49th Washington’s Birthday Marathon Will Have to Wait for 2011
By George Banker Arlington, VA January 21, 2010 For the Washington Running Report
We regret to announce that the 2010 George Washington Birthday Marathon has been canceled. The Race Directors are in the process of working out a refund strategy and will communicate soon with all registered entrants. Entrants may contact the Race Directors at [email protected]
“This was my first time running this course. My decision to do it was a combination of the fact that in the last year or so I have switched my focus to running marathons and I live in Hyattsville, MD, which is almost next door, so I think of it as home turf. It’s really an interesting setting for a marathon, with Greenbelt’s unique history and vibe, the Agriculture research complex, and the momentarily disconnecting firing ranges that are audible from the course. It’s intriguing to be part of this smaller marathon that’s been around for so long. I hope it continues,” stated 2008 winner Christopher Hamley (2:42:15).
On Sunday, February 14, 2010 (Canceled) the DC Road Runner’s Club will host the 49th Washington’s Birthday Marathon (WBM) and the 22nd three-person relay. The race is located in Greenbelt, Maryland on the grounds of US Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agriculture Research Center. This is the race your mother warned you about. The event does not offer the crowds of the Marine Corps Marathon or New York but you will find the hospitality and the small crowd flavor where runners are taken care of. You can be prepared for 18 hills and three loops with the excitement of a hill at mile 25. The race is a prime trainer for the Boston Marathon.
The USATF certified course has the three lops which run counter clockwise with a distance of 9.7 miles, 7.3 miles and the last 9.2 miles. The both events start at 10:30 a.m. and the common exchange point for the relay is the USDA Visitor Center. There are course marshals at key intersections and fluid replenishment stations along the course. The strategy is to take advantage of the flat sections of the course and use moderation to negotiate the hills. The first loop is the confidence builder. The runners who respect the hills always finish strong. The course is ideal for training as it will point out your weak points and your ability to change your movements between flat and hill running.
The registration fees are $35 for the marathon and $48 for the three-person relay teams (Postmark February 4, 2010). Race day registration is $40 (marathon) and $60 (team). On-line registration located at www.dcroadrunners.org.
Packet pick up and late registration will be at the Greenbelt Holiday Inn, Saturday, February 27, 2010, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Race day pick up will be 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Greenbelt Youth Center (90 Centerway, Greenbelt, MD 20770). The start line is a five minute walk.
The host hotel is the Greenbelt Holiday Inn, 7200 Hanover Drive, Greenbelt, MD 20770 (301-982-7000). Rates are guaranteed through February 2, 2010 and request the marathon rate.
To break the event records for the marathon will require a strong desire and determination:
Hamley adds, “For me, the three loop course is very psychologically helpful, it divides the race into distinct manageable sizes, helps with pacing and being cautious about the hills. I had driven and run the course once before, but still didn’t have a sense of how hard it would be in a race. I had run a ½ marathon two weeks before and then made sure to be really well rested, fed and hydrated…so the hills just didn’t seem too bad and I was surprised (and quite happy!) to still feel strong going up them in the terrible 20’s. I didn’t take that for granted. I was hoping to finish somewhere between 2:40 and 2:45, and that’s what happened. For a bit of wind, the weather was almost perfect. I like the course and its hills too.”
“I am so honored to be first master woman. It was my first time running the race. I didn’t know it had 18 hills. I do run in the mountains when I go back to Japan, where we have many serious hills. It is not because I was awarded, but I would strongly recommend this race to anyone if they don’t mind the unpredictable weather. It was really challenging course and super well organized. I truly enjoyed the course and the people. If I will run the race again, I will train for hills more, so that I feel more comfortable dealing with it,” stated Yoshiko Jo of Swarthmore, PA, 2008 master winner with a time of 3:37:30 (13th fastest winning time).
“This is my first DNF. I selected this race because I needed a training run and thought it would be good. I didn’t know the difficulty of the course. That hill at the end is just not even funny! What’s up with that? Oh, it was brutal to even walk up it and I train on hills in Frederick. I did learn a lot from the race as I need to pace myself better. I also learned that the last .2 miles of any marathon, whether I run the whole thing or not, is going to be the longest .2 of my life LOL,” stated Jennifer Sheriff of Ijamsville, MD.
There are five division for the three-person relay, open men and women, master men and women, and coed.
Marathon runners are permitted to run on a relay team but they must run the first leg. A relay runner can only run one leg. The relay offers a good workout and the distances are 9.7 miles, 7.3 miles, and 9.2 miles.
Volunteers are an integral part of the race and on race day they are needed to serve as course marshals and to assist at the water stops. If you are not able to run your support is appreciated or passes the information along to others. The point of contact is Pat Brown or 703-576-5765.
Full race details and registration located www.dcroadrunners.org.
Author George Banker will be there for his 77th carreer marathon. In the brightroom.com photo below, he is seen taking an even longer trip through the woods at the JFK 50 Mile. This 2006 photo is the start of four straight years.