Overall Rating
Overall Rating (32 Reviews)
4.2
(32 Ratings)(32 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.6
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.1
SWAG
3.6
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
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    pkroon REPEAT RUNNER '18

    By all accounts, this race was one of my top efforts in the marathon. The weather cooperated nicely, the support on the course was incredible, the pacers were spot-on, and … MORE

    By all accounts, this race was one of my top efforts in the marathon. The weather cooperated nicely, the support on the course was incredible, the pacers were spot-on, and I was able to come within a minute of a PR and improve my time by 36 minutes from the previous year where it was extremely hot and I cramped up. The opening miles were very crowded and I self-seeded myself farther back than I should have as I didn’t have quite enough time before the race started to get to the start. There are so many people to funnel through the metro and walk the 1.75 miles from station to start line. I knew what to expect so it didn’t take me by surprise, but the masses had already moved forward from the pacing staging zones by the time I arrived. With 21,000 people doing the marathon, they do have three color-coded corrals where you cannot move up, only back. That aside, starting slower helped me to negative-split the course. I ran the last couple miles with the 3:15 pace group, and the pacer gave me his sign at the end as a souvenir! I felt that the race weekend was organized very well. I’m very glad I made the effort to come back for the second year in a row to improve on last year’s time. Thank you to the Marines who made it an unforgettable event. Oorah!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 15, 2018 at 1:10am

    I'm always impressed/amazed when experienced marathoners can challenge their own PR at Marine Corps, since based on everything I've heard it's a tough course to run with the crowds and hills at the beginning/end. Congrats on a race well run Peter, sounds like the ideal weather and on-course inspiration were just what the doc ordered for you this year. And thanks for another thoughtful review!

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    MarkEdwards FIRST-TIMER '07

    Being in the Nation's capital the scenery was great. Felt pressure to make the time cutoff at the bridge. Excellent expo with a lot of stuff. plan to run this … MORE

    Being in the Nation’s capital the scenery was great. Felt pressure to make the time cutoff at the bridge. Excellent expo with a lot of stuff. plan to run this one again someday.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sbhubbard22 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Awesome race, very large but well organized! I attended the expo on Saturday and it was packed, but still great! Get to the start line early, there are security lines … MORE

    Awesome race, very large but well organized! I attended the expo on Saturday and it was packed, but still great! Get to the start line early, there are security lines and once the start gun goes off, the start lines seemed to move quickly. Bathrooms closer to the start line seemed to have shorter lines.
    The first few miles are up a slight hill, so PACE YOURSELF HERE! The crowds are great throughout most of the course. It is a fairly crowded race, especially for the first 4-5 miles. Beware of the last 0.2; it is a pretty intense hill! Power through it for a great finish line experience 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    brett.parmenter FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my 11th marathon and I have to say, one of my favorites. It's a big one, which means lots of energy. You're pretty packed for at least six … MORE

    This was my 11th marathon and I have to say, one of my favorites. It’s a big one, which means lots of energy. You’re pretty packed for at least six miles, but then it thins out although you are always surrounded by lots of people. There is GREAT crowd support and there is something about all of the Marines out on the course at the aid stations and providing support that is incredible. You get great views of the city. The Blue Mile, in which there are pictures of fallen Marines, is emotional.

    We stayed in Alexandria and the start was easily accessible by Metro. It’s a bit of a walk to the start line that includes going through security, but not a big deal.

    I truly adored this race. It’s been over a week and I’m still riding the marathon high from it!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    After months of agonizing over the best course of action to take regarding whether to run the Marine Corps Marathon on an injured hip, race weekend was finally here. The … MORE

    After months of agonizing over the best course of action to take regarding whether to run the Marine Corps Marathon on an injured hip, race weekend was finally here. The moment of truth. There was actually very little doubt about whether I would go. As my friends and family know, I can be a just a tad stubborn. Giving up on running the race without giving it my best shot is just not in my nature.

    Sunday morning dawned overcast and cool. Perfect running weather. We made our way to our corral, took a quick selfie at the start line in our throw-away shirts and watched the skydivers do their heart-stopping plunge with the American flag that kicked off the official pre-race ceremonies. After the flyover by an MV-22 Osprey (a helicopter/airplane hybrid) and a very stirring rendition of the national anthem, the howitzer, signaling the start of the race, went off and we inched toward the start line.

    I was people-watching more than scenery-watching at the beginning of the race, and there was plenty to see. I saw many husband-and-wife teams running together, which made me wish Bill was running with me. There was a fireman running in his boots and full gear, including an oxygen tank, and a group of men running together who made me do a double-take.

