Monday, March 27, 2006

The inaugural National Marathon

Last weekend they ran the inaugural National Marathon in Washington, DC. Most reports that I've heard about it so far indicate that it went reasonably smoothly.

I would have run it, but they had the unusual feature of having qualifying times for entrants which I couldn't meet. From the registration page at (which listed an entry limit of 5000 total for the marathon and half marathon combined):

"If you are between the ages of 18-49, you must have previously completed a marathon in 4:30 OR a half-marathon in 2:10 OR a ten-miler in 1:40. If you are over 50 years of age, you must have previously completed a marathon in 5:00 OR a half-marathon in 2:25 OR a ten-miler in 1:55."
  • In the marathon, there were 731 finishers, 46 (over 6%) of whom finished over 5:00. Out of that group, 25 (who supposedly had qualifying times under 4:30) were under age 50. The final finishing time was 5:43.
  • In the half marathon, there were 958 finishers, 52 (over 5%) of whom finished over 2:25. Out of that group, 34 (who supposedly had qualifying times under 2:10) were under age 50. The final finishing time was 4:54.
I guess perhaps I shouldn't have been such a stickler about the rules and entered anyway! I would have been far from the last place finisher in the half marathon!

With 1689 total finishers, it will be interesting to see if the organizers maintain the qualifying times next year when they will probably have even fewer entrants when it isn't an inaugural race.


Sara said...

My sister ran a marathon in the hopes to qualify for the Boston. But she missed the time. The time is good for two years. The next year, she obviously had a birthday which put her in the next age bracket and with her previous time of not qualifying she now qualified. And so she went to Boston and ran it.

nancytoby said...

Yeah, I would have been okay to qualify if I were 50 years old, because I've done a 10-miler within the 50YO cutoffs, but not for my real age group. :-(

tri-mama said...

That is a low finisher rate-is that unusual for races in the area? Wouldn't that be irony if the people who "could" race didn't show up whereas the ones they excluded are the more diehard about racing?

nancytoby said...

Oh, I don't think they got anywhere near the 5000 limit on entries. Probably more like 1700. I heard that they were disappointed with the low number of entries.

Bex said...

In a way, it was a good thing there was a qualifying marathon time. I heard from two experienced marathoners (sub 3:00) that the National Marathon course was much harder than Boston. That's b/c the second half of the Nat'l Marathon course was all hills - and they were long (about 1/4 mile) and steep. I ran the marathon last Saturday, and I saw at least a few people walking a couple of the hills.

jeanne said...

i'm gonna hope for the best, and hope they get more publicity and more entrants next year. I don't mind one bit that they had qualifying times. Why not have a Boston in our own backyard? Plus, it was a grueling course, so no wonder people were struggling.

and tri-mama: yes, it's unusual to have qualifying times here in d.c., but d.c. is a VERY runner-friendly town, with plenty of races to choose from, including of course the Marine Corps Marathon, for everyone.

nancytoby said...

I don't mind at all that they had qualifying times! But if they did it to have the streets clear at a certain time, it doesn't look like they did that - and street opening cutoffs are more straightforward. I'm quite skeptical that all those later folks actually met the qualifying standards in any recent year, though.

TxSkatemom said...

I'd have met the half cutoff time, but not the full, despite every indication that I should be able to finish in 5:00. It sounds like fun, but it will have to wait for me. I have a few others I want to do before coming back to DC.