nothing brings americans out in droves like a 2 for 1 deal at subway, or desert fatigues and flags. the 34th US marine corps marathon attracted 30,000 endorphin seekers and equal amounts of their screaming, gesticulating and cowbell ringing nearest and dearest. and while many distance foot races rely on relatively d-list mile marker "entertainment", there was very little need for the usual cadre of cartwheeling elvi or jitterbugging jugglers on this very historic, scenic and heavily testosterone lined course.
this particular 26.2 miler provided a complete multi-sensory experience. the visual being fairly obvious, was nicely accented by an auditory "hoo-ra!" (it's a marine thing, you wouldn't understand), mocha clif shots (the sports bean monogamy is finally broken), and of course the smell of rancid armpits, port-a-loos (or some unfortunate who didn't quite make it in time), mixed with the suffocating pong of tiger balm.
perhaps more motivating than seeing "grandma" and "cotton shorts with walrus butt", pass me at mile 23, were the numerous soldiers in wheelchairs/pushing wheelchairs/running on prosthetics. it really is beyond humbling to run up on a young woman with a picture of her fallen brother, and hero, on the back of her singlet.
disappointingly, the 18 minutes shaved off from my last marathon time was in direct disproportion to sustaining any black toenails at this one. and the only chafing issues came as a result of some armpit stubble that was left one day too long.