Frequently Asked Questions (and a few frequently heard comments), addressed by the Race Director

Is this a good marathon for first-timers?
I’d say so, but it depends on what you want from your first marathon experience. If you want crowds, side shows, entertainment and all the accessories of a megamarathon, you won’t find them here. If you prefer a relaxed run on an uncrowded, certified, well-supported course with attentive volunteers, friendly runners, and a hot meal afterwards, LPRM fills the bill. The 5:45 limit shouldn’t daunt first-timers. Most novices who have put in the training can expect to finish well within the time limit.

Is the race chip-timed?
No. It takes less than 10 seconds for the entire field to cross the start. If you need every available second, there’s room at the front.

Is LPR Marathon a Boston Qualifier?

What is the policy on refunds?
As the website and entry form state, entry fees are non-refundable. However, we do allow transfers of entries up to five (5) days before race day, provided the race has not filled. Notify the race director that you will be transferring your entry and provide the name and contact information for the transferee. The race director will then contact the transferee. If you’re unable to run but able to volunteer at the marathon, we’ll be glad to defer your entry to the following year (or to the LPR 10-Miler).

Unauthorized bib transfers are strictly prohibited. Any runner found to be running, or to have run, with a bib other than their assigned bib, will be disqualified, and the transferer and transferee may be banned from entering future races.

My family is coming with me. Can I buy them tickets to the buffet?
Dining capacity is limited to the number of runners and volunteers, and the race usually fills up. Depending on the number of no-shows, we may be able to accommodate a limited number of supporters per runner for $5 each. Please check with the race director. Anyone is welcome to accompany you in the dining room, however.

Have you considered running the course in reverse…making it a two-loop course of the first part…changing the second half…?
We considered all those things and a lot more, and that’s why the course is what it is.

To elaborate: St. George Island and Lighthouse Road are residential and there are no shoulders, so we want to get you in and out of there early, before residents get their cars on the road to go about their daily business. Running a two-loop course or reversing the course would put you back on those roads later in the day, while traffic is heavier. Two loops of the first part would be scenic, yes, but there’s more to a race course than scenery. It wouldn’t offer much in elevation change, and it would mean six (!) U-turns. In 2010 we had extreme high tides due to the abundant winter precipitation, and a 300-meter section of the course on St. George Island was impassable. We closed off that section and added the difference to the turnaround on Rte 249, and all went well. Luckily, it was low tide at race start because most of the island was impassable by high tide early that afternoon. If these circumstances were to recur and we had high tide at race start, then we’d reverse the course.

The second half of the course is ugly…. boring … there’s heavy traffic…
Ugly? I agree, Rte 249 is not as scenic as the first half of the course, but you could do a lot worse than run past loblolly pines, farms and fields with horses and ponies, rural post offices and mom & pop businesses. Local residents enjoy running on that road. As beautiful as the area is, it’s a challenge to find 26.2 contiguous scenic miles. Heck, even on California’s breathtakingly gorgeous Monterey peninsula, they could only muster 17 miles.

Boring? I think many will agree that if runners were easily bored, we wouldn’t have chosen running as our sport. I honestly can’t think of a time I was bored during a run. If the surroundings aren’t enough to activate your mind, and if you don’t feel like focusing on how to get to the finish line as quickly as possible, you could sing, play alphabet games, or practice foreign languages by identifying sights in different languages - cheval… ufficio mofeta – corre!

Heavy traffic? I’ve only heard this comment from a couple people, but I’ll address it. It depends on what you’re used to. The shoulders are 12 feet wide on Rte 249, so most runners who train there are aware of traffic but unfazed by it. Many of us run on much busier Rte 235, and even at rush hour it’s not frazzling. If you’re really bothered by traffic, run along the edge of the woods. By most comparisons, Rte 249 traffic is light.

My GPS says…”
Would that it were that simple to measure a course for certification - strap on a GPS, make a mark and call it the start, and keep running until the GPS reads 26.2 miles, then mark that point and call it the finish. Or better yet, let someone else wear the GPS and do the running. If you’d like to measure a course for certification, you’ll have to buy or borrow a Jones/Oerth counter (I spent $80 in 2004), download the 87-page USATF course measurement manual and study it, bicycle the course a minimum of four times, and spend hours crunching numbers, mapping, and filling out forms. If there’s no certified 300-meter calibration course conveniently located, you’ll have to lay one out and get it certified (essentially the same procedure as certifying a race course), and use it to calibrate your bicycle at the beginning and end of each measuring session.

USATF does not allow course measurement by GPS for course certification, and for excellent reasons. There’s an article that explains it beautifully, and it should be mandatory reading for anyone who has ever challenged a USATF certified course with a GPS reading. Here’s the link:

Have you considered adding a half-marathon?
No, because the field is limited to 200, so it wouldn’t be much of a competition with only 100 people running each distance. If you’d like to run a shorter distance, join us for the Lower Potomac River 10-Mile Run on the second Sunday in October. The course covers most of the marathon’s first half, and is flat, fast, and scenic.