    Three men were making their way through the course, one of them in a wheelchair. One man was pushing the wheelchair and one was running interference as they wove through the crowd of other runners. I realized at second glance that the man pushing the wheelchair had one leg and one prosthetic running blade.

    To read my full report, please click here
    https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2018/11/05/marine-corps-marathon-race-report/

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    carla004 FIRST-TIMER '18

    PROS: Lots of Crowd support for most of the race. Relatively flat course; a couple of hills at the beginning and a small one at the end. Scenic course Blue … MORE

    PROS:
    Lots of Crowd support for most of the race.
    Relatively flat course; a couple of hills at the beginning and a small one at the end.
    Scenic course
    Blue mile is emotional
    Volunteers were very cheerful and helpful
    The miles tick away quickly for the most part. My total mileage was 26.78 due to a bit of weaving initially.
    My goal was to finish as this was my first marathon. The crowd support certainly made it enjoyable and entertaining so you could forget the miles.
    CONS:
    Crowded for most of the race. Having run Peachtree Roadrace many times I would say MCM was a bit more crowded. Going into Crystal City created a bit of a bottleneck and you had to slow your pace
    The Bridge seems FOREVER as there is less crowd support on the bridge.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    bibster FIRST-TIMER '18

    I have mixed thoughts about the Marine Corps Marathon that I ran this year – 2018. The Pros: • It is a huge event with 30,000 or more runners. The … MORE

    I have mixed thoughts about the Marine Corps Marathon that I ran this year – 2018.

    The Pros:

    • It is a huge event with 30,000 or more runners. The Marines do a good job of organizing a race of this massive size. The expo is huge and has a ton of sponsor booths to go through. It was crowded but manageable when we were there on Saturday afternoon.
    • The course in many areas is very scenic and you get to see a lot of the Capital.
    • There are plenty of water stops and you do not need to carry water or Gatorade. There were at least 4 food stops.
    • Lots of portable toilets everywhere along the course.
    • The race ends at the Iwo Jima Memorial and the medal is very cool.
    • I stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton near the Pentagon and was able to walk to the Runner’s Village and starting line. Getting through security was fairly quick and including the walk around Pentagon only took me about 40 minutes.
    • There are bands playing in many locations on the route. Most of the run has tons of spectators and you will hear plenty of cowbells.

    The Cons:

    • The expo was a nightmare and we should have had our packages mailed to us. We took the Metro and a shuttle bus to get there and it was at least an hour each way. Using an Uber is not an option because the traffic was crazy outside the Gaylord Expo Center.
    • The shirt has to be the ugliest race shirt I’ve ever received. It was a running (pardon the pun) joke with the runners before and after.
    • With 30,000 runners it was shoulder to shoulder for the entire 26.2 miles. It was very difficult to get in your stride; people cutting you off or walking in the center of the road constantly throw off your rhythm.
    • Parts of the race are on closed highways and exit ramps with no spectators. These sections felt long and arduous. There are two sections with long out and back loops – repeating scenery and you get a real feel for how many runners are in front and behind you.
    • I had thought the course was closer to monuments than it really was – mainly you saw them all from a distance.
    • It was a mass of humanity and we were herded everywhere. It’s hard to fault the Marines for their crowd control. There was a lot of waiting at the beginning and end of the race. It took an hour to get out of the lines after the finish (chaos) – everyone was lined up for water, Gatorade, snack boxes, bananas, etc. We could get out and when we did there was no direction to get to a shuttle back. My runner partner and I fought are way out and humped another mile to get clear and request an Uber.

    Overall, it was a great experience and that evening and the next day we went sightseeing. It’s a beautiful city to visit and everyone we came across was very friendly. If you like a BIG marathon this is for you! You will NOT PR since there are so many participants. If you like a smaller atmosphere (where the pack breaks up after a couple miles) and are running to make specific time, do not run the MCM. In short, I’m glad we ran it but I won’t run it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
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    SWAG
    2
    My Media

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    Lorelei FIRST-TIMER '18

    I recommend staying at a hotel close to start and finish. I stayed at the Red Lion which is affordable and easy to walk to after the race. It also … MORE

    I recommend staying at a hotel close to start and finish. I stayed at the Red Lion which is affordable and easy to walk to after the race. It also has free parking. Even though it was close to the start, we still had to take the metro due to how the fencing and security was set up, but taking the metro was easy.

