The Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Just Do It!

This past Sunday, women from across the country gathered in Washington DC to show off their strength, perseverance, determination, and most importantly their ability to have a good time! The Nike Women’s Half Marathon took place at 7am on Sunday, April 27th and I was one of the many BC Collegiettes lucky enough to participate. While race admission is based off a lottery system, any college student (with a valid college ID) can bypass the lottery, guaranteeing them a spot at the start line from the very moment they click the “sign up” button.

I headed down to DC on Friday, wanting to turn the race into a weekend getaway. On Friday night, my family and I had dinner at a DC institution (or so we were told) called Old Ebbitt Grill. The restaurant, located right near the White House, was hopping on a Friday night. Businessmen were having what looked like important business meetings over dinner and tourists were enjoying the rich history of the place. Everything was mahogany and leather, and stuffed animal heads hung prominently above the bar. It was a great meal and definitely made me feel like I was experiencing an important part of political history.

The bar at Old Ebbitt Grill. Notice the animal heads?

On Saturday, I made my way to the runner’s expo, located in Georgetown. After picking up my bib, timing bracelet, t-shirt, and swag bag, I decided to check out the Nike store. Good thing I did as I came across a mural featuring the names of every single person running the race – 15,000 names in total and as the race emcee said, “Lots of women and a few good men.”

BC runner, Katie Tedesco, poses with her name at the Nike Georgetown store.

My family and I spent the rest of Saturday walking around the National Mall, taking in the sites and enjoying the beautiful weather. We saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and the White House. By the time 6pm rolled around, it was time to carbo-load. We enjoyed a delicious Italian meal at Acqua Al 2 in the Capital Hill area. It was an authentic experience as the restaurant has locations a location in Firenze, too! I called it a night after dinner, hoping to get a good night’s sleep before waking up at the crack of dawn for the big event.

Runners could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. It hit seventy degrees the day before the race – the perfect temperature for walking around DC and seeing all of the monuments and historical sites. On race day, it was sunny and cool, which is any runner’s dream for a 13.1 mile race. We lined up in our corrals promptly at 6:45am (yes, I know, crazy early, but runner’s are crazy people!), and waited for those famous words to be said: “Runners take your mark, get set, GO!” I was in the first corral and was lucky enough to be standing right next to Boston native and rockstar runner Shalane Flanagan. This world champion runner was all the motivation I needed to start the race.

The fabulous Shalane Flanagan.

After an hour and forty-three minutes of running, I crossed the finish line. While the only thing on my mind was WHERE’S THE WATER!?!, I was quickly distracted upon seeing ROTC men in suits holding silver platters stacked with Tiffany’s boxes. Was this a dream? I hobbled over and was handed one of the blue boxes, tied up perfectly with the signature satin, white bow. It was too perfect to open, but I had to see what was inside. I opened the box to find my finisher’s pendant – a custom, Tiffany’s necklace featuring the famous Nike swoosh.

Not the worst way to finish a race.

As I mentioned earlier, there were many BC girls who participated in the race (and who loved the experience as much as I did!). I asked two senior BC runners, Charlotte Parish and Katie Tedesco, what their favorite parts of the weekend were.

Charlotte Parish, a senior at BC, loved every second of the race. She explains, “I’d say my favorite part of this race was doing it with so many other women. It made the event even more special because the signs were really fun and had specific, female humor like, ‘You run faster than cheap mascara.’”

Parish also found it incredibly inspiring to run past all of the monuments. She says, “It’s pretty incredible to look at the monuments and think about all the people who have been influential on our country’s history.”

My own bib and finisher's pendant.

Katie Tedesco was more than excited to finish the race, especially since she had been really sick the days leading up to the race. She still wasn’t feeling her best on race day, but she says, “The whole event made me feel so empowered and awesome that it didn’t matter that I didn’t feel 100%.”

Tedesco appreciated the feminine touches throughout the course, starting with the spectators and their signs. She says,” I saw a dad with two boys wearing princess dresses cheering for their mom as well as one man with a sign that said something like, ‘Run fast, you’re in my wife’s fart cloud,’ which I thought was funny. She also enjoyed that after mile 11, the Nike team blasted Beyoncé’s “Who Run the World.” And the race wouldn’t have been complete without the Chocolate Station provided by Whole Foods, but as Katie explains, “The chocolate aid station was cute, but like no thank you, I do not want chocolate right now. I need water and the finish line!”

If anyone is considering running a half marathon in the next year, definitely consider the Nike Women’s Half. DC is in an awesome city to run through and the race is held at the perfect time of year. Plus, the 13.1 mile course is breathtakingly beautiful, featuring Cherry trees, river loops, and of course historical monuments. Make an event of the weekend by signing up with some friends – you won’t regret it!


Photo Sources:

Katie Tedesco’s personal photos

Kelsey Damassa’s personal photos