Why was the relay eliminated?
The relay was added as an afterthought at the inaugural marathon in 2005 because the marathon did not fill up. As the race grew in popularity, we were turning away marathoners to accommodate relay runners. This was unfair, since the race was conceived for marathoners.

Why don’t you allow more time for slower runners?
Our marathon is an all-volunteer effort. Those who organize club races know the effort involved in securing sufficient volunteers to put on a successful event. We are very grateful to our volunteers, who dedicate long hours in any kind of weather to support our runners, and we want their experience to be pleasant. We don’t want to keep them on the course any longer than necessary. For runners who have trained for the distance, 5:45 is a reasonable finishing time.

I can’t finish in 5:45. Can I start early?
No. The race starts at 0715, when there is sufficient light to run safely. We don’t allow unsupported runners on the course for safety reasons.

Can I walk the marathon?
Certainly, if you can maintain pace to make the first cutoff point (just over a 13-minute mile) and finish in the allotted time.

The website and entry form state that portable listening devices are not allowed. Is this just a suggestion?
The prohibitions stated on the website and entry form are rules, not suggestions, and they apply to everyone in the race. Violation of the rules results in disqualification.

I have a special race drink. Can I plant it along the course or have someone follow me by car and hand it to me?
You can carry your special drink with you, or you can check it in at the Special Needs desk on race morning. All special items will be placed at the Cedar Cove Marina aid station (Mile ~14.6). Any unclaimed items will be moved across the road to the Mile ~23 aid station. We discourage spectators from cruising along the course in their vehicles to follow their runners. This creates a hazard for runners as well as for other motorists.

Where are the portable toilets located?
There’s a pair of them at the parking lot on the mainland side of the bridge, along the fence by the road, on your left hand side as you’re running south. They’re permanently located behind an enclosure, and you’ll pass them at Mile ~.8 outbound, and again just after Mile 8. The next one is at the Cedar Cove Marina aid station, Mile ~14.6. The last is at the corner of Drayden Road, at the aid station in front of the firehouse, Mile ~21.7. There may be one at the end of Lighthouse Road (Mile ~10.5) since there’s been construction going on. If you must cross the road to use one of these toilets, please use caution as there are no road closures. If you must relieve yourself in nature, please be discreet and stay off people’s yards. There are plenty of wooded areas on the course.

Where are the water/aid stations located?
Approximately every two miles. Except on St. George Island and the corner of Lighthouse Road and Rte 249, these stations are not equipped to serve runners on both sides of the road. Please do not cross the road to access an aid station, or signal a volunteer to cross the road to give you water/drink. If weather conditions dictate, we’ll set up supplementary water stations, self-serve if necessary.

There’s only one aid station in the first eight miles…”
Yes, but clever us! We situated it so runners pass it three times, eliminating the need for more volunteers.

Where are good spectator spots?
There are several parking areas along the course where you can watch from, such as the bridge to St. George Island (Mile ~.6 and ~8), Valley Lee Post Office (Mile ~16), Happyland Road (Mile ~20) and Valley Lee Fire Department (Mile ~22). Please do not park on the shoulders, as that is where the runners will be, and please do not pull over at aid stations. You can also watch the runners from the side gate (where they exited) of the Harry Lundeberg School campus as they return from St. George Island and head north (Mile ~8.6).

My friend who didn’t register for the race wants to run with me. Is that okay?
Since the course is open, we cannot prohibit people not involved with the race from running or cycling on the course. However, if we note that a runner is receiving assistance from what is known in running parlance as a Sherpa, i.e. an unregistered runner/cyclist accompanying a registered runner for the purpose of pacing, providing food/hydration, keeping them from getting lost, etc., we reserve the right to remove the unregistered runner/cyclist from the course and declare the registered runner ineligible for an award. If runners are unable to run a marathon unassisted, we suggest they treat their Sherpas/squires/ladies-in-waiting/coaches to a race entry.

We have no problem with an unregistered runner running alongside you for the purpose of companionship for part of the course, as long as that runner peels off well before approaching the finish line (i.e. before the finish line crew would be able to read their bib number if they were wearing one).

I don’t want to get a hotel room. Can I park overnight and sleep in my car at the Harry Lundeberg School?

No. The Harry Lundeberg School / Paul Hall Center has been our most gracious host since 2005, and is a secure facility. If you must spend the night in your car, please park elsewhere.

Is there a minimum age requirement for running the marathon?
We don’t recommend that anyone under 16 run a marathon, however, if a runner’s coach or parents think he/she is properly trained for the distance, we will allow that runner to compete. Runners under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian sign the waiver on the entry form.