Crossing Over

Two in a Row: VETERAN DAY 10KM, WASHINGTON DC, 13 November 2011


One of the marathons we had thought
of running for many years was the New York Marathon. So it was great that we
were able to get entries and plan our trip to the big Apple. The last time we
had visited the USA
as a couple was on our honeymoon in 1994, so it was 17 years later that we made
it back together.


I used my Voyager Miles to upgrade
our flights and routed our holiday through Washington
DC, where we decided to spend the majority of
our 12 days in the USA, as
it is a lot more restful than in New
York. So after running our New York Marathon, we made
our way to Washington DC.



While admitting to being a running
junkie, I was determined to find a race in Washington DC.
The internet is an amazing thing and I found a race in the same week we were in
town! I tried to enter online, but sadly online entries for the Veterans Day
10km were closed and they did not take entries on the day. But there was light
at the end of the tunnel, as entries would be taken the day before the race at
a running store in Pimmit Hills in Virginia.
But where on earth is Pimmit Hills? As always, Google maps saved the day and I
found out it was only 20km away by taxi. Clearly achievable!


So we made the trip and entered the
race. We were issued with our race number and our timing chips – interestingly
enough, they were actually disposable timing chips! We made our way back to Washington DC
by train after a long walk from the running store.



The Veterans Day 10km started in West Potomac
Park, which was a 15-minute
walk from our hotel, so we just walked to the start. No parking issues. The
park was abuzz with excitement, stretching classes were on offer, and of course,
many nervous runners queuing at the portaloos. There were about 2 500 runners
who entered and many were University students from the nearby Georgetown University.


The race was a ‘Veterans’ race to
commemorate war veterans, and not running veterans! Ironically, though, we did
feel old. The pace was very fast, so we decided to go with the flow. The route
was out and back along the Potomac River, which
meant a flat course at the coast. Our Highveld lungs provided us with loads of oxygen
and I ended up doing my PB for 10km (40:52) while Sharon broke 50 minutes for the first time in
a long time.


Afterwards we stayed for the prize-giving
to get an idea of the winning times at such races. It was clear that the men’s
times were ‘slow’ (just over 30min) compared to SA men, while the women’s times
were impressive (33min). Then we made our way back to our hotel past the
various war memorials and the new Martin Luther King Memorial, with a feeling
of achievement. We would recommend to anyone who goes to the New York Marathon to
incorporate the Veterans Day 10km into your journey back.