metro annoyances aside, I guess I’m all right with these changes. We’ll see how they shake out.
You can see the WTOP article that sums up the radio spot here. I’m sure this info is on the MCM site somewhere too but since WTOP told me first they get the nod. Harrumph.
Will you be at the Marine Corps Marathon? How do you feel about these last-minute-ish alterations? Do you want to share an Uber with me?
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