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Race previews

11 July 2021, 7am

Follow the scenic autumn route

Full colours

Marine Corps Marathon
Sun 31 October 2021

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Recognised for impeccable organisation on a scenic course managed by the US Marines in Arlington, Virginia and the nation's capital, the Marine Corps Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the world – and the largest of all that does not offer prize money.

“The People’s Marathon” has been voted “Best Marathon for Beginners”, “Best Marathon for Charities” and “Best Spectator Event." Hosted annually in the national capital and in nearby Arlington the MCM offers an experience for runners to tour the nation’s most recognisable landmarks while being supported by the men and women of the United States Marine Corps.

The course begins in Arlington near the Pentagon and moves through Rosslyn crossing the Key Bridge into historic Georgetown. The course passes the Kennedy Center, Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and the Lincoln Memorial and follows the scenic Potomac River to the Tidal Basin with views of the Jefferson Memorial. Runners continue on Independence Avenue and will be able to view the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, FDR Memorial along the National Mall and the Korean WWII Memorial and Washington Monument.

The course continues with views of the National Museum of American History and Culture, National Museum of Natural History, the National Art Gallery and the Capitol. On their way back to Arlington runners will be able to view Crystal Drive where there is a lot of energy and colours on display to entertain the runners. From there runners pass the Pentagon again and make their way up to the finish at the US Marine Corps War Memorial. The excitement of completing the race will be celebrated in the post-event Finish Festival in Rosslyn, VA. Essential services, food from several Rosslyn eateries, live music, sponsor displays and exciting giveaways await runners and spectators as they make their way down Mead Street to Metro or their hotel.

The course is on a spectacular scenic route during the colourful time of fall and is enjoyed by both runners and spectators. Public transportation allows spectators to view their runner at many points along the route.

MCM weekend has become a family experience by offering several events which allow the whole family to participate. The MCM10K and MCM50K occur on the same day as the MCM and share part of the same course. The MCM50K is the largest urban ultra in the nation. On Saturday, before the MCM and MCM10K, we offer one of the largest kids events; the MCM Kids Run, a one-mile run with many fun kid-related activities. Prior the MCM day a carb-load feast is offered and a two-day expo precedes the running events.

Many runners choose our race to make a vacation out of it. Visitors come to the city to enjoy the free museums, easy-to-use public transportation and the many historic and chic hotels. Most sites are within walking distance on the Washington DC Mall. There are three airports close to the city. Every year the MCM hosts runners from all 50 states and more than 60 countries.

Back in 1994 talk show host Oprah Winfrey ran her first marathon with the Marines to celebrate her 40th birthday. Wearing bib #40, Winfrey finished the MCM with a famous time of 4:29:15 and started a boom in women’s running.


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