I’m IN!

One of my goals for 2013 is to run a second marathon. I had my sights set on the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) for a few reasons:

– It’s a stone’s throw from where I grew up, and where I still have lots of family and friends.
– The scenic route starts and ends near Arlington Memorial Cemetery, and winds around Washington DC in front of the monuments and the Smithsonian.
– I want to beat Oprah’s time (a fairly impressive 4:29:15) on the same course that she ran.
– I wasn’t sure that I wanted to run CIM again… though I would if I couldn’t get in to MCM.

Since last year’s race sold out in 2 hours 40 minutes, I was anxious about whether I could secure a spot. Registration opened this morning at 12:00 p.m. ET sharp. With the registration page ready and loaded on my browser, I watched as the clock ticked to exactly 9:00 a.m. PT. I hit refresh and was happily shown a registration form on Active.com. I filled out all of the information as quickly as possible, hit submit, and BAM. The first of many error messages popped up on my screen. I frantically kept refreshing the page, only to continue to see the “Error, try again” page.

Eventually, I saw this message, which made me feel slightly better:

MCM 1But after a few attempts, this “automatically re-try” page led me back to the error page I saw earlier. I kept clicking on the registration link, and miraculously, I got to the first form again after about 5-10 minutes. I filled it out, hit submit, and crossed my fingers. It worked! Next, I entered my credit card and billing information. I must have forgotten to cross my fingers this time, because the next screen I saw was yet another error message. AAAACK. I tentatively pressed the “back” button and prayed that the credit card screen would reload, as opposed to the error message. Luckily, it did. I filled out the billing info again, hit submit, and crossed my fingers. I let out a scream of delight when I saw this screen:


As the Marines say: OORAH!

The Gypsy Runner and I high-fived and jumped up and down with glee. We both wanted to make the trip back East to see friends and family, and having this marathon on the calendar was a great reason to make it happen.

Later, I found out just how lucky I was that I only dealt with Active.com for 20 minutes. The MCM Facebook Page was flooded with comments as a lot of people had issues with registration. Some people refreshed their browsers for over 2 hours before registering and others were locked out altogether. MCM dealt with it as best as they could, considering that it was really a problem with Active.com — they acknowledged the situation as soon as they were aware and apologized for what was happening. With the recent Chicago Marathon registration debacle (also on Active.com, BTW), I can’t imagine that anyone would be surprised to encounter registration problems for a big race like MCM.

Anyway, I’m SUPER excited about running MCM in 7 months. Of course, I’ve been scouring their website for information since I registered. Here are some interesting tidbits:

– Most of the course is flat, but there is a significant climb in the first 2 miles. It also ends on an uphill.
– Speaking of the course… there is an unfortunate phallic shape at one point. (Click to see for yourself).
– Forget a regular gun or bullhorn. The race starts with a howitzer cannon!
– Finisher photos will be taken in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial. SWEET.
– If you spend more than $200 at the expo, you get access to the “VIP Porta Potty.” No details about what’s so VIP about the VIP Porta Potty… any guesses?
This video. Keep a tissue handy.


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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12 comments on “I’m IN!
  1. Angela says:

    Seriously, the existing registration process for big popular races like this is out of control. I’m not saying I have a better solution, but there really are limits to what a site like active can deal with & I hope someone comes up with a better way soon. Happy you got in, though!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Angela. You’re totally right – the system is out of control. The RW article that I linked to (about the Chicago Marathon) talks about this and it’s true. I agree with the article — as much as people don’t like lottery systems, I think it’s probably the fairest way to distribute entries.

  2. JS says:

    Looking forward to your visit. Maybe we can all go to cheer for you!

  3. Dominick S. says:

    Whoa, congrats…looks like we will both be training in the summer heat again! As for the penis course…so blatantly obvious, coincidence that it starts around the Washington Monument? I think not. There is another blogger I follow that got in… The Sassy Swan…check her page out.

    • Jen says:

      Hahaha, I totally overlooked the Washington Monument part (don’t know how I missed that association!). Thanks for letting me about the Sassy Swan – I’ll have to check out her blog.

  4. Amy says:

    What a nightmare. Active.com needs to get their shit together. But congratulations on getting in! I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race.

    Brooks always does a VIP potty for the RnR races…they are the trailer type ones (running water, flushing toilets) instead of the stand alone ones. You won’t have to wait in as long in line, they are presumably cleaner, and you’ll get to wash your hands in a real sink. I’ve never spent enough to qualify, but it really is tempting!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for solving the VIP potty mystery! I doubt that I’ll spend $200 at the expo, unfortunately. Someone should set up a business where they set up VIP porta potties at races for $5/use. They’d make a small fortune!

  5. BT says:

    Yay! Congrats!

  6. Yay!! How exciting!! I have never heard of a VIP potty but I really think I might pay to use one if it flushed!

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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