2015-10-25 - Marine Corps Marathon

~26.2 miles @ ~14.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCM_2015_Kerry_Kristin_start.jpg "This day is call'd the feast of Crispian!"

It's the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, where an outnumbered English army under King Henry V met the French. In pre-dawn darkness, an hour before the 40th Marine Corps Marathon, Drs Kerry and Kristin stand in a crowd of thousands, waiting to get through the metal detectors so we can find our way to the starting line. Today is K&K's first marathon.

And somehow in the mass of runners Anton Struntz spies us. He's an ultra-buddy, a fellow-traveler in long races for the past decade, an Ironman, and a historical reenactment lecturer.

"He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian!"
Anton and I recite in chorus most of the famous speech from Shakespeare's Henry V, to the amusement of Kerry and Kristin. When I miss a few lines, Anton corrects me. He knows it in the original Elizabethan English, which sounds rather like Scottish.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. ..."

Eventually the Marines let us through the security checkpoint. Light drizzle pauses, then begins again. The color guard prepares for pre-race ceremonies. Parachutists with giant American flags descend from cloudy skies.

"But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive!"
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCM_2015_Kerry_Kristin_adventure.jpgAnd what a day of honour it is! The race is a beautiful icing on the cake of six months' training together.

"ADVENTURE", reads the plinth of the John Ericsson National Memorial at mile 10. K&K pose, appropriately.
Along the way there's hard effort, silly signage, more photo ops, fist-bumps from enthusiastic bystanders, and much joy. Approaching the halfway mark near the tip of Hanes Point we run a quiet mile past signs commemorating fallen soldiers. Then there's an avenue of flags waved by cheering volunteers.

On the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River, safely ahead of the crucial cutoff, K&K stretch tight muscles.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/MCM_2015_Kerry_Ellie_mile_26.jpgAt mile 26 Kerry's husband Clay and daughter Ellie join us. We pause before charging up the final hill.

Kerry's Embry-Riddle University shirt — her son is a freshman there — elicits almost as many shout-outs as does my beard. This years best spectator salute to excessive facial hair comes at mile 25: "Fear the Beard!"
"Congratulations, Ma'am," says the young marine to Kristin at the finish line, as he looks her in the eye and puts the medal around her neck.

Then he salutes. "Mission accomplished!"

(GPS trackfile) - ^z - 2015-11-09