What if the Marine Corps Marathon, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC, and the Cherry Blossom 10 miler all got together one crazy drunk night and had a baby? Well, they did and it’s called the Navy Air Force Half Marathon.
The big appeal of this race was that it’s one of the few that don’t require me to a) take the metro or b) take a cab to get to the start and I think for the most part it was a local crowd lacking in out of towners. I rolled out of bed about an hour before the start and I was in my corral and ready to go by the time the Navy Bell was rung. (Apparently they have a bell and that’s their thing like the Marine Corps has the cannon.) For me, the appeal was a hometown/convenient marathon. Yes, it was really expensive but surprise! I don’t live in an area where convenient and cheap co-exist peacefully (especially if you live a car-free lifestyle) so you gotta make peace with it at some point.
The course wasn’t over-congested, things moved nicely in stark contrast to the cattle rush that is the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Race organizers need to fix their water stop game, but overall it seems like they’re really responsive to runner feedback (they moved the packet pick up location from Nats’ Stadium to the armory this year) so I suspect this race will only get better.
For the price tag, it’s definitely steep (especially if you sign up last minute like I did). Compared to the Nike Half that had a comparable price tag, Nike had a larger field and a lot of extra “stuff” like a chocolate station on the course, water bottles, post-race freebies, etc. than this one. But Nike’s gone, Nicole, so just get the fuck over it and move on.
Long story short (too late): it’s a solid hometown option if you live in the District. I enjoyed it, liked the course, and I would definitely consider running it next fall.