Marine Corps 17.75K – Race Report

This past Saturday I ran the Marine Corps 17.75K, which is 11.03 miles. Why the odd distance? Because the Marine Corps was founded in 1775. This is the race that sold out in 9 minutes back in February, and that gives finishers guaranteed entry into the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.

Marine Corps 17.75K

I arrived at the race with my dad and his friend about an hour before the start. I was surprised traffic wasn’t too bad, and we had an easy time parking and walking over to the start area. The first thing I did was head over to the porta potty lines, which weren’t too bad but were growing steadily.

MC 17.75K porta potty line

I made it through the line and then was able to meet up with Logan! I also got to meet Alex and Sophie. After another round through the porta potties, we headed over to the start.

Marine Corps 17.75K Group photo

This was probably one of the most casual race starts I’ve ever been apart of. As we reached the crowd at the start line, we heard a faint whistle and the crowd surged forward. Just like that we were off. The first 1.5 miles or so (and last 1.5 miles) were on a gravel road, and the middle miles did a loop through the park on a paved road.

Marine Corps 17.75K gravel road

Logan and I ran together for the first 6 miles. I had a great time chatting with her and getting to know her more. It’s crazy how the conversation just flows when you’re running with someone. Unfortunately, there was a big, mean hill at mile 5 that did my legs in. I kept going for another mile, but eventually gave in to a walk break just after mile six. That’s when Logan and I parted ways (which I was totally cool with, I didn’t want to hold her back!).

Marine Corps 17.75K Prince William Forest Park

Mean hill at mile 5. Hills are hard to capture, but trust me it was a beast.

The race was really hilly, especially from miles 5-7 and during the last mile. I had heard as much, but of course it was harder than I expected. My pace slowed significantly during the second half of the race, but I had a strong final mile. For once I think my Garmin has a pretty accurate representation of the course elevation.

MC 17.75K Marine Corps 17.75K elevation hills

There weren’t a lot of spectators along the course, but the ones who were out there were very enthusiastic. There were Marines along the course directing us and cheering us on as well. They also had motivational signs along the course. But this being a Marine Corps race, they weren’t your typical motivational phrases! I got pictures of a couple of them, but I was on the wrong side of the course for most. Some others that I didn’t get pictures of were “Let’s go, twinkle toes!”, “My grandma can run faster than that!”, and “I’ve seen pond water move faster!”

Marine Corps 17.75K motivational signs

It was a pretty nice day for a race, if not a bit on the warm side. But I’m not complaining after the never-ending winter we’ve had! It did get pretty buggy at times in the park, though, which I did not enjoy. But the park makes up for it by having a ‘Turkey Run’ sign!

Marine corps 17.75K

The last 1.5 miles were on the same road we ran down at the start of the race. I should have paid more attention, so I would be prepared for the hills. There were some tough ones. Most people were walking, but it was neat to see everyone cheer on the few souls still running up the hills.

Marine Corps 17.75K hills

Again, it’s hard to capture hills. But I think I almost did this one justice.

Finally we climbed the last hill (I didn’t walk!), and we had a sweet downhill and then a flat straightaway to the finish line. My official finish time was 2:05:09, about a minute per mile slower than my pace at the Asheville Half Marathon. But this race was hillier.

Marine Corps 17.75K finish

After I crossed the finish line, I made my way through the finish area and collected a bottle of water and a snack box. The snack boxes were leftover from the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, ha! I also received a finisher’s coin.

MCM snack box

I met back up with my dad and his friend, and we headed over to collect the thing behind my entire reason for running this race. My access granted pass!
MC 17.75K Access Granted

 

Marine Corps 17.75K access granted finisher's coin

We didn’t stick around too long after that. Traffic was really bad headed towards 95, but luckily my dad knew another way home. Don’t you love it when you can leave the race logistics up to someone else?? Later that evening I plugged in my access granted code and officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon this October.

MCM Class of 2014

I’m really excited for this race already, and am actually looking forward to starting training this summer. Marathon #2, here I come!

Who else raced this past weekend?

Have you ever run a race with an unusual distance?

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Don’t forget to enter to win a free entry into any Spartan Race in the continental U.S.! The giveaway will close this Thursday, April 17 at 11:59 PM EST.

Boston Strong ribbon Boston Marathon ribbon

 

11 Comments

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  1. Great weekend and great fun. It is always a good time watching the accomplishments of so many runners.

    Time to start my training and planning my route for the MCM.

    LUD.

    1. I love watching the finish line of races. Hopefully if you start now, you’ll have a route planned by October for MCM. It looks to be a bit more complicated than Charlotte was.

  2. Congrats on the finish! That’s a great race shirt! It’s great that you’ve now got guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon.
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…50K vs. Marathon Training – 3 DifferencesMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I’m a big fan of the shirt, too, although I’m not sure how all the guys felt about baby blue. I’m so excited for MCM, now! 🙂

  3. Woohoo for another great race! That shirt is awesome and it looks like a pretty scenic run as well!
    jan recently posted…High Maintenance Hair?My Profile

    1. Woohoo! I like the shirt, too. The course was really pretty – all forest.

  4. Congratulations! That course looks pretty awesome. Can’t believe they gave you leftovers, though 🙂
    JoAnne recently posted…Seen on the run (April 16, 2014)My Profile

    1. Haha, I know right!? I guess it’s better than just throwing them out. But I would have thought larger races would donate leftover food to a food bank or something.

  5. Congrats on the race and getting into the marathon!! 🙂 I will have to come watch!!

    Ugh hills. That’s all I have to say about them haha.
    Becky recently posted…Live for 32My Profile

    1. Thanks! You will have to let me know if you come out so that I can look for you! 🙂 I second that ugh to hills… although I’ve got Blue Ridge coming up this weekend. No hills. Just mountains, ha.

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