Despite having to pull out because of an injury, I went out to the Marine Corps Marathon to cheer on the runners. Big city marathons are fun events. Four friends from Rhode Island came down to run it. How could I not go out and watch them??
All week, the forecast looked bad. Hurricane Sandy looked like she was going to seriously impact the race. On race morning, the weather forecast during the race said showers or rain. Well, there was no rain at all! It was windy but otherwise near perfect running weather. Not sunny and cool.
Marine Corps is a pretty easy marathon to spectate at. I planned 3 spots. Took the Metro to Foggy Bottom, walked to mile 10 (along Rock Creek Parkway and the Potomac River), then walked to the Lincoln Memorial and The Mall, watched at mile 17, then Metroed over to the Pentagon at mile 24.
I made 2 double-sided posters. Only one came along with me because I thought it was going to rain. I had a plastic sleeve to protect the poster from rain. One of my brilliant ideas was to tape a wide ribbon to the poster so that I could hang the poster around my neck. It kept the poster from blowing away (and even then I had to hold it with at least 1 hand). When I wasn't holding the poster, I rang a cow bell like mad.
Side 1 said, "WHERE ARE Y'ALL GOING?" This poster was so much fun. It was a great way to interact with runners. I got all sorts of answers, including:
I don't know
To the finish line
Come with us
Away from the hurricane
When I got to mile 24, I flipped the poster to Side 2. This poster said, "REACH DEEP. Yes, You Can!" Especially in the later miles of a marathon, you need a short phrase or a positive message that motivates you to keep going. I got a lot of positive responses from runners.
Tips for Posters
1. Write big. Keep the message on your poster as short as possible. Less is more.
2. Write in ALL CAPS.
3. Use a wide-tipped marker and make your words stand out.
4. Use mantras. Some of my favorites are Right here right now, Finish strong, Reach Deep, and Don't stop. Anything positive and motivational that is short enough for me to repeat over and over again
5. Tailor the message to where you will be on the course. Runners in the later miles are tired and fighting a mental and physical battle. I intentionally used the Where are y'all going poster earlier and saved Reach Deep for the end. I think this worked well.