The Blerch a personification of that little voice in your head that says you shouldn’t go to the gym or go for a run, but instead stay home, lay on the couch, and watch the Hallmark Channel, QVC or some other equally stupid shit. The Blerch is the creation of Matthew Inman creator of the webcomic “The Oatmeal.” Inman created a comic about why he runs that spoke to runners, and he decided to start a race themed around running from the Blerch. I’d read about the race and was somewhat interested but when Thierry of “Jerry and Theirry” fame mentioned it at the White Continent Marathon I started asking questions and officially put it on my bucket list. This year I found time in my schedule and needed Washington for the 3rd trip through the states, so I was in. Add to it that there was a potential double opportunity with the Archangel marathon in Alaska and I was doubling down.
Due to delays into and out of Dallas I didn’t arrive to SeaTac Airport until 2am. By the time I had a rental car and got to the neighborhood my friends were staying it was 3am. I napped in the car for a couple hours and met up to rideshare to the start of the race. Eric, a friend from Southern California and I would be doing the marathon. It was his 50th marathon and 41st birthday as well. Deb, a Seattle local, and Lisa would be doing the half, while her husband Shannon would be cheering on.
Eric and I started the marathon to the announcer flinging marshmallows and chips into the crowd. Note: If you’re at all squeamish about food waste this race is not for you. Almost immediately we, meaning EVERY SINGLE MARATHONER, turned the wrong direction and found ourselves doubling back, an inauspicious beginning to say the least. After the false start we had two short out and backs in which I got an opportunity to chat with Thierry, who was again doing a marathon with his dad, and another runner named Esther, mother to two West Point cadets, and bad ass chica. It also gave me an opportunity to see a few other friends (Washington fixtures Super Sabrina, Dan Bucci, and Rick “Roadkill” Haase) as well as the birthday boy, Eric.
The aid stations were stocked well early on, but as time wore on they were getting low on cups and water, enough so that I found myself carrying my own personal cup through the last few aid stations. Oddly there was plenty of cake at the aid stations. Yeah, so there’s cake at the aid stations. That’s a thing at the Blerch.
Aside: To me, the point of the Blerch is that he has shitty ideas, like eating cake and sitting down. The aid stations with sofas and cake are cute, but it would seem to me that the point of the cake and sofas at the aid stations is to not partake. Don’t give in to the Blerch, but people seem to want to take their pictures eating cake and sacking out of the sofa. Its like Victoria Secret I get it, but I don’t really get it, you know?
Anyway there was WAY too much cake, and WAY too little thought put into hydration (several aid stations ran low on cups and water) which is super weird in my opinion. Anyway we turned around at 15ish and came back to the start. I started to get bored by around 12 so when I found Eric and Deb at around mile 23 we all just walked in the last 5k together chatting about the race.
It seems an hour and a half later when the half marathon started everyone turned the wrong direction as well. This happened not once, but twice. Shit happens, but dude, don’t step on the same rock twice. For pity’s sake learn your damn lesson. Afterwards there was a burrit-dough station where you could put grilled donuts into tortillas with all sorts of candy condiments, ranch dressing, bacon, buffalo sauce, etc. Uh gross. Remember the bit about food waste? There was also oodles of merch on sale. I picked up a couple of cute shirts (my favorite is a polar bear snorkeling in a coffee mug), but for the most part this just checked a box for Washington.
All in all the race was okay, but I don’t know that I need to repeat it, or that I would necessarily recommend to anyone else. I’d give it a C+.