Hey everyone! Yayo here with a recap of the Quantco Sprint Triathlon! I am a first year triathlete and this was my 4th (and favorite) race of the year so far.
Packet pick up was the Friday before the race at the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) headquarters building from 7:30 am – 7:00 pm. Swim caps, bibs, tattoos and even the timing chips were included, which made for a smooth race day. There were even a few gels and granola bars to grab on the way out. It was really cool to see all of the medals and memorabilia detailing the history of MCM and talk to some of the people who worked there.
The race took place at the Officer Candidates School on the Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, VA on Saturday, August 26 and featured a sprint distance triathlon and 12 K run. It was a little chilly before the start of the race, but the water was warm enough to make it non-wetsuit legal. District Tri was DEEP with 10 athletes competing! Our pre-race warm up consisted of applying race numbers prior to the swim start (note to self: do this the night before) and dancing with the Marine Corp mascots, because you gotta loosen up.
After the national anthem and a quick prayer it was time to race! The half mile swim course was well marked and easy to navigate. Male and female athletes were grouped in waves by their 750 M swim time. It was a little rough swimming with some of the guys and I caught a few elbows, but I held my own and left a few of them in my wake.
The transition area was only a short distance from the swim and bike. It was well spaced out and they provided water inside. It also gave spectators a front row seat to the action and take some great photos and videos.
The scenic 20 K bike course took us all around the base. There was a race crew who went out the day before the race to make sure that any large debris was removed from the course. They even marked all the major potholes, which was a HUGE plus! The course featured a solid mix of hills, straight aways and a massive downhill where people clocked speeds over 35 mph!
The run started out going across a bridge and continued along a gravel trail through the woods. Aside from getting to the top of the bridge, there weren’t any major hills to conquer. The best part of the run for me was seeing my teammates on the other side of the trail! We all shouted and gave each other high-fives which gave me some extra motivation to keep up the pace. The turnaround for the 5K also merged with the the last leg of the 12K. It was great to see all the runners and triathletes give each other that final push through to the finish line together.
Approaching the finish line, you were surrounded by the cheers of spectators on both sides and the post race festival was in full swing. After you picked up your finisher medal, you were given a bag full of water, sports drinks, fruits and other post race snacks. Race sponsors were giving out lots of goodies (hello water bottles!), including a raffle to win an iPad mini and some free Jersey Mike’s subs. There was even some post race grill action and a free beer for the athletes (which, after the medal, is a major factor of my race selection process) Oh, and they were giving out free CASES – not boxes – of Girl Scout cookies. We all went home very happy.
Special shout out to Tazer Tay for completing his first open water swim and Marcus Fitts for placing 2nd in his age group! I also have to shout out the cheer squad for coming out early in the morning to keep everyone motivated. They always bring the best snacks, find the best spots to post up along the course and take the best race photos!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this race. It was very well organized and budget friendly. I enjoyed racing on a Saturday morning and not having to travel too far away from home. After competing on a very flat course, a very hilly course and in a super sprint, Quantico truly offers a challenge for the novice and seasoned athlete alike. The MCM staff and volunteers were located all throughout the course and were very helpful and supportive. The athletes were great (I saw someone stop to help another biker who was having some issues) and the overall energy at the race was high. This was also my first time racing with a large group of teammates! I’d highly recommend this race for the newbie looking to turn it up a notch or the veteran looking for some serious competition – or anyone looking to go FAST!