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Class notes

How-To with Alberto Benitez, JD ’86 & BA ’83

Professor of clinical law, George Washington University; experienced marathon runner

Illustration by Peter Hoey

Head shot of Alberto Benitez

Alberto Benitez has an unusual item on his bucket list: run a marathon in each of the seven cities in which he’s lived. Thus far, Benitez, 53, has checked off Buffalo, Chicago, Houston and, most recently, Mexico City. That leaves Washington, D.C. (he lives just outside, in Alexandria, Va.), Las Vegas and Buenos Aires.

With all but one exception, the marathons Benitez has already run or plans to run involve long-distance—even international—travel, which brings a whole new level of preparation to an already preparation-heavy endeavor. We asked him for tips on how to travel smart for a marathon.

How to prepare for a marathon miles away from home:

Book a hotel near the start line
You don’t want to fight for a taxi before a 26-mile run. I find the course map on the marathon website and use Google to find a hotel within walking distance.

Pack your must-haves in your carry-on
I pack the clothes I’ll be wearing plus whatever food I’m going to be eating during the run. I wear my sport watch and my running shoes. If your shoes don’t make it there, you’re not running.

Arrive early—but not too early
I like to arrive on a Thursday for a Sunday race. That gives me enough time to acclimate to the atmosphere and get over any jet lag, if that’s an issue, but not so much time that I get antsy.

Find an Italian restaurant nearby
I do the classic carbo load the day before the race: pasta, bread, more pasta and more bread. Every city has an Italian restaurant; use the Web to find one near your hotel.

See the sights
Don’t get so caught up in the race that you forget to enjoy yourself. I like to check out the sights both before and after the race—just not the day before, or your feet will never forgive you.