MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2

MCM preview part II: Miles 14-26.2
October 25, 2012, 2:45 pm
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Continued from MCM preview: Miles 1-13

Boom! By this point you're half way to the Finish Festival! Pick up Mile 14 on your way out of Hains Point and get ready for some big crowds and beautiful views of the National Mall.

You'll catch a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial as you round the Tidal Basin and pass the Mile 15 marker. From here you'll make your way to the National Mall: a five-mile stretch of great fans and great views. Your trip down Independence Avenue includes the Lincoln Memorial after Mile 16 and the Washington Monument just beyond Mile 17.  Just a half mile later you'll enter the MCM Gauntlet at 14th Street and Madison Drive --the first of two time requirements. Marathoners must reach this point by 12:20 p.m. lest they be diverted to an unofficial course.

As you make your way through the Gauntlet you'll pass some of the nation's premier museums, the U.S. Capitol building and the Smithsonian Castle while moving through perhaps the longest stretch of spectators along the race course. Turning back down Jefferson Drive look out for plenty of photographers stationed along the course and even lying in the street to catch the perfect shot of you with the Capitol backdrop. You'll also find the third food station, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, between Miles 18 and 19.

When you exit the Gauntlet and take a left onto 14th Street towards the bridge of the same name, you'll pass the second time requirement at Mile 20: Beat the Bridge. In order to complete the race you need to reach this point by 1:05 p.m., which means maintaining at least a 14 minute/mile pace.  You're so close.  Remember that.  Because the next two miles are going to be lonely as you cross the bridge back into Virginia and make your way down the exit ramps to Crystal City.

You'll be 22 miles in when you reach Crystal City, which features a new 1.5 mile loop this year.  Some of the most colorful and enthusiastic fans line Crystal Drive as they cheer you on before your final push to the finish. To make your home stretch a little sweeter Dunkin Donuts will be set up at Mile 24.  Munchkins of the pumpkin, jelly-filled, chocolate, cinnamon and glazed varieties will be available for runners, inspiring jealously in all spectators nearby.

In your final two miles you'll pass the Pentagon and the MCM Start and continue on as the roar of the Finish Line crowd grows louder in your charge toward the Iwo Jima and U.S. Marine Corps War Memorials. Be prepared for one last hill between the 26th mile and the finish line --the MCM course designer seems to have a cruel sense of humor.

Congratulations: you've just finished the 37th Marine Corps Marathon!  Grab your medal and enjoy the Finish Festival!

Be sure to check back here after the race to see yourself cross the Finish Line.