Race: Marine Corps Marathon 50K

Runner: Robert H

Race Date: 10/27/2019

Location: Washington DC

Results: 6:44:26 / https://events.hakuapp.com/events/1405901239e66d083c42/live_tracking#results

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2822507207

marine corps marathon 50k race report
Photo Credit: Robert and Maria Hanna

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

-1st ever Marine Corp Marathon 50K and the medal was great. And it is pretty awesome as I think it set the record for the largest urban ultra marathon.
-The organization is just solid – one doesn’t have to worry.
-The weather stunk, but it means that I’ll never forget this race and gives plenty to commiserate about afterwards.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The 50k started before the marathon. This put about 1700 runners in front of the hand cyclists. They easily caught us and while the runners tried to clear a path, it created a dangerous situation, especially with the wet conditions. I watched one participant lose a brake and steering on a downhill, hit a runner, bounce on a curb and flip. I guess the good news is there were to help him, but I have to wonder…The 50k does an out and back 4.8 miles from the marathon course. So when the marathon runners are at mile 5ish, the 50k runners are at mile 10ish. the marathon starts 25 minutes after the 50k. Net result: when I rejoined the marathon course, I ended up in a group of runners that were slower than the pace that I had been averaging. This resulted in a lot of weaving for several hours (I’m slow) until it completely opened up in the final couple of miles. I suspect this wasn’t as bad for the faster people on the 50k, but not sure.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

My spouse ran the marathon. She stayed at the end and waited. I was able to text her and she was there when the Marine presented my finisher medal. It was awesome to share that. I set goals to stop and smile and take selfies. That was critical to my finishing the race as the weather rapidly made all my hopes of going fast for me disappear in rain, wind, and then, heat and humidity. And, getting my beer at mile 28 – thank you to those Hash House Harriers!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

I’ve done the Marine Corps Marathon several times. If you aren’t dropping a bag, entering from the Rosslyn side is easier than from the Pentagon side to get to the start. This is especially true for the 50k.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I needed more salt. Think I might have mugged someone for a potato chip if I could have moved fast enough by the end. Post-race the legs are recovering fast and I have Josh Fields training plans and encouragement to thank for that. Doing the long slow distance is paying off. I could even walk down steps forward after the race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The start of the 10k course is on the national mall. There is never a line for a portapotty there.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It is hard to beat the sites – even in the rain.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I find the toughness to be very weather dependent and the weather is hard to predict.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

This was the first time that I’ve ever seen the front of the field and that is because there is an out and back for the 50k and the marathon winner passed me so I have no idea.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

The 50k had an open window that was first come first serve. It sold out fast and I would bet next year there will be a lottery or something else.

Weather and typical race conditions

Rain from 6am until 10-11 including some torrential downpours. Followed by sun (and humidity from evaporating rain).

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

This is a great course for spectators.

How’s the Swag?

Cool medal and best shirt in several years. 50K and MCM were different.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 stars and I plan on being back.

marine corps marathon 50k race report