Brian Lawton was finally on his way to the Marine Corps Marathon starting line. So were two guys named Miguel and Dan, strangers he and his dad picked up in Alexandria on their way to the Pentagon.
When he had to get to the start, Lawton figured taking Metro’s Blue or Yellow lines from his Alexandria home was too much of a gamble if the system didn’t open until 7 but the race started before 8.. But when he got to a hotel where he was supposed to catch a shuttle, he saw bedlam.
“The guy in charge was trying to call every cab he could find because he was convinced his buses were never going to work,” he said. “I immediately called my dad, and he picked me up.”
They tried to take a woman they saw along the way, but were unable to get his son’s car seat unsecured.
Lawton made it to the start and ended up improving on his 2014 Richmond Marathon time by 10 minutes, a goal which drove him, along with his dad, to Marine Corps.
He, along with Dan and Miguel, were among 19,724 finishers.
Evan Coyle, of Kennett Square, Pa., also had some trouble making it to the start.
He took a cab from the Holiday Inn near the Mall, but after a while the drive said the road closures would be too much to overcome, so Coyle hopped out at the Washington Monument and ran about a mile to the start.
Coincidentally, he felt like he ran out of gas with about a mile to go during the race. He got a boost from looking around him, though.
“The people who run this race are amazing,” he said. “You can feel awful and like you don’t want to go on, but then you see soldiers running with rucksacks or carrying a huge American flag and it puts your struggles in perspective.”
He had run the MCM10k for years before deciding to move up to the marathon.
“My advice to anyone is to not listen to music,” he said. “Listen to people cheering, talk to the other runners, take in the crowds. It’s an amazing atmosphere.”
He had a hankering for Wawa after running his first marathon.
Likewise, Rachel Zawodzinski really wanted a beer and a hamburger after running her first marathon. The New Yorker felt pretty bad in the last few miles, but like Coyle, took a lot of inspiration from the crowd.
With a 3:34:43, she snuck under the minimum Boston Marathon qualifying standard, but she isn’t so sure she’d pursue running it.
“I thought originally if I qualified for Boston, I’d definitely do it,” she said. “Now I’m not so sure. After dealing with mile 23, I don’t think I’ll be doing this again. I spent those last miles just trying to finish — I was thinking about how it was over and I’d be able to eat soon.”
Steve Maynard, from Schenectady, N.Y., also eased up toward the end, but wasn’t so much focused on his time as he was on the entire race experience.
“This was all about running with the Marines,” he said. “That motivated me to come and run. Seeing them everywhere on the course, it was hard not to be proud of what they stand for and accomplish. “
He has no trouble getting to the start, having taken the race shuttle from the National Harbor.
Erin Henry, from Nashua, N.H., was also set on doing Marine Corps, her third marathon, but it was a little tough for her.
“I run all of my miles with my lab, Henry,” she said. “He’s 2.5 years old and loves to run. It was challenging because he wasn’t here with me.”