For some runners, it’s a first marathon. Others treat it as a homecoming of sorts. There were 20,303 different stories that involved crossing the finish line of the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon.
Antonio Osadalosada, 57, from Sacramento, Calif. was one of those runners.
This was Osadalosada’s second time running the Marine Corps Marathon. He also ran the year before. His goal this year was to improve on his MCM time from last year, which he did by six minutes.
“It was a perfect running day in my opinion,” he said with a smile across his face.
As a visitor to the area, Osadalosada only plans to stay for the weekend. He heads back to California on Monday and is staying at his daughter’s home in D.C. while here. When asked if his daughter has ever considered the sport of marathon running, she replied “maybe one day.”
Unlike his daughter, Osadalosada is not new to the sport of marathon running. He has run numerous major races including Boston, but says he prefers the Marine Corps Marathon to all others.
“It’s well organized. There are more volunteers. The [start and finish] is close to the metro,” he said.
Though he admits the race is not without its set of difficulties, citing the bridge at the end as the hardest part.
Kathryn Dworak, 36, from Camp Pendleton, Calif. also traveled far to be there.
When the Marine Corps Marathon is in town, you’re bound to run into a Marine at some point. Dworak, a marine stationed in Camp Pendleton, is not new to the marathon. This is her seventh time running with her fellow marines. “All Marines should run it at least once,” she said.
It was Dworak’s fourth marathon this year, and she had no intention of racing it. Her goal was simply to enjoy the experience. “Whatever time it is, it doesn’t matter,” she said. Dworak loves the sights of the city, calling it “beautiful and gorgeous”.
Her other marathons this year have taken her across the globe, as she competed in races like the Great Wall Marathon and the Great Barrier Reef Marathon earlier in 2017.
“It was a little warm,” she admits, but for Dworak, that was not an issue. She trained for the race in Okinawa, Japan, and was used to the hot weather, calling DC “cool by comparison”.
Dworak says the hardest part was the first three miles, where she had to fight for space. “It’s too congested [at the start], but once it spaces out, it’s better.”
Like both Osadalosada and Dworak, this was not the first time competing in the Marine Corps Marathon for Reuben Parks, 46, from Spring, Texas. He also ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015.
Coming from Texas, Parks is just here for the weekend, staying in Alexandria.
Parks had a rocky start while here. He found this year’s expo at National Harbor to be a bit underwhelming. “It was a little light this year,” he says, expecting a bit more out of the annual event. But thankfully the underwhelming expo did not detract from his race day experience.
“[The marathon] was good,” he says as he catches his breath. “It ended up being hot.”
While he may not have achieved his first two goals, Parks finished in 3:46, beating his previous time by three minutes. He was ultimately happy with how he finished.
Parks says the most difficult parts of the race were the heat and the final miles in Crystal City.
His wife, Amy Parks, 45, also ran today, though she did not run the distance she expected when she first signed up for the marathon months earlier.
“It was supposed to be my first marathon,” she says, “but I ran the 10K instead. It was really great!”
In particular, Parks really enjoyed seeing a man juggling in the 10K, citing that as the highlight of her run. “He passed me twice,” she says with a grin. “I really liked seeing him.”
Coming from Texas, Parks says the weather put a damper on her marathon training. “Hurricane Harvey hit and led to three weeks without long runs,” she says. On top of that, she is also recovering from pneumonia. So, she decided to drop down to the 10K distance.
But that did not stop her from having a fun time in the 10K today, which she also did last year.
Parks says the most difficult part for her was the final uphill stretch at the end. “The last hill kills me every time,” she says.
Though many people travel far to run in the Marine Corps Marathon, not all of today’s runners came from out of town. Local runner Colin Deffet, 32, originally from Columbus, Ohio, now lives in Washington, D.C.
As a first-time marathoner, Deffet was mostly just there for the experience. He had no lofty goals or finishing times, though he admits running a marathon still came with its own set of challenges.
“It was the first marathon and my last … It was tough,” he says as he catches his breath. “Thankfully it was a pretty easy course. [I] got the hills out of the way early.”
Deffet lives near the turnaround on Rock Creek Parkway and jokes “I was debating walking right off the course at mile 8 and going home.”
Deffet was not alone today. His family came out to support him and cheered for him along the course. Erin Deffet, his wife and Dan Deffet, his father, were both spectating.
“It was a little warm for running, but perfect weather for spectating,” says his father, Dan.
“It was one of the better races we’ve ever been to,” adds his wife, Erin.
Both say they enjoyed the experience as well.