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Subject: RE: HELP: MARATHON WITH GIRLFRIEND
I'm a little conflicted on this issue, and have some experience with the OP's problem. I've "bandited" parts of three marathons to run with my wife. In the first one (her debut), I specifically emailed the RD to ask if it would be OK. It was a small race, and he said no problem. So I felt cool with that, and I ran the last 7-8 miles with her.
In her second marathon, I ran the whole thing with her. This was a bigger event in a large city. In my (admittedly lame) defence, the only benefit I took from the race organizers was traffic control and closed roads to run on, which I agree I had no right to do. I didn't take any of their food, water, etc as I was packing my own. And I didn't cross the finish line to confuse the results. Was I in the wrong? Sure, but I don't see that as any worse than, say, driving 10 km/h over the speed limit. So if anyone would cast stones, first consider whether you've ever driven 10 over.
In her most recent marathon, I was entered in a shorter race in the same event, and joined her at the half to finish her race. Again, I was carrying my own provisions, so I didn't take anything from the race. Did my presence add to congestion or create a safety hazard? No. I suppose if everyone felt free to do what I did, it could be a problem. But they didn't, and it wasn't, so far as I could tell, anyway.
Anyway, I feel a little bit bad about all this, but not enough to lose any sleep over it.
And to the OP... 26 miles is a long way to jog at a very slow pace. I didn't mind, because I'm accustomed to runnign with my wife at her easy pace, but you might want to get used to this before the race. Also, it's hard to tell how she'll act/react late in the race. Be prepared to be understanding, and either talk to keep her mind off the pain, or shut the hell up because she's too irritated to listen to incessant chatter. Everyone seems to react a little differently to the last few miles of the race, but everyone is uncomfortable and irritable. Expect things to maybe get ugly, and you should be OK.
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