    We also took the metro to packet pickup. The expo was not impressive. While I really enjoyed the race-specific section, the rest of the expo had limited selections and was very crowded and hard to navigate. The Brooks section with race-specific things was easy to browse and had a fast line. I went on the second day and I don’t know how it compared to the first day.

    The swag was great. I loved the material of the shirt. It was thick and long-sleeved. However, not many people liked the design. I heard and read many comments from people who were disgusted by the design. It is definitely not like any other race shirt I’ve ever seen. However, I like it. I wore it all over the place the day after the race. It’s rather comfy. The medal was amazing. It’s the same design they’ve had in years past, but this year it was red and it opened up to reveal a coin. The coin is two sided so you can pick your favorite side to display. Also, they give you a paper finisher jacket which is much nicer than a space blanket. It’s race-designed. A real memento!

    The race starts with a singing of the national anthem. What is awesome is that the flag is falling from the sky carried by two parachuting soldiers! Also, two flying osprey (the super cool flying machine, not the bird) hover overhead and all around.

    Now for the race. This is my second favorite marathon, knocking the Flying Pig into 3rd place on my list. The course is gorgeous for a huge chunk of it. There were only a few miles I found deathly boring. It has gently rolling hills, the biggest of which are at the beginning miles. The crowd support is tremendous throughout. The aid stations are plentiful and the volunteers were energetic. Did I mention the course is beautiful?! The Blue Mile brought me to tears. It is lined with photos of fallen soldiers and volunteers carrying flags. I mean, so very touching. I wish they would have made more hoopla about “beating the bridge” just because that would have been motivating and fun. Beating the bridge means you have to get there by a certain time. If you didn’t make it, a bus took you away for a ride of shame. Also, lots of people told me how awful the final hill is because it’s right at the finish. Don’t believe it. Yes, there’s a hill. No, it wasn’t that bad. It’s really very short. Don’t let other bully fear into you. Did I mention the course is beautiful?

    The big finish. I LOVED THE FINISH LINE! A marine puts the medal around your neck, then a very very long line of marines congratulate you as you make your way through the endless chute. A real feel-good finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Maryfrances4180 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The race swag for the marathon Runner’s was disappointing to say the least, from the shirt design to the finishers medal. There were too many runners to have everyone start … MORE

    The race swag for the marathon Runner’s was disappointing to say the least, from the shirt design to the finishers medal. There were too many runners to have everyone start at once, stagnant starts are needed for this run. You couldn’t enjoy the scenery due to watching where you’re running so you don’t step on people and you’re consistently weaving through bodies, there was no way to keep a consistent pace. The finish line was disappointing due to family & friends not being allowed inside the gate, so they could not see you cross the finish line. Having to walk half a mile to get to your friends and family is ridiculous. Only motivating thing about this race are the Marines lined up throughout the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    1

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    RunnerMeg REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This was actually my third time running the MCM, but the first time was 2006, and the second 2013. I am not a huge fan of big-city, multi-thousand runner events, … MORE

    This was actually my third time running the MCM, but the first time was 2006, and the second 2013. I am not a huge fan of big-city, multi-thousand runner events, BUT the Marine Corps Marathon is near and dear to my heart as a Marine veteran.

    The expo is at National Harbor. I went on Friday afternoon and found it to be far from empty, but still very fast and efficient. There were lots of vendors and good official gear for purchase (I bought a shirt and the jacket). It’s a good thing the merch was good because the official race shirt that came with the bib was pretty repulsive. I’m a fan of the MCM “mock-neck” shirts in general and love my gray one from 2013, but this year’s is atrocious. I’ll leave that point alone now!

    The logistics getting to the start need some work in my opinion. The only negatives associated with the race were before the gun went off (again, in my opinion). I came from a short distance away, just over in Rosslyn where the finish is. I got to the Metro at about 6:05 (Metro started at 6am) and the first train that came through around 6:20 was overflowing with runners. The next one was pretty empty and I managed to get on – at this point it’s about 6:30am…still plenty of time right? The start is 7:55am.

    Once we unloaded at the Pentagon station, it was like a hoard of zombies. We were slow-walking/shuffling the long distance from the station to the parking lot where the runners’ village was. It seemed to take forever. Security itself wasn’t really an issue, but it was just so crowded it was impossible to make much headway. I missed the Marathon Maniac photo by a mile because by the time I got to the starting area it was about 7:30am. Luckily I found a portajohn with a short line (note to RD – more portajohns…when you think you have enough, add at least 10% more) and then hustled into the corral. Unfortunately I didn’t realize I had entered the green corral and was supposed to be in gold closer to the front. So that took some doing, to get to the front of my corral. The good part is that I made it, and all of the shuffling, jogging, and panicked movement was a good warm-up; I didn’t stand still for more than 5 minutes before the Howitzers went off! I also got to see the parachute team with the giant flag and the Osprey flyover. I crossed the start line about two minutes after the clock started.

