Last year’s Potomac River Run Marathon was larger than expected. Because of this there was a rolling start. A rolling start? What is this? Well it means that when you show up to the race and are ready, you start. I thought it was hilarious.
I arrived with my mom, after getting a bit lost. We were unfazed because I could start any time I wanted up until a point. I used the facilities one last time[they were real ones, not just portable ones], put on my chip, bid my mom goodbye and lined up for my start. I was the only one at the starting line and I envisioned someone saying go and took off over the timing mat.
There were mile markers each mile but for some reason I only noticed a couple. The first mile felt hard, so I knew there was no way I was going to be able to PR so I decided to just *have fun* – I didn’t have a garmin at the time so I didn’t know any of my splits. All I knew was how much time had passed. The course was an out and back twice. So I knew at each turn around how much I had left of the race.
At about the 1/2 marathon point I started noticing that volunteers were on their walky talkies and were looking a bit panicked[the race director was telling them the race was over but to keep on letting us run and for them to stay on the course offering us water, etc.] Nothing was conveyed to the runners and we just kept on trucking. It was pouring rain and the course took us past some breathtaking views.
The only problem with a rolling start, and a half and a full being run at the same time is that you have no idea how you are doing compared to others. Am I in front, will I finish in the top? Age place? After awhile none of it seemed to matter to me. Why should it matter how I do in comparison to others? It was a true test of running for myself. I was running for the pure joy and was excited to add my footprints on another 26.2.
What I did not know till I finished was that the park police decided there were too many people on the course. This I find INSANE. I can tell you there were some miles I maybe saw 2 or 3 people. Couple that with the rain, and the usual runners and cyclists who may have been on the path weren’t there because they decided to stay home. Rather than letting the race end and just not allowing the use of the park land for future races, they pulled the permit and essentially kicked the race off the park.[hence the post race gas station]
I literally had run more than 26.2 mile and was yelling asking where the end was – someone yelled out – you already passed where it use to be. I stopped my watch and walked over to my dear mother who was waiting for me She explained what had happened. I said to her – I’m glad I wasn’t trying to use this as a BQ.
Once the race was over you were supposed to email in your time. They told me they felt runners were pretty honest people and that they would not lie about their times. This made me giggle – I thought of multiple stories of people cheating and not finishing marathons but saying they had. In the end I sent in the time on my watch exactly as it was when I stopped. I’m sure I ran more than 26.2 miles. I wasn’t upset. Stuff happens and overall I had a great day that day, so who am I to complain.
It still makes me laugh thinking about the randomness of life – kicking a marathon off park property – seriously those people must have been having a bad day – maybe they should take up running to relieve some *stress* 😉