Overall Rating
Overall Rating (115 Reviews)
4.4
(115 Ratings)  (115 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.4
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.9
Recognized for impeccable organization on a scenic course managed by the US Marines in Arlington, VA and the nation’s capital, the Marine Corps Marathon is one of the largest marathons in the US and the world. Known as ‘the best marathon for beginners,’ the MCM is the largest marathon in … MORE
Local Historical Weather (Oct 27):
  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
 
H (°F)  82  67  71  65  61
L (°F)  62  54  53  58  42
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Recent reviews

    dkarp65 FIRST-TIMER '23

    I can't describe the feeling of having a marine put a medal around your neck at the end, taking a pic in front of the Iwo Jima memorial, and running … MORE

    I can’t describe the feeling of having a marine put a medal around your neck at the end, taking a pic in front of the Iwo Jima memorial, and running through Rock Creek Park and past so many amazing national monuments.

    The biggest challenge with this race is the miles around the National Mall, which is well lined with spectators (a plus) who for some reason feel they can dart across the course in front of runners (a major negative). I understand the desire to move around in that area, but I saw too many close calls.

    The uphill mile around mile 20 that takes you into Crystal City is as rough as they say, especially on a warmer and sunnier-than-normal day. Plan accordingly — I have this unfair negative view of that amazing town as all the people there cheered while I suffered.

    A great race overall.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jamia39563 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first experience running the MCM 23. I was so excited, but the race was cut short despite meeting all the cut-off times. It was the next day … MORE

    This was my first experience running the MCM 23. I was so excited, but the race was cut short despite meeting all the cut-off times. It was the next day when I realized why we were diverted. The temperatures were warmer than usual, and there were several medical emergencies. My race was 2. 25 miles short, but we still received our medals. I hope to participate in this event again, in the near future.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    roger.teel REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Race was cut short for some running due to heat. I was not affected and completed my race in a respectable time. It was humid and not quite as hot … MORE

    Race was cut short for some running due to heat. I was not affected and completed my race in a respectable time. It was humid and not quite as hot as reported.
    OVERALL – This was my 6th time running this marathon and it is #1 for all marathons.
    Will be back in 2024 to do # 7

    Just a side note: If you choose the host hotel, transport after the race does not exist and you are forced to be on the metro and bus for about 1 hour to get back to the hotel.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    rachelsaak FIRST-TIMER '23

    Very Scenic (it was nice running on the National mall) and there was a lot of energy from spectators, but… there were issues with numerous runners coming to a dead … MORE

    Very Scenic (it was nice running on the National mall) and there was a lot of energy from spectators, but… there were issues with numerous runners coming to a dead stop in front of me to take pictures or hug family members in the middle of the course. To be fair the race organizers don’t have control over the weather, which was unusually hot for an October marathon, but the spectator/runner collision issue was a major reason why I rated this race with one shoe.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    2
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    4
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    3

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    mwpotter5 FIRST-TIMER '23

    My main complaint about this race is that it was really hot. That's something the race director just can't control. It was still very well run and had great course … MORE

    My main complaint about this race is that it was really hot. That’s something the race director just can’t control. It was still very well run and had great course support. I was injured going into this race, so I was taking it easy anyway. I really enjoyed getting to see DC and had many great photo opportunities. I really wish it didn’t end on that big hill though. I was already struggling enough!
    As always, the race shirt was not the best design (still better than 2018!) and while the race medal was really cool because it opened, I did not like the color. I’m glad I did this race, though and it’s a good one for your Marathon Bucket List.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    rplace80 FIRST-TIMER '23

    The race itself runs like a well oiled machine. Plenty of information about everything you could possibly want to know is on the website. Accessing the start via the metro … MORE