    Note about the corral system: While I appreciate that they had corrals this year, there was still a ton of walker-dodging and people lined up four abreast. I was desperately trying to PR so I was doing a lot of weaving the first few miles, but it does eventually open up.

    Enough negatives – the race itself is fantastic. The Marines (YUT) along the course, the crowds, the scenery, the Blue Mile, the monuments, the American flags…it’s just unlike any other event. The course takes you back through Rosslyn/Arlington, across the river to Georgetown, down an out-and-back to Woodley Park and past GWU and the Lincoln Memorial, West Potomac Park and East Potomac Park where the Blue Mile is. The Blue Mile, if you haven’t experienced it, displays photos of fallen service members lining both sides of the road, along with dozens of American flags being held by members of Wear Blue to Remember and service members. It’s the most meaningful portion of a marathon I’ve ever run. I turned my music off and just soaked it all in. The course also takes you past the National Mall up to the Capitol then back across the river and up to Arlington where you finish near the Iwo Jima Memorial. Amazing. Once you finish (HUGE crowds there) you receive your Eagle, Globe, and Anchor medal from a USMC Lieutenant and proceed through the chute to photos, food, and water before the finish area festival. The EGA medal is of course my favorite medal of all time. This year’s was all red and opens to display a challenge coin.

    The course itself has its challenges; there are some hills, especially in the first four miles, but it’s not bad. We had spectacular weather this year though I know past years have been very hot. Aid stations were I think every two miles or so. They did a great job having tables and volunteers stretched over quite a ways to give you ample opportunity to grab a cup.

    I did score my PR and BQ and couldn’t be happier that it was at the Marine Corps Marathon. It was a tremendous day! I highly recommend the MCM as a must-do marathon.

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 30, 2018 at 1:54pm

    Wow, this really sounds like a tale of two races — pre-howitzers and post-howitzers. And I can't lie, your description of the race itself gave me goosebumps. I've imagined what it must be like to run the Blue Mile, and the more I read about it, the more I can't wait for the opportunity. You clearly ran with purpose, Meg — MCM isn't an easy course with the hills and having to weave around slower runners, so to PR by 8 minutes (??) and BQ under the new standards is an amazing accomplishment 👏. Awesome review of an awesome performance, huge congrats and can't wait to see you at the JFK 50!

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    RunnerMeg Oct 30, 2018 at 6:00pm

    Thanks Mike. While it definitely has its downsides and areas to improve upon in order to be more on par with majors like NYC, it’s still a special event. I don’t remember any issues at all the first two times I ran it so I can only assume things have gotten more difficult to organize within the city and more runners are signing up. If they listen to the feedback from runners they’ll only continue to improve. I still love this event!

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 30, 2018 at 7:33pm

    Totally agree that the key will be listening to their runners. Based on the consistent feedback here over the years, it sounds like they've not made much progress with the logistics of the crowds and corral assignments. I'm sure that's due in part to limited space available in the city, as you said, but at the same time it sounds like corrals and wave starts would go a long way toward alleviating the problem and letting the specialness (is that a word? 🤔) of the event speak for itself. All that said, I still very much look forward to running this, though luckily with eyes wide open and a plan to get to the start line by sunrise. (By the way, all the talk of crowded corrals makes your PR/BQ that much more impressive, and makes me wonder how much faster you might have run without those first few miles to slow you down!)

    mikebeckwith Oct 29, 2018 at 12:17pm

    Great review, Meg. And congrats on your PR and BQ!

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    RunnerMeg Oct 30, 2018 at 6:00pm

    Thank you!!

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    texasrungirl FIRST-TIMER '18

    The whole production was very chaotic, beginning to end. The expo Was lackluster and extremely crowded. I Took the metro and then grabbed one of the free shuttles, which was … MORE

    The whole production was very chaotic, beginning to end. The expo Was lackluster and extremely crowded. I Took the metro and then grabbed one of the free shuttles, which was nice, but it’s quite a distance from hotels near the start line and the shuttle was jampacked and took forever to get to the Gaylord. The expo was Not very big, extremely crowded, and no sense of fun or excitement, it was hard to get around and see what was on the offer, but what was on our offer was very disappointing and limited.

