Hopefully you’re not sick of me talking about the Marine Corps Marathon, yet. Today I’ve got a collection of little details from the race that you would typically share with your running buddy during a long run. They’re the kind of details you forget about until you’re an hour into a run and your mind wanders. But for whatever reason, I remembered a bunch of them this time. In fact, I remembered enough to split them into two parts. Here’s part 1!
Stand up or sit down?
I observed something that I found pretty funny while in line at the VIP porta potties. They had separate lines for women and men. The women’s restrooms were your standard 3 stall restrooms with 3 toilets. But for the men, they had one restroom that was urinals only, while the others were stall-type restrooms. So as the men each got to the front of the line, a Brooks employee would ask them “Stand up or sit down?”
How funny would it be to be the one having to ask everyone that all morning!?
As I was running up the hill to the Key Bridge between miles 4 and 5, I met one of the MCM “Groundpounders.” It turned out to be Al Richmond, as he was wearing bib 38 and I looked him up. As of last year, Richmond was one of four men who have completed all 38 previous Marine Corps Marathons, which began in 1976. The group became a group of four in 2004. I recently read that only two were able to finish this year’s race, so the group is now down to two. The other Groundpounder* to finish this year was Will Brown. They are all amazing, and all are in the MCM Hall of Fame.
In April 1990, Richmond was shot three times by a mugger, an incident he refers to as “lead poisoning.” Six months later, he completed the marathon in 4:40. This year he finished in 5:43. We spoke briefly on the race course, high fived, and then parted ways as we crossed the Key Bridge. I had heard of the elite group about a month before the race, and I was hoping I might see them along the course. It was really neat and such an honor to actually get to meet him!
*‘Groundpounder’ is a slang term used for a Marine infantryman. MCM gave the group the nickname in 2006.
Things happen during races that never happened in training
Between miles 5 and 6, I became aware that the seam on the toe of my right sock was rubbing my pinkie toe. It was mildly painful, but not awful. I knew this was a bad sign, as I had a very long way yet to go. But I also made the decision right there that I was not going to do anything about it. I was just going to keep running and deal with the pain, because I did not want to stop. At this point, I was still hoping that I might be able to run every step of the marathon from start to finish.
My toe continued to rub, and sometimes I was keenly aware of it. Other times it got pushed to the back of my mind and I didn’t notice it much. Once I got past mile 20 it had become much more painful and I was really feeling it. And then at mile 24 I felt it burst, which gave me a sick feeling in my stomach. By the time I got to the finish a new blister had formed on top of the raw skin. Once I met back up with my dad and Barry, I told them “something terrible has happened to my right pinkie toe.”
Luckily, my imagination was picturing it much worse than it ended up being. My pinkie toe was one giant blister for a few days, but it has healed up now.
Isn’t it crazy how things happen during a race that never happened during training!?
Happy Birthday to me!
No, it wasn’t my birthday the day of the race. My birthday is in July. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but my dad’s birthday gift to me this year was my entry into the Marine Corps Marathon.
He gave that to me as an early birthday gift after I ran the 17.75K to get guaranteed entry.
Do you remember little details from a race?
Have you ever had someone give you a race entry as a gift?