    The race itself runs like a well oiled machine. Plenty of information about everything you could possibly want to know is on the website. Accessing the start via the metro is super easy. The finish at the Marine Corps Monument is awesome great photo ops. There are many great views along the course including all the DC monuments and other highlights. The crowd support was phenomenal. They cheered so loud in many points I could not hear my music in my earbuds! This is a race that is worth it for the experience, seeing all the marines serving along the course and the blue mile is very moving. This race is nick named the People’s marathon and it lives up to that name. There were 30k runners participating in the 10k, marathon, and 50k. If you cannot deal with the crowds this is not a race for you. To give you an idea it was past mile 18 before I felt like I could run without fear of running into someone or being run into. Even after that I was still dodging people quite regularly. The vast amount of people was the main thing I did not like about the race. I believe that everything was there to support and accommodate that many people, but racing with that many people is not my preference. Also, I was not mentally prepared for the walk from the finish line to the finish area. After getting my medal I sat by the monument and waited about 25 minutes for my friend to finish the soldiers are quite insistent about moving through the funnel so I began the trek collecting my food box, and jacket along the way. It is probably a half mile walk through the chutes to the finish party area. My feet hurt so badly by then that walking that extra bit seemed so unbearable. Leaving via the metro was also simple but there is nothing like the smell of thousands of marathoners crammed in to the subway… I really felt sorry for the handful of nonrunners who happened to be riding the subway at that time. Overall, I enjoyed my experience and I would recommend this race to anyone, but I will be sticking to smaller races for a while!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    JediTrojan FIRST-TIMER '23

    It's hard to beat running in Washington D.C. I never tire of seeing our nation's capital. The turnout from supporters along the route was truly amazing. The people were loud … MORE

    It’s hard to beat running in Washington D.C. I never tire of seeing our nation’s capital. The turnout from supporters along the route was truly amazing. The people were loud and very encouraging.

    Because of unusually high travel leading up to the MCM, my longest training run leading up to the MCM was only 15 miles the weekend before the race. I wasn’t prepared but I couldn’t miss this race. I abandoned hopes of a PR and just ran for the pure enjoyment of the experience. I’m glad I did!

    The volunteers always had a smile on their faces and were shouting out instructions on what type of liquid they were holding at each station. There were many musical acts lining the race and they always gave me an uplift when I was running past them.

    The sombering part of the race was “The Blue Mile.” This was a one mile stretch dedicated to fallen soldiers. As we ran through this area, people ran with a quiet respect for the enormity of what we were seeing. It was truly moving and I’ll remember it forever.

    The MCM is a great marathon and I understand why it’s so popular. I’m sure I’ll run it again soon.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
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    splitter REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Third time running this, but only second time on the course (2020 virtual for COVID). Both times have been unseasonably warm but this time seemed worse for the medical crew … MORE

    Third time running this, but only second time on the course (2020 virtual for COVID). Both times have been unseasonably warm but this time seemed worse for the medical crew causing the gauntlets to be moved up. Thankfully I made it through all of them. Carrying all my water and electrolytes was smart. The only water I got was after mile 20 from the unmanned big blue water bulls so I could refill my electrolytes bottle. Chugging what was left in the first bottle made me feel better but I had to get a spectator to open my new electrolyte packet.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
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    4
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    4

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    kjbarr17 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Late October in the DMV area is always a coin flip for weather. Expo to the convention center requires buses from the metro station to get to the Gaylord. Otherwise … MORE

    Late October in the DMV area is always a coin flip for weather. Expo to the convention center requires buses from the metro station to get to the Gaylord. Otherwise the actual convention center is easy to get in and out of from the buses.

    The course itself is awesome. Starting at the pentagon and running on the GW Parkway and then going into DC and running on the mall. Really great track overall with finishing up a huge hill towards the Iwo Jima Statue.

    The racer village in Rosslyn is absolute chaos with families trying to meet up. Makes it challenging for bag pickup and getting into the beer tent

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    3
    SCENERY
    5
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    2

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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I love this race, 6 times now. Good course, the folks are great, just people out having a good time. they are back to the good organized group. Had a … MORE

    I love this race, 6 times now. Good course, the folks are great, just people out having a good time. they are back to the good organized group. Had a few helicopters fly over. Easy get around, lots of security… Can’t do better than this. Temps. switched to hot and humid.

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
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    5
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    5
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    jed.christiansen REPEAT RUNNER '23

    The start area was significantly better than before. TONS of porta-johns, lots of space, easy access to UPS trucks for bag drop. The race itself was smooth as always. Because … MORE

    The start area was significantly better than before. TONS of porta-johns, lots of space, easy access to UPS trucks for bag drop. The race itself was smooth as always. Because there isn’t a wave/corral start, the first mile is pretty slow and congested. Impeccable organization as always by the Marines. I should have been able to PR, but 2023 was just a little too hot for that. (A lot of people didn’t even bother wearing stuff to stay warm in the start area… I think it was over 60F at 7am.)

