Spectating Success: RnR USA Marathon Spectating Report

by - Monday, March 19, 2012

Saturday I was so thrilled to spectate the Rock N Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon in DC.

Not only was it a chance for me to bust out the world's best marathon sign:

you run better than metro sign
You Run Better Than Metro

But it was also my good friend Emily's first marathon ever, and I was thrilled to cheer for her, my friend Jason, and the million other people I knew that were running the race.

Weeks ago, I had put together a pretty intense spectating plan that let me see all my friends twice in the first 13.1 miles and three times in the last 13.1 miles.

My friends Zach and Emily made up the rest of my cheering squad (and all the pictures in those post are courtesy of Zach).

Me and Emily waiting for the metro

(I know this post could get confusing with two Emilys so from here on out Emily C. is the Emily who ran the race and Emily Y. is the Emily who spectated.)

Zach, Emily Y. and I met at at our first cheer point just past mile five a little after 8 a.m. At this point it was just us and a few other spectators, but it wasn't long before we saw the lead car come through followed by the front runners.


Not far behind the elites was my friend Dan, who is wicked, wicked fast. (To give you an idea of his speediness, he finished the half in 1:22, and had a really off day.)


After Dan passed, I knew we had a while to wait for the rest of my friends who were seeded in corrals farther back.

While we waited, I was busy screaming my head off for the rest of the runners and soaking in their reactions to my sign.


It was a fan favorite at MCM last year, and the runners seemed to love it at this race too.

Soon enough, tons of my friends were passing by.

Emily spotted me first (OMG that's three Emilys in this post!)


Followed by Tina, Theodora and Megan.

Then my friends Hannah and Meredith.


Then Jason.

Still no sign of Emily C.

I was signed up for text updates for Emily C. and I was getting nervous that with all the people I would miss her.

I was scanning the crowd her when Ashley screamed my name and cruised by looking awesome.


And who was behind her?

Emily C. looking fantastic! She cut through all the people, gave me a sweaty hug and took off.

And with that our merry band of spectators packed up and headed to Metro to cheer point #2 at mile 10.5.

There were fewer spectators here and the runners had thinned out a bit so it was much easier to pick people out.

It was here that my coworker Darryl spotted me and not long after that I heard someone yell, "Jess, I love your blog!"

I wish I would have seen who it was! Mystery runner, please leave me a comment so I can say a proper thank you! I am so flattered!!!

Emily C. and Jason were still looking great at this point. They were in high spirits and staying on pace.



Cheer point #3 was near mile 16. It was also the first point on the course where we handed Emily C. and Jason bottles of water as they ran by. It was a scorcher out yesterday and the heat was getting to a lot of runners.


I couldn't believe how much Emily C. was still smiling. Every time she ran past us she had a huge smile on her face.


The only time I saw that smile waver was after mile 19 when she told me she didn't feel like she had anything left.

I ran along side her for a bit giving her the best pep talk I could. I told her this was the final push, that she could do it. Stay strong and just push through.

The faster you finish, the sooner you can have a beer

After that I left her and headed to the finish line to wait.

And wait...and wait...

We got the finish line not long after I got the text saying Emily C. was at mile 20. I knew we had a while to go, but as time ticked by I was getting more and more anxious. Emily's goal was to break 4 hours, and I knew she had it in her to do it.

She was on pace for it when she hit mile 20, but I know how brutal those last six miles can be.


When I saw her coming around the final turn, I went bananas and probably scared all the people spectating near me. I screamed and yelled and jumped up and down. I was checking the time and realized she was going to break 4 hours. I was so, so happy for her, I started crying.

Finishing strong

Her final finishing time was 3:57:20. How bout that for a debut marathon time!

Not long after Emily C. passed, Jason came trucking up the final hill.


He finished in 4:17, shaving more than 40 minutes off his last marathon time! Go Jason!

As Emily C. said after the race, it's like I was a proud mama bear. And she couldn't be more right.



I am so proud of all of my friends who went out and kicked butt in Saturday's race in the unseasonably warm weather. I know there were tons more people out there that I never saw, including my cousins, and I'm bummed I couldn't see everyone.

I loved every minute of spectating this race. But I am most proud of Emily for going out there and absolutely destroying her first marathon!


I can't wait until we run Marine Corps together in the fall!

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