Not all marathons and running events are run for prize money. Many such events are also organized for the spirit of running. The Marine Corps Marathon, which is run on the last Sunday of October, is one such event. This event commemorates the birthday of the United States Marine Corps and is the fourth largest running event in the United States.
Despite the fact that the Marine Corps Marathon offers no prize money to the winners, this race draws more than 30,000 participants each year.
The popularity of this race is clearly evident by the diversity of participation- ranging from each of the 50 states of USA to more than 50 countries of the world. Owing to its huge popularity, this marathon is also known as ‘The People’s Marathon’.
Participating in this event is a matter pride and honor, not only because of the historical significance of the Marine Corps Marathon but also because it is a great chance to run among the best runners from all over the world. We have compiled all the information about this event that will tell you more about this race, and motivate you to take part in it.
- Brief History of Marine Corps Marathon
- Marine Corps Marathon Map
- Time Limit for the Marine Corps Marathon
- Starting and Finishing Lines for Different MCM Events
- Marine Corps Marathon Registration
- MCM Health & Fitness Expo
- Marine Corps Marathon Finish Festival
- Travel, Parking, and Accommodation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Brief History of Marine Corps Marathon
The founder of Marine Corps Marathon, Colonel James L. Fowler, had the idea of organizing this event in October 1975, as an attempt to promote goodwill and harmony between the Marine Corps and the Army after the Vietnam war. It was also seen as a great way to raise funds for injured marines.
The first Marine Corps Marathon was run on 7th November 1976 with 1175 participants. The course of this race was through northern Virginia and ended at the Marine Corps War Memorial. Kenneth Moore was the fastest finisher of this race, and he was awarded a trophy for the same.
In the following year, the course was altered a bit to make it more scenic, and it passed through Washington D.C. The 1977 edition of this race started in Arlington, Virginia and included many landmarks in Washington D.C., and finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The second edition had a participation of 2655, which was more than double of the previous year’s turnout.
Over the years, the Marine Corps Marathon has gained tremendous popularity and included many formats of racing, for example, the MCM10K, MCM Kids Run, and MCM Forward.
The MCM10K starts at the National Mall and finishes at Iwo Jima Monument; the MCM Kids Run is a 1-mile race for kids that is held a day before the full marathon; and the MCM Forward is a 26.2-mile race that is held in satellite format, simultaneously with the Marine Corps Marathon.
Marine Corps Marathon 2018: Course Map and Route
The course of this event has undergone slight changes since its inception in 1976. The race course is certified by USATF and is a Boston Qualifier. Presently, the course starts in Arlington, Virginia at the Route 110, and continues on the Lee Highway towards the George Washington Memorial Parkway via Spout Run.
The portion of the route going through Lee Highway is a slightly uphill run, but the rest of the route till the Parkway is fairly easy.
The Marine Corps Marathon Route then turns towards Georgetown and runners have to cross the Key Bridge and go towards M Street, Wisconsin Avenue and K street. Then, runners pass through the 2.5 mile stretch along Rock Creek Parkway before taking a turn back towards the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Memorial before reaching the half-way mark at Hains Point.
The course gives ample scenic treats to runners as they carry on towards Tidal Basin via the route outside West Potomac River. The runners then reach Independence Avenue before looping back close to National Mall and Second world war memorial and finally turn left at Washington Monument.
They continue running along the National Museum of American History and along the circular stretch looping around the pool next to the U.S. Capitol. The course continues on Jefferson Drive and crosses the checkpoint of 20th mile and then returns to Virginia. The last lap of the course is an uphill terrain that takes the runners to the Marine Corps War Memorial, that is also the finishing line of the Marine Corps Marathon Course.
Marine Corps Half Marathon is held in a different event, typically a few months before the MCM.
This race starts and finishes at Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center, passing through some historic landmarks like Route 1 close to William Street, University of Mary Washington clock tower, Sunken Road, Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery, Kenmore Plantation and Mary Washington Grave and Monument.
The Marine Corps Marathon 10K will start at the National Mall in Washington D.C. and finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial. The course map is given below:
Time Limit for the Marine Corps Marathon
Runners will be timed not only at the start and finish lines, but also at three checkpoints through the Marine Corps Marathon Course.
DC Gauntlet: This checkpoint will be located on the 17th mile of the course, and runners are expected to cross this gauntlet before 12:33 PM. Runners who fail to make it will be diverted from the course.
Beat the Bridge: This checkpoint will be located at the 20th mile marker in the course. The bridge has to be crossed by the runner before 01:15 PM because it will be opened for traffic after this time. Any runner who doesn’t beat the bridge will not be able to continue running on the course.
Crystal City Gauntlet: this checkpoint is located on the 22nd mile of the Marine Corps Marathon Route. Runners who don’t reach this mark by 01:49 PM will be diverted from the course and will not be timed.
Starting and Finishing Lines for Different MCM Events
The Marine Corps Marathon 2018 will start on Route 110, between Arlington Memorial Drive and the Pentagon. The finish line for the marathon will be at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
The Marine Corps Marathon 10K will start at the National Mall in Washington D.C. and finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
The Marine Corps Marathon Kids Run will start and finish in the Pentagon North Parking Lot. This race will be followed by a visit to Camp Miles where games and sporting events will be arranged for the participants.