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    nickj4444 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Easy to get to start line via Metro. Lots of race support, food and water breaks. Nice supportive crowds. Fun finish line festival. Only pain in the neck is trekking … MORE

    Easy to get to start line via Metro. Lots of race support, food and water breaks. Nice supportive crowds. Fun finish line festival. Only pain in the neck is trekking to national harbor for packet pickup.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    sohobrad REPEAT RUNNER '23

    For me, the most meaningful part of MCM is the tribute to the US Marines, those serving now, in the past and those who gave their lives for our nation. … MORE

    For me, the most meaningful part of MCM is the tribute to the US Marines, those serving now, in the past and those who gave their lives for our nation. Surprisingly, Washington’s grand monuments are not the highlight of MCM. It is the beautiful green parks and brilliant changing leaves. The Washington Monument serves as a lodestar marking one’s location thru much of the race, but runners don’t get a view of the Jefferson Memorial from the front, runners barely see the Lincoln Memorial don’t go close to the White House. The line of sight toward the Capitol is pretty short. So, save sightseeing for before or after the race. That being said, the course is still beautiful. Doing the hills up front makes the rest of the race feel manageable. The most inspiring part of MCM was the unwavering service from Marines in impeccable order throughout the race serving us, and the Blue Mile which honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    That being said, the logistical lapses were not Marine like. I point them out largely because most are easily avoidable and hard to understand after 48 years. There were long lines outside to get into the Expo, altho not inside. There were choke points at the Runners Village before the race, at the porta potties before the Village (not bad inside!) and, most of all, after the race where it took half an hour to get from the Finish Line to the exit. There were not enough water stations for a normal day, much less a hot one, and the stations were not well organized. Every station was different in terms of length, order of water v Nuun, color of cups for water or Nuun, amount of liquid in cups, length of stops and side of course – one or both. The inconsistency created unnecessary, dangerous confusion and congestion. (Chicago, by comparison, is a model of water station management.)

    Worst of all, handicapped, bike and stroller runners started only 10 mins before other runners. Especially on downhills, hand cyclists were constantly trying to get past other runners in the way. It was hard to understand they would be compromised this way when a number of those competitors were Marines injured in the line of duty.

    There is little organizers can do about the heat other than start the race earlier and, of course, provide better hydration stations! In fact, 2023 was cut off early due to the heat and humidity.

    The above being said, I found little congestion at the Start Line and the course, at my 4+ hour pace, never got overcongested. The photo opportunity at the Mount Suribachi Monument is priceless and the view of Arlington Cemetery deeply moving. Overall, I’d recommend MCM, but would only prioritize it as part of a trip to see DC.

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    3
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    My Media

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    cowboyfan4eva FIRST-TIMER '23

    I was so excited to finally brave running a full marathon and the MCM was the obvious choice. It did not disappoint. I love all #runningwiththemarines races and this was … MORE

    I was so excited to finally brave running a full marathon and the MCM was the obvious choice. It did not disappoint. I love all #runningwiththemarines races and this was no different. The encouragement along the way from service men & women and spectators is like no other. I stayed at a hotel in Clarendon even though I live fairly local, in Gainesville. I was up at 5AM and hopped in my car for the 12 minute ride to the parking garage in Crystal City. Once parked I was on a bus to the runners village within 15 minutes. Got there in time to use the restroom, stretch and just prepare myself for the race. Walked about a 1/4 mile up to my starting corral and awaited the start. Most hills were at the beginning of the race, I felt I had plenty of water & fuel opportunities along the way, and the course was clearly marked and passed so many wonderful sights in DC. The finish was a bit confusing & troublesome to meet up with loved ones but I was so in the moment of what I had just done that it didn’t really matter. Overall awesome experience and I highly recommend this race to anyone trying tone for the first time. And holy cow do we have the most handsome Marines!! 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    pablopelos FIRST-TIMER '23

    Weather was a serious factor, 76 and 90+% humidity as the day progressed. They moved the 12:30 gaunlet up to 12:00 mid-race, and because of that I only got 28.9 … MORE

    Weather was a serious factor, 76 and 90+% humidity as the day progressed. They moved the 12:30 gaunlet up to 12:00 mid-race, and because of that I only got 28.9 miles in, still counts as at least a marathon in my books. Officially I didn’t finish the 50K, but I know what I did. About half of the pacing team fell off pace as the conditions deteriorated and medical got overwhelmed. Still a great race and I will be back for the 50th in 2 years.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    4
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    erin.johnstone REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I love the concept of the race, running with the marines in Washington DC, but there’s far too many logistical issues that will prevent me from running this again. The … MORE

    I love the concept of the race, running with the marines in Washington DC, but there’s far too many logistical issues that will prevent me from running this again.

