Here’s what you need to know about the 44th Marine Corps Marathon

The 44th annual Marine Corps Marathon is quickly approaching the District, and while much remains the same from previous years, there are some changes to keep an eye on.

This year’s marathon will be held Oct. 27, and will include an ultramarathon course for the first time in the event’s history.

What is the Marine Corps Marathon?

The Marine Corps Marathon, commonly known as “The People’s Marathon,” is an annual event dating back to 1976.

Founded in the wake of the Vietnam War by Marine Col. Jim Fowler, the marathon was designed to highlight the values and discipline of the Marine Corps and bolster community interaction with veterans and active service members.

Every year, around 30,000 runners take to the streets of D.C. and Arlington, Virginia, to participate in the marathon. Unlike a lot of larger marathons, there are no cash prizes — the race is meant to showcase each runner’s commitment to training and dedication to completing the run.

Where is the marathon held?

The starting line is on Route 110, between the Pentagon and Arlington Memorial Drive.

The course runs through D.C., into the Tidal Basin, along the Potomac, through Georgetown into Arlington, and finishes at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

The length of the course and the path it takes means that road closures are pretty extensive on race day.

When and where will there be road closures?

Roads begin to close at 3:30 a.m. on the morning of the race. All routes will reopen by 5 p.m. A detailed list of when roads will reopen can be found on the MCM website.

In addition U.S. Capitol Police announced that the following streets on the U.S. Capitol grounds will be closed beginning around 6 a.m. Sunday:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW between First and Third Streets NW
  • First Street NW between Constitution Avenue NW and Peace Circle
  • First Street SW between Garfield Circle and First Street SW
  • Maryland Avenue SW between First and Third streets SW

D.C. police will also close Third Street NW/SW between Constitution and Independence avenues.

Below is a full map of the projected race route.

Marine Corps Marathon Map

What distances are featured in the marathon?

As in previous years, there will be a full marathon and a 10K. For the first time in the history of the Marine Corps Marathon, there will be an ultramarathon course, which is 50K.

The Gauntlets

The gauntlets are mile markers that participants must reach before a designated time, or risk failing the race and not being considered an official finisher. Keeping up a pace of 14 minutes per mile will keep runners from being disqualified at each of the gauntlets.

  • D.C. Gauntlet: The first challenge is to reach mile marker 17 by 12:33 p.m. After that, runners will be diverted from the official course at Independence Avenue to 14th Street and thus will not have run the full 26.2 miles.
  • Beat the Bridge: After beating the first gauntlet, runners will have to keep up the pace to get across the 14th Street bridge at mile 20. After 1:15 p.m., the bridge will reopen to traffic and all runners caught on the wrong side of it will be taken by bus to the MCM Finish Festival in Rosslyn, Virginia.
  • Crystal City Gauntlet: Runners must reach Crystal City at mile 22 before 1:49 p.m. or once again risk being disqualified.

Where can I see my results?

Alright, you’ve made it through the three gauntlets and finished strong. Congratulations on completing the Marine Corps Marathon! You can check your results on the MCM website once they become available.

How can I register for next year’s marathon?

There are a limited number of spots for participants and the race is wildly popular. Reservations tend to fill up quickly.

Registration for next year’s marathon will begin in March. Registration is open to active service members. There is a lottery system used to fill all remaining spots. There is no fee for signing up for the lottery.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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