Marine Corps Marathon Registration
Runners interested to participate in the MCM or the MCM10K race will be required to sign up for the lottery. Runners will have to pay the fees only if they are selected for participation by lottery. This lottery will open in March 2018.
Register for the Marine Corps Marathon and related races Here!
Runners who complete the 17.75K race in the same year get direct entry to the Marine Corps Marathon. This race starts and finishes in Dumfries VA, outside the Montclair Tabernacle Church. The course of this race winds through the beautiful park- Prince William Forest Park.
Another way to ensure a guaranteed entry in the MCM race is to run for a charity associated with the organizers. If you choose to run for a purpose, you would have to register with a charity organization and fulfil their minimum fundraising requirements.
Registration Fee for different MCM events will be:
Marine Corps Marathon Race: $150
MCM10K Race: $55
MCM Kids Run: $8
Race Dates and Timings
MCM Kids Run: 27th October 2018 at 09:11 AM
Marine Corps Marathon Wheelchair and Hand-cycle race: 28th October 2018 at 07:45 AM
Marine Corps Marathon race: 28th October 2018 at 07:55 AM
MCM10K Race: 28th October 2018 at 07:55 AM
MCM Health & Fitness Expo
The Marine Corps Marathon Health & Fitness Expo 2018 will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on 26th October 2018 between 10 AM and 8 PM., and on 27th October 2018 between 8 AM and 6 PM.
The Marine Corps Marathon Expo will showcase the latest and most useful running accessories and training equipment from over 200 international vendors, in addition to stalls selling authentic Marine Corps Marathon Gear. Runners will receive their race packets at the Expo.
Marine Corps Marathon Finish Festival
The grand celebration that awaits the finishers of the MCM10K and MCM races is a great event. It is arranged in Rosslyn, VA, and is marked by live music, lots of food, sponsor displays, various entertainment options and a great vibe. Special massage tents are also available.
Travel, Parking, and Accommodation
Travelling within Virginia and Washington D.C. is very convenient because of excellent public transportation service of the Metro. Visitors can take yellow line to Eisenhower or blue line to Van Dorn, and then avail free shuttle to the Expo.
For the Kids run, visitors should take the yellow or blue line to Pentagon and then avail the shuttle service to reach the race venue.
The green or yellow line to Archives-Navy Memorial Penn Quarter station is ideal for reaching the starting line of the MCM10K race.
Marine Corps Marathon 2018 start line will be accessible by yellow line Pentagon station; and the finish line will be accessible by blue, orange or silver line to Rosslyn station.
In addition, regular and frequent shuttle services will be arranged from Crystal City and Gaylord National Resort to the Marine Corps Marathon start line. Similar services will be available from the finish line to Crystal City and to Gaylord National Resort.
Paid parking for the Expo will be available at the venue and at nearby garages. Free parking will be available for the Marine Corps Marathon. However, no parking will be available for MCM10K.
Accommodation can be made in any of the city hotels, but you should pick any marine corps marathon hotels close to Crystal City so that you will be close to a shuttle service. A limited number of rooms have been reserved for Marine Corps Marathon at Gaylord National Resort, which is also the venue for the Expo.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon date?
A: 28th October 2018.
What is the age requirement for taking part in the MCM?
A: The runner has to be at least 14 years old on race day to be able to take part in the marathon and MCM10K race. The Kids run is for kids between the age of 5 and 12 years.
Is there a qualifying time requirement for participating in the Marine Corps Marathon?
A: No, there is no qualifying time requirement, but it is recommended that runners maintain a pace of 14-minutes per mile.
How many runners can participate in the MCM?
A: This event is limited to 30,000 participants.
From where can I collect my race packet?
A: Race packets will be available for pick-up at the MCM Health & Fitness Expo.
What will be included in the race packet?
A: The race packet will include a printed program of the event, Race bib with attached timing chip, baggage sticker, an MCM patch and a shirt.
What documents should I bring to collect my race packet?
A: You should carry an identity card and a copy of the email confirmation of registration.
Can someone else pick up my race packet on my behalf?
A: Yes, but they should carry a valid identity card. They will be required to fill a form as well.
Are there any other events at the Marine Corps Marathon?
A: Yes, there is a 10K run, a kid’s run and a post-race party on the weekend of MCM.
Can participants use a walking stick or skateboard on the course?
A: No, usage of any wheeled equipment or walking sticks is not allowed.
Will aid stations be arranged on the course?
A: Yes, the Marine Corps Marathon Course has 12 aid stations that provide water and electrolyte fluid.
Will there be a provision for medical aid on the course?
A: Yes, there will be 10 medical units located at different positions on the course.
How is the runner timed in Marine Corps Marathon?
A: The MCM uses the B-tag system for timing each runner. This tag is attached to their race bib.
What makes the Marine Corps Marathon a special event is a noble purpose for which it is organized every year.
Participants don’t receive any cash prize, but they take home a valuable and memorable experience of running such a special race.
Finishers not only receive Marine Corps Marathon medals but also qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Check the complete Boston Marathon Qualifying Times and Races 2018 - Updated!
If you are looking for a race that will be for the pure joy of running, and not for monetary incentives, you should definitely enroll in the upcoming MCM.
Cover image source!