The National Marathon was run from 2006 through 2010, before becoming the Rock ‘N’ Roll USA Marathon in 2011.  The inaugural marathon had a qualifying time of 4:30 which meant a lot of people weren’t able to run it.

Five and eight years after the fact, I’ve prepared a throwback recap for the 2006 and 2009 National Marathons.  Sit back and join me, as I tell about running dead last in the 2006 race, and stripping down at the halfway point in the 2009 race…

The race started and finished at RFK Stadium, and the first year it ran into Prince Georges County, MD.  It was  a hilly course that I will never forget.  I assume the race organizers got enough complaints that they changed the course the next year so it stayed in DC proper.

Bill and I ran the Inaugural National Marathon in 2006 with our friend Bob.  Several of the Cruisers ran the half marathon, but Bill, Bob, and I were the only ones to run the full marathon.


2006 National Marathon shirt

When the race started, Bill took off to run his own race, but Bob and I decided to hang with our half-marathoner Cruiser friends Jerome, Chuck, and Terri and stay with them until the races split off around the twelve mile mark.  Less than a mile into the race we passed two porta-potties and since Terri had to go, we decided to stay together and stopped with her.  We stopped as a group and waited and waited for the people inside to come out.  Finally we were able to use it and and headed off…  BEHIND the juggler and ambulance, and barely in front of the street sweeper!  We were so embarrassed to be DEAD LAST that Terri and Jerome shouted over and over to all of the spectators, “We had to pee!”

We quickly gained ground on the slower runners now in front of us and around mile six we saw Miles waiting for us.  He was sure that he had missed us when we didn’t run by at our expected time.  He was happy to find us and jumped onto the course as a bandit (shhhh don’t tell anyone) and ran twenty miles with us.  Around mile twelve, the Cruisers running the half split to the left to finish their race as we were sent to the right into the horrible hills of PG County, MD!

Miles, Bob, and I took it easy and talked the whole time.  Miles told some of his infamous far-fetched stories to entertain us, and help make the miles go by faster.  We chose to walk up some of the steep uphills, because, yes, they were that bad.  At some point Bob showed me how I could fold my nylon vest up into a tiny square and slip it into the back zippered pouch, and then fasten it around my waist.  I’d always wondered what that belt inside the pocket was for!


Bob, Deb, and Miles

Miles peeled off just before the finish line and Bob and I finished in 4:52:20 (11:09 pace).  Bill had finished in 3:53:50 and had to wait an hour for me.  When I finished he was freezing cold, and I can’t blame him for wanting to leave immediately!  Our friend Ed was also at the finish line cheering us in.  He hadn’t trained very well, but still ran a BQ!

Local distance-running star Michael Wardian won the inaugural 2006 race with a time of 2:30:55, beating 1208 other finishers.  Mike went on to own the race winning it in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012; and finishing second in 2009 and 2013.

Bill and I returned in 2009 with our Cruiser friends Chuck, Carolyn, and Beth.  We got there bright and early at 5:50 AM and parked along the Anacostia River at RFK to wait for the start of the fourth annual National Marathon. We were able to park right beside the halfway point in the course.


Bill and Deb, eager to race


Cruisers Chuck, Carolyn, and Beth

We ran past the Capitol and the Russell Senate Office Building and I recognized several United States senators standing outside cheering us on.  The photographer caught Bill as he ran down Constitution Avenue past the Capitol.



We had overdressed for the race, and by the time we got to mile 13 and passed by my SUV, Beth and I got the great idea to change clothes.  We ran over and stripped down right there in the parking lot and changed into shorts and short sleeved shirts.  Two open doors provided “pretty good” coverage for changing clothes.  After a quick change we were back on the race course feeling much better!

We all stuck pretty close together and I finished in 4:30:00 (10:18 minute/mile pace).  I think this is the race that we dubbed ourselves “The Cruisers Racing Team.”


That’s RFK Stadium in the background.  Side note:  I saw Bruce Springsteen there in 1985 for his Born in the U.S.A. tour.  That concrete stadium was swaying!



2009 unisex shirt…



2006 and 2009 race bibs…



2006 and 2009 finishers’ medals…



After Rock ‘N’ Roll took over the race, we decided that we wanted to run it so we signed up in 2012.  I was training for it when I hurt my back and had to stop training the month before the race.  Bill and Beth ran it, and I sadly slept in…


  • Questions:
  • What’s the hilliest race you’ve run?
  • Have you run a Rock ‘N’ Roll race?
  • Who’s racing this weekend?