The Washington D.C. Marathon

I registered twice for the Washington D.C. Marathon, though never ran it once.

My first marathon didn’t go well. Almost immediately I set out to redeem myself. A month or two after running the Chicago Marathon in October 2001 I began training for the inaugural Washington D.C. Marathon in March 2002.

I trained much better the second time around and set more reasonable goals. All was falling into place. After months of training I began to taper 2-3 weeks before the race. I went out for an easy 5 mile run with Melissa when out of nowhere I felt sharp pain in both my knees at the same time. I finished the run, but my knees still hurt. I took a few days off. Still hurt. Marathon day came and went but I stayed home, unable to run.

The best I could tell was I had patellar tendonitis that flared up. Eventually I found I could run if I wore Cho-Pat straps under my kneecaps. After 6-8 months I no longer needed the straps. The summer of 2002 was when I began to follow the strict rule of not running two days in a row.

During the winter of 2002-2003 I decided to give the marathon another go. This time Melissa wanted to run it also. We both signed up for the 2nd annual Washington D.C. Marathon. We trained together all winter through some nasty weather. A week or two before the race the U.S. invaded Iraq. Three days before the race (literally as we were packing our gear to head to D.C.) we received an email from the race organizers informing us the race would be cancelled due to security concerns. Oh, and they were keeping our registration fees.

What an ordeal.

In a bit of a panic at the thought of her first opportunity to run a marathon vanishing, Melissa immediately started searching for another marathon. Luckily she came up with a small marathon in Frederick, MD (just outside of Washington D.C.) the following weekend. So we immediately registered (as did many other former Washington D.C. Marathon registrants) and postponed our trip one week.

We never did get a clear explanation about the real reason the race was cancelled. We heard that the organizers had massive debt and they never intended to hold the race. Perhaps the war was a convenient excuse for them to take the money and run. As you can imagine this was wildly unpopular. In the end we were at least partially reimbursed, though I don’t remember by whom. It may have been our credit card company or it may have been the race organizers.

2 thoughts on “The Washington D.C. Marathon”

  1. I think we got reimbursed through the credit card company; I remember having to write letters and show documentation of whatever it was that happened. Last I heard the war actually had nothing to do with it; the race organizers were bankrupt to begin with. I could be wrong though; who knows for sure.

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