The Marine Corp Semper 5ive. In 2016, the Marine Corp ceased the 5K and 10K components of the Historic Half and introduced a race that kind of met in the middle – the Semper 5ive. It’s a 5 mile race that starts somewhere around the 8 mile marker for the Historic Half, runs 5 miles through Historic Fredericksburg, Virginia, proceeds up Hospital Hill and shares the same finish line as the half marathon.
This year the Marine Corp introduced a Devil Dog challenge, with participants running both the five miler and the half. These hard-core challengers toed the start line 20-minutes before the official start of the 5 mile race. When it was our turn, it was a pretty low-key start. A couple of announcements about the oldest and youngest runners, the sponsors and then a count down to the start. In fact, the low-key start definitely helped to calm my nerves. There were no corrals so people pretty much started where they were as they walked up to the start line.
Running the Semper 5ive takes you through beautiful neighborhoods. Homeowners along the route come out of their homes, cheered runners on, and gave out water and treats along the way.
My favorite part of the race, was definitely the Wear Blue Mile paying tribute to fallen soldiers.
Unfortunately, a couple miles in we hit Hospital Hill which runs past the Mary Washington Hospital Emergency Room. The elevation of Hospital Hill is the equivalent of climbing a 10-story building so it felt good to know that there was help close by. Conquered the hill, however, after a deceptively flat moment, the route continued to climb over the I-95 overpass. Pretty huge crowds lined the final mile, which was pretty encouraging since resolve started to wane. Closer to the finish line, marines provided much needed encouragement to lift those knees just a little bit higher, make my stride just a little bit faster…definitely the motivation needed to “sprint” across the finish line. A second Marine Corp Semper 5ive in the bag. A beautiful race, great “right on time” crowd support when I needed it the most and medal that made me proud to earn it.
Great race moments – Fantastic crowd support, the Marine Corp runs extremely well-organized events from the expo to the finish line. The race is point-to-point, but there is plenty of free parking less than two blocks from the start line with a return shuttle, after the race.
Not-so-great race moments – With less than 2000 participants in the 5-mile race, there are no corrals so people pretty much start where they are, so faster runners in the back pretty much pushed their way past some of the slower runners.
In this case, I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Semper 5ive 2017? Yes, I did that. Semper 5ive, 2018? I’m there!