The 36th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) on Sunday is limited to 30,000 participants. Yet registration sold out in record time -- 28 hours, four minutes.
Three first-time MCM runners who trained with (Burke and Reston) gave an overview of their preparation.
Angeline Hannachi of Fairfax (first marathon)
I began running last year in order to further my weight loss goals. Prior to July 2010, I had never run more than a couple miles at a time, and I have always struggled with my weight. Between being a single mother, working full time and going to school part time, my weight had ballooned to 240 by the end of 2009.
On Jan. 1, 2010, I determined that I would lose the weight once and for all. Since then I've shed about 80 pounds. In October 2010 I decided to train for a marathon. I'll attain that goal Sunday at MCM.
I thought training for a marathon would be a great challenge. It turned out to be one of the most life-changing decisions I've ever made, but a good change nonetheless.
I started running to lose weight, now I lose weight to run.
I usually train with my boyfriend Scott. He's doing the Marine Corps Marathon as well, and this will be the first marathon for both of us. I signed up for Potomac River Running's Long Distance Program back in June, but once I met Scott, I just trained with him mostly.
In addition to running, I also do boot camp for strength. I do that and yoga at .
Fitting this all into my busy life has obviously been a challenge in and of itself, but I find that we can always make time for the things that are important to us.
I took time off from school during the summer to train for the marathon because I knew doing both would be overwhelming. I plan to start back in the spring.
My diet has changed drastically. When I first decided to lose weight I went ultra low carb, which has always generally worked for me. When I began long distance running and learned that I actually needed a significant amount of carbohydrates, it was a mental struggle to begin consuming them again.
Overall I just try to eat healthy and avoid junk food and sodas. But I try not to get too extreme with it. I believe everything in moderation is OK.
My strategy for the marathon is to keep running first of all, and to have fun. Some will say to take walking breaks, but I will try to avoid that and just rest a bit at water stops. I plan to sustain my energy levels using Gatorade and gels.
Laura DeFraia-Colee of Reston (first marathon)
I broke my ankle about a year and a half ago, and it took a long time to get back to any kind of physical activity. I decided to start running and cross training. I wanted a goal to focus on and also to know what it was like to run a marathon!
I signed up for the distance training class at so that I had some idea what to do, since this is my first time running this kind of distance.
To train each week, I ran long runs Saturday or Sunday mornings (mileage based on training schedule), three evenings a week of short runs, and I cross trained the other two days.
I had to run late in the evenings or early in the morning. I made sure to make the time, and actually scheduled it in my calendar.
My strategy for the Marine Corps Marathon is to keep it simple -- run each mile at a nice steady pace, keep a positive attitude through all 26.2 miles, and hopefully finish!
Victor Tran of Annandale (second marathon, first MCM)
I started running so I could carry water for my girlfriend and keep her company. She's been running for more than 14 years. I decided to do a marathon for one of my personal annual goals, and thought it would be a good milestone toward running the JFK 50 milers.
To prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon, I trained with my girlfriend on long runs and by myself on the treadmill at home or the gym. I was part of the Potomac Runners distance running program in Reston, but the driving distance kept me from coming back.
I run about four times a week for a total distance of 30 to 40 miles. My long runs are on weekends. I do quick 5Ks or 10Ks at the gym.
My strategy for the Marine Corps Marathon is to maintain a good pace to achieve my 4:15 goal.