    The morning of the race Was insanity. I stayed with a friend, who is also running the race, at the Crystal city Marriott Gateway. We stayed there in order to be near the start, as it is only to metro stops away. We took the first metro at 6 AM. The metro was so crowded we could barely move. I wish there had been more information on the marathon website about where to stay, for example, places to stay if you want to walk to the race start. It is hard to determine the best place to stay if you are not from the area. The Gaylord is very far from the race start, I would not recommend staying there at all. And well Crystal city seems close, the metro trip was insanity. When we exited the metro train, it was so crowded it took about 10 minutes just to get up the escalator, then another half an hour to get out of the station. Once out of the station, the thousands of people taking the metro had to stay on a narrow sidewalk. There is a large parking lot that would’ve made it easy for everyone to get across, but they were armed guards shouting at everyone to stay on the sidewalk . Everything was moving so slowly, we did not get to the first checkpoint in the runners village until about 720. I say first checkpoint because they had marine set up at tables inspecting each and every bag that was to be checked at the UPS drop off. This sounds like a good idea, to keep everything safe, but you need more than 12 tables to check thousands and thousands of runners bags! It was insanity! Finally, they let everybody walk through; I think they realize that no one was going to get to the start if they continued with the bag checks. My friend and I had to hustle from there over to the UPS backdrop. By then it was 7:45. The starting corrals were still about A quarter of a mile away! Imagine 30,000 people trying to get from the runners village to the starting corrals!

    There was zero oversight for the corrals. My friend and I managed to make it to the back of our corral. We had hoped to find the pacer for 345 finish, but it was absolutely impossible. They only have two Pacers for each finishing time! Imagine 2000+ people trying to find two pacers! I have run many marathons, and I have never experienced such chaos at the start. It is supposed to be honor system for heading to the correct corral, but this policy did not work at all. There were people at the front who were walking and barely moving at all. Plan on spending the first 5 miles trying to move . After months and months of training to reach a particular pace, it quickly becomes a reality that there is no way you can keep to that pays as the first 5 miles are impossible. Plan on having people step all over you and elbow you those first 5 miles as well. It is a nightmare. As if that weren’t bad enough, the wonderful wheelchair racers are only given a 10 minute Headstart. As a result, there are wheelchairs added to the mix of wall-to-wall people during the first 10 miles. It is really dangerous in the first few miles, especially on the downhill portions. You can be running downhill and all of a sudden hear people screaming and yelling for everyone to get out of the way as a wheelchair is coming fast down the hill. Keep in Mind that this is amidst extreme crowding and many people are wearing earbuds and cannot hear until the last moment! It was crazy.

    I appreciated markers it every mile, love that. Sadly, they were not nearly enough Porta potty‘s, medical stations, race officials, nor water stations for the size of the crowds.

    From the race maps, it looked like the course would run by more of the monuments in DC, but this was not the case. One constant of the scenery is male runners peeing along the sides of the Race. I am not talking to the five guys at a time, I am talking 20 to 30 guys at a time. I don’t blame them, as they were not nearly enough Porta potties ( they needed about 20 times as many, I am not kidding ) Female runners were out of luck.

    Like the expo, the finish was one of the most lackluster of any race I have run. Other marathons and half marathons are very festive at the end, and have a party like atmosphere and lots of recovery food options. You are handed a box with the same sort of running the snacks you’ve been eating leading up to and during the race, and the main drink available was Gatorade, which everyone has been swelling for the past hours. The two highlights: a limited amount of watermelon was available and some donut holes The latter were delicious but I only got two. Getting back to the hotel via Metro was another marathon in itself with all of the crowds.

    I was hoping this would be a very inspiring marathon. I raised money for a charity and I’m very Glad that I did that , and all of the Marines I encountered were terrific. The weather was perfect, too. But the race officials Really need to revisit and re-organize the logistics for this race. It was so chaotic, it really made it an unpleasant experience. I could not recommend this race to anyone. I’ve seen mention of this being a great marathon for first timers. Nothing could be further from the truth! I think this would be an awful race for a first time marathon or, for all of the reasons I mentioned above .

    My main recommendations for the race organizers: first, they cannot rely on an honor system for the race corrals. It’s not that people are being dishonest necessarily, it is just too crowded and chaotic for people to get where they need to be, it simply Does not work. Second, they need to start in waves. You cannot have 30,000+ runners without starting in waves. It is nightmarish . Third, transportation to and from the marathon needs to be overhauled.