    The expo was a nightmare. I picked up my race packet on Saturday morning. It was at a large convention center, and yet they still herded us into a line that snaked around hallways and dead ends just to get into the expo. I have run other large marathons like this and have not experienced anything like that.

    Just getting to the starting area is a disaster. I would say most people take the metro, which means you will be packed into a car like sardines, and then herded like cattle shoulder to shoulder with other runners for about 20 minutes until you can finally exit the metro station. Then you have to walk over a mile through security just to get to the runners village. The start is another quarter mile at least away.

    The start is a disaster. Wheelchairs and hand bikes only started 2 minutes before elites, and 5 minutes before the main start. The hills are in the beginning, so runners were passing the bikes, then bikes had to yell at people to move out of the way on the downhill, which was nearly impossible because it was so congested.

    There are no corrals. People were walking within the first mile that started at the front. You need to start this race like it’s a 5k if you don’t want to be stuck in a pattern of stop and go traffic with shoulder to shoulder runners. This is not a race you should be expecting a PR in. There needs to be a staggered start and corral accountability for the this race to be successful.

    The water stops were frequent enough, but I’d still carry water. It was very difficult to avoid bumping into other runners while getting water, so you lose a lot of time.

    The pros: it is awesome to be able to run through DC and see the monuments. The blue mile at mile 12 is very moving.

    Issues that will keep me from doing this again:
    -travel to start: I had 6k steps by the time I got to the runners village. I was standing/ walking for 2.5 hours before the race started. If there were shuttles that went directly to the village that would alleviate the problem.
    -mass start: wayyy too congested and no corral accountability. Should give the wheelchairs and bikes more time before the runners.

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    sohobrad Nov 01, 2023 at 7:19am

    Read your review after I posted mine. Surprisingly similar! Your note reminds me of other problems with the water stations. They are two miles apart, for the most part, which… MORE

    Read your review after I posted mine. Surprisingly similar! Your note reminds me of other problems with the water stations. They are two miles apart, for the most part, which is uncomfortable under good conditions, very problematic on hot days, like 2023. And at least one station, I am told ran out of Nuun - on a day when electrolytes were needed most. LESS

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    tomlee FIRST-TIMER '23

    Packet pick up was at National Harbor. This was the location of the Official Race Hotel, and a 20 minute bus shuttle away from the start. Ok location, but awful … MORE

    Packet pick up was at National Harbor. This was the location of the Official Race Hotel, and a 20 minute bus shuttle away from the start. Ok location, but awful for those without cars. The expo was ok to walk around, but I did not feel compelled to buy or demo anything. To be close to the start and walk to the race and avoid the metro stay in Arlington near Richmond Rd. The information about the race start online from the race website and other places is very confusing. For people who are not local, Route 110 is Richmond Highway. The walk to the race start from the Runner’s Village (large parking lot with a few tents) and little to do, will add significant steps to your day. Probably a five minute or ten minute walk. The start was so dense with runners that weaving in and out was not possible for miles! Adding to the chaos of 27,000 runners with NO CORRAL CHECKS were the wheeled chair racers that were very aggressive in their pronouncements to “MAKE A HOLE!” Many people snuck up to the front and did not stay in their color coded corral based upon estimated finish.

    The overall race experience was a good one. The race conditions due to unseasonably warm temperatures was not ideal. Once the sun came out around 11 am, people began to suffer, more than expected. This course is not flat. The hills are not minor if you don’t train with hills. The last .2 miles of this course was a steep up hill that was not forgiving. Water stations were find and I believe that more stations were needed. Yes, wear a hydration vest if you are considering it. The spectator signs were numerous and creative. This year had some “inflation” related and “poorly run government” signs. Crowd support is tremendous and the marines were friendly and supportive. The race shirt looks like a BMX or Motorcross jersey. If you admittedly own any clothing that matches the race shirt, I am afraid of you. The race finisher medal is outstanding and the post-race finisher’s jacket (lightweight material that feels like a surgical gown) is a very nice touch. The race organizers did a good job. I will consider doing the race again. The race atmosphere was good, but not electric. The course is not flat, but scenic and not boring.

