Saturday, October 05, 2013

Peer Pressure Marathon

Running a marathon alone would be no fun.

Luckily, this probably never or very rarely happens.

But many runners do choose to train alone and then race where they may not know anyone else in the field.

The idea of a destination marathon always sounded fun. I've traveled to a few cities for half marathons which proved to be a fun weekend (Brian's Nashville hotel horror story aside).

Through the years of running the Chicago Marathon, I've met people who took on Chicago once and then went on to other states and countries to run other races. I've heard great post-race stories of journeys to OktoberFest in Munich, Amsterdam and Paris to name a few.

The question wasn't if I wanted to run a marathon in another city, but rather which marathon I wanted to run. After running Chicago five times, I have a love for the big city marathon format. Having tens or even hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering you on is truly inspiring. Nowadays, just about every large city has a marathon, so which one was I to choose?

I was pointed towards the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. Kim A. had run the race in 2005 and had a great experience. I'd met a few other people who had echoed her experience. I love Fort2Base, a race from Fort Sheridan to Great Lakes Naval Station, due to it's military theme. Then there's my brother, grandfather, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbors and friends who have been members of our armed forces. What a great way to honor them.

These thoughts had been stewing in my head for some time before last year's Ready to Run 20 Miler. It was during the 20 Miler that Jeff and I got into a conversation about destination marathons. Jeff was running Chicago and then heading to Amsterdam for a second marathon two weeks later. As we discussed his plans that fall, we also discussed future plans. What other races did we want to run? We both said Marine Corps.

After the New Year, we regrouped on race registration plans. The Marine Corps Marathon registration was not until late March. It had sold out in less than a few hours in 2012. Knowing Marine Corps would be a tough race to get in to, Jeff and I both decided that we would register on February 1st for the Chicago Marathon.  Chicago is a great race, and neither of us minded running it again at all!

Amidst registration complications for both races, I was able to get into both. Our friend Carl had been successful in getting a Marine Corps registration. Jeff had gotten in to Chicago, but not Marine Corps. A few months later, he found a charity who works with Wounded Warriors to fundraise for. Jeff and I were now locked into two marathons in 14 days.

As they say, misery, or maybe insanity is a better word, loves company. It's more fun to run two marathons when you talk others in to it. So, in July as we had a few drinks at Jeff's before the Pearl Jam show, we managed to convince Jen to join us in D.C. We didn't have to work too hard to convince her. 

In a few weeks, the four of us will travel to Washington D.C. For three of us, it will be our second marathon of the fall.

The journey continues...

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