Potomac River Half Marathon Race Report – By Kent Lassman

By | November 16, 2015

11-15-2015 9-33-06 PM

Today (Sunday) I ran the Potomac River Half Marathon along the towpath of the C&O Canal.  We started at Carderock and ran east toward Washington before turning around to do an out-and-back course.  There were three aid stations and the course was extremely fast.  There was a marathon and a half marathon running simultaneously and start times of 7.00, 8.00 and 9.00 a.m. so runners were all over the 6.5 mile course.  I heard people talking before the start and I guess the course/race is certified for BQ though I don’t really know what makes a BQ course and what doesn’t, this one has to be a good choice if you are on the bubble because it is so flat.

I ran as the guide for Joe Aukward a paraolympian and local runner.  He is training for the 2016 Boston Marathon.  We set out running at his goal pace right around 9:00 min/miles and held fairly steady until mile eight when he started to lose steam.  He was responsible for pace and I did the navigation.  Most of the way we ran with a tether — about 14 inches long — and several times he took my elbow for about :30 or so at a time.  We finished in 2:08 and although he was the first disabled athlete to cross, I don’t know where we finished in the field.  The race very low key and there was absolutely no tension as people passed.  There were a lot of smiles on the course.  It had the vibe that I’ve often heard about events from 15, 20 and 30 years ago or from ultra races of a decade ago.  It was calm — just a bunch of people out for a supported run and there were some cones out to mark the turn.  Bonus: There was a woman making pancakes at the finish line for the runners.

Later this week I’ll get something on the blog at https://radicalimmersion.wordpress.com/ to cover what I learned as a guide, Joe’s striking situational awareness, and the major mistake I made about ten yards from the finish.  Also, when you run with someone who is disabled on an out-and-back course, nearly everyone you approach on the trail gives you the smile and head nod of familiarity.  I saw two people all morning who I know — the rest, hundreds of people, got a confused half smile from me as I tried to figure out if they were someone I know or someone sending good energy our way.