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    sohobrad Nov 01, 2023 at 7:25am

    That is funny and apt. The shirt is kinda scary. Truth is I bought a pair of fatigues a year ago that have been waiting for matching shirt. But…the material… MORE

    That is funny and apt. The shirt is kinda scary. Truth is I bought a pair of fatigues a year ago that have been waiting for matching shirt. But…the material in the MCM shirt is so uncomfortable I’ll only wear it once as a throwaway for my next cold weather Marathon - slated just 3 weeks after MCM! LESS

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    I would improve my race by taking different nutrition to improve my speed, stamina, and endurance. I ate one skratch gel at an average of over 1 kilometer. That’s a … MORE

    I would improve my race by taking different nutrition to improve my speed, stamina, and endurance. I ate one skratch gel at an average of over 1 kilometer. That’s a total of 50 gels throughout the 50k race that I ate. I also drank Gatorade endurance throughout the race as well. I even tried to drink water and electrolytes at every water station. Unfortunately, my fast pace when I was halfway through the race became my own undoing. I slowed my pace down, along with walking and stopping to stretch at the same time for the rest of the race. Thankfully, I did properly run to the finish line. So I’m going to focus from now on, to keep my speed at a steady pace at my next marathon. Some different nutrients I’m going to eat at the next marathon, which is in Miami, will include the gel food and change my other nutrition strategies as well. I will do all of that by talking to my coach on how to improve my nutrition and get stronger from there. That is all I have to say for my review of telling the other runners what I’ll be doing in the future.

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    ajd90 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    This was my 13th marathon and first MCM - it's probably my second favorite I've done after New York. The crowds were awesome, miles ~4-20 are some of my favorites … MORE

    This was my 13th marathon and first MCM – it’s probably my second favorite I’ve done after New York. The crowds were awesome, miles ~4-20 are some of my favorites I’ve done with lots of time along the river and through the monuments, volunteers were great, and it felt very moving with all of the military members watching, volunteering, and running (especially during the Blue Mile). All of the organization and race morning were pretty painless as well (for a big race, at least).

    Few things that kept it from being incredible:
    -The corrals were meaningless – they need a much stricter corral system than self seeding. I lined up a little aggressively for my expected pace and was still stuck trying to weave for the first 2 miles or so. It added a decent amount of distance and led to a few slow miles that I probably overdid trying to make back up later.
    -They could really use another few water stops. There are several stretches of 2-3 miles without water. The part on the bridge around mile 20 was brutal without a stop, especially on a super humid day.
    -The last 5-6 miles in Chrystal city are boring after all of the excitement of DC, though the finish line and finish party were great.

    That said, awesome race and would totally run it again!

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    dionnewaugh FIRST-TIMER '23

    This is one of the most fun races I’ve ever done from start to finish. It’s well organized, which can’t surprise anyone given that it’s run by the Marines! Whether … MORE

    This is one of the most fun races I’ve ever done from start to finish. It’s well organized, which can’t surprise anyone given that it’s run by the Marines! Whether you walk or shuttle to the race it’s super easy to navigate and one of the shortest post-race walks I’ve ever had for a marathon.

    You really can’t beat seeing the big DC sights on foot when they close down the roads for you. The White House, the Pentagon and the Washington Monument were the highlights for me.

    The course itself starts off with some small hills but quickly flattens out. Also this is one of the few races where there were no areas without people cheering you on. Even on the small roads along the water there were still people who biked and walked over to cheer us on. Having people cheer you on the whole course was amazing.

    Also the race medal was badass! Distinct AND it opens to include a race-related dog tag inside!

    Also I highly recommend the Hyatt Centric as a race hotel. You can’t get any closer to walking distance and they were fabulous and had pre and post race food options. Plus they’re near several great restaurants and a Target

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 31, 2023 at 5:00pm

    Congrats Dionne and great photos! You said it well—MCM really was an amazing race weekend, Halloween humidity and all.

    Congrats Dionne and great photos! You said it well—MCM really was an amazing race weekend, Halloween humidity and all.

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