2013: A Drizzly Good Day to Run
May 19, 2013
It’s that time of year. The Marine Corps comes to Historic Fredericksburg, Virginia and hosts a half-marathon. People from all over run through the streets of both modern and Old Town Fredericksburg, along a part of the scenic Rappahannock River, and up what has become the infamous section of the course - 'Hospital Hill'. The format of the race changed in 2013. There are now three runs that are held, a 5K run, a 10K run, and the Marine Corp Historic Half Marathon. All three go up Hospital Hill.
Access to two of the races is easy since they run down the street outside. As usual, the street is blocked for the race, but that’s OK, it’s Sunday morning. We’re somewhere near the 3K mark for the 10K race. The Nine Mile mark for the half-marathon is down the street, in front of the church. I wake up, go outside, visit briefly with the Marine who will be guarding the corner, then go back and sit on the front sidewalk step and start waiting for runners to come by. Occasionally I’ll go stand in the driveway and cheer and applaud and take pictures. It is occasionally drizzling, a really light rain.
Fair warning here: I am NOT a photographer.
The Earliest Runners
The Early Runners
We are unsure when the first runners will show up. The advertised start time is 7:00AM, but with that many folks in a race, they use modern technology to know when the runners cross the starting line, and when they cross the finish line. It is not like a horse race where they line up at the gate. It is more like herding - is a large group of humans a herd? I know they are not a mob. Anyway - There are lots of runners. For the 10K race the first few go by shortly after seven in the morning, somewhere around 10 minutes in, actually less. A blue-flashing light police escort is in front of the first runner. I am too slow with the camera. They come up the little dip in the road that runs under the highway. I expected more runners to be directly behind, because it is the shorter race that goes by first, but surprisingly, it takes a while. The camera runs through the batteries fast, and I got the pictures mixed up, so even going back I can not tell you who came by first or in what order, and by the time I figure the camera out a really large group is going by.
The pace slows down some as the tail end of the 10K runners go. They have posted a clock at the nine mile mark, and we keep checking it, thinking somewhere around 45 minutes in form the start of the 10Kwe might start to see runners. When they appear, they are also escorted by the police. This time I get lucky and figure the camera out, and snap a few shots, then find out I have only figured out how to take pictures, but still need to learn to aim. Somewhere around 50 minutes or so, someone I know goes by, and they’re gone before I get the camera going. I take a picture anyway, mostly so I can say I tried.
Every year, a couple of things happen.
First is: folks I know run by. Sometimes I see them before they see me, most times not. Like I said, it is a really large crowd, moving too, and many times they see me first, shout, and I real quick try to take a picture. The attempts are at the right. It is apparent that I do not have cat-like reflexes/ When someone shouts at you from a crowd, your reaction is to look and try to figure out who it was. Way too often, that is a hopeless endeavor. You try, but ... anyway; these are the pictures I got.
The second thing did not happen this year. there was no conflict on the corner. Come to think of it, I don’t recall it happening last year either. And it’s not really a conflict; it’s more like minor irritation for some folks, the sort of thing that has its roots in miscommunication, missed communications, or some other basic failure to communicate. None of that happened this year. It seems like every one who was heading to church got the word that this is race day. There was a group in front of the church cheering loudly through the race, encouraging the runners. Last year they had a band in their parking lot. Those coming in early to church parked in the parking lot (on one side of the house), and walked to the church (on the other side of the house). I’m not sure if that was the local City doing something, the race commission doing something, the Marines doing something, or the church doing something, but it seems that this year everyone knew what to expect, and it did not seem to bother anyone. Kudos to whomever it was that got things back to a nice peaceable state.
Fredericksburg and the Marine Corps
- Historic Half
The Marine Marathon Link to the Historic Half
Another Quiet Sunday Morning
At 1000 AM the race stops going by the house. The Marine Corps trucks come by and pick up both the Marine who guarded the corner, and the orange cones he had has helpers. One of Fredericksburg's Police Officers had stopped by several times, and an ambulance had stopped by too, but all is settled no, and folks are on their way to church. It was a good morning to run.
Till next year ... maybe I'll get a better camera, or a better photographer, or something.
Then again, maybe not.
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