You asked – I answered.

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* 😉


  1. Karen the "Hungry Mom" says:

    that is seriously cruel!! however it sounds beautiful and i think you should do it again :) baby jane and I will come cheer you on

  2. Staci Dombroski says:

    That is crazy! I do not know what I would do if I was in something that unorganized! It would drive me crazy!!! Makes a great story now though :-)

  3. haha oh my gosh! Interesting concept of the rolling start, I'm not sure if I would like it or not. And yes maybe the park police should take up running to relieve their stress hehe

  4. Wow. You are pretty easy going. That'd have me all worked up into a tizzy.

    Glad your race went well.

  5. That is crazy and so completely wrong. I'm glad it worked out fine for you but I do feel for those who were trying to BQ. Hopefully nothing like that happens again.

  6. majorcane says:

    A few days before my first marathon I had this exact dream (nightmare). Crazy that it actually happened to you…..

  7. Wow how ridiculous! You handled it so well- I would've been much more riled up about it. GL if you decide to run it again. Hopefully the park police have run off some of their stress by now :)

  8. Mike Russell says:

    That was random. I am sure not everyone reacted with the same grace that you did. Way to keep your cool.

  9. What a crazy race from the rolling start to the race being too crowded and ending suddenly. You have a great relaxed attitude.


    That's crazy! When you first mentioned the "rolling start" I thought it sounded great, but no finish line and emailing your time?!?! What is that about?

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Didn't the race director know in advance what the limit would be so that he/she could cap the registration numbers? Or did the police just randomly decide it was too many people? I would have been really furious. Kudos to your for taking it all "in stride".

  12. Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal says:

    Thanks everyone! I think I took it in stride because I wasn't trying to PR – if I had been I promise you I would have been MAD :)

  13. Unreal!!! I would have been pretty upset if that had been my marathon… that i poured my heart and time into training for! yikes,

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