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    M_Sohaskey Oct 30, 2018 at 2:28pm

    Talk about chaos! So sorry to hear the race didn't live up to expectations, Jenna — and especially having dedicated the time and resources to fundraising and having traveled from TX to run. As you said, it really sounds like the organizers need to rethink the logistics of race day, so that the reality of the experience lives up to its promise. And I absolutely agree that, if I were a first-time marathoner, fighting the crowds and stressing about getting to the start on time would be the LAST thing I'd want to deal with on race day. Chicago and New York are huge races as well, but they clearly do a better job of handling their start corrals. In any case, congrats on adding MCM to your marathon résumé, and thanks for a very helpful review!

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    cwline FIRST-TIMER '18

    Nice opening ceremony with parashooters, National Anthem, etc... Mile markers at each mile. Clocks at every 5K increment. Plenty of water/gatorade/food/vaseline stations. Some portapots on route, but starting around the … MORE

    Nice opening ceremony with parashooters, National Anthem, etc… Mile markers at each mile. Clocks at every 5K increment. Plenty of water/gatorade/food/vaseline stations. Some portapots on route, but starting around the 5K lots of mostly males and even some females ran to the woods to take a leak. Mostly asphalt course (several potholes/wavy spots) with some cement and brick areas. Lots of crowd support and funny signs along most of course.
    Long sleeved sort of turtle neck technical shirt and nice medal. Nice snacks after race. Results posted same day. Crowded after race.

    DIFFICULTY
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    PRODUCTION
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    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
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    lassieandmax FIRST-TIMER '17

    Full disclosure: I am typically not a race repeater. But with that said, I would definitely repeat a race (and I have) if I felt there was a purpose to … MORE

    Full disclosure: I am typically not a race repeater. But with that said, I would definitely repeat a race (and I have) if I felt there was a purpose to it. This one however was a disappointment.

    Perhaps my expectations were too high going into it, but I really felt it was a let down from the expo all the way to the finish line.

    Expo was not as huge with a large number of of vendors as I expected. My kids love coming to these things, but the vendors didn’t have the spinning wheels for free stuff, or give out candy. The folks at the pace team booth weren’t very helpful.

    The start: when you have 30k runners, there really needs to be a corral and staggered starts. MCM uses an honor system and depends on people to line up according to their expected finish time, but this is not what people do. For the first 5 miles I weaved in and out of slower runners who were not where they should have been (I lined up by the corrected pace sign for my ability level). I guess the flyovers and parachuting marines at the start line are cool, but when you are looking where you are going, looking for bag drop, ports potties etc…. you aren’t looking up in the sky.

    Course: Weaves in and out if the different neighborhoods of DC and Virginia. Lots of out and backs felt to me like a lack of creativity on the part of the race organizers. Additionally, I expected to see the monuments and to run past landmarks, but I only remember the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial and the back side of the Air and Space Museum. There were pockets of fan support and they were awesome. I mean enormous crowds of people, but there were really only 2-3 if these. But then when you get to the Capitol-no one.

    The water table at mile 19 ran out of water (for real). Only 2 Marines madly trying to fill cups. After waiting a few minutes, I just decided to leave and run to the next one. Seriously? In a huge and storied race such as MCM a water table is understaffed? Someone dropped the ball in the staffing department.

    And who can forget the concrete wasteland of the 14th Street bridge, or running through the industrial park in Pentagon City. No need to say more on this subject.

    Post race: I felt this was the best part. The city streets closed down at the finish and it felt like giant block party that stretched for blocks. Bands, vendors, free food and drinks everywhere. It was really fun.

    DC is not charitable tho. You don’t get to ride the metro for free if wearing your bib, like in other cities.

    Bottom line, I expected pomp and citcumstance, roaring patriotism and Smericsn pride. I left feeling empty. Glad I did it as it was a bucket list race for me, but I’ll do something else next time.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    runmikerun2021 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Great swag (every medal is a new design)! Very well organized except a wave start would be nice. Course is slightly hilly but overall nice. The "Blue Mile" will bring … MORE

    Great swag (every medal is a new design)! Very well organized except a wave start would be nice. Course is slightly hilly but overall nice. The “Blue Mile” will bring you to tears. Still my favorite race and favorite marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    todd17406 FIRST-TIMER '06

    Pros: Definitely one to have on your bucket list. Surprised at the number of amputees running. Emotional. Inpirational. Very nice course Cons: Just the logistics of getting in and out … MORE

    Pros: Definitely one to have on your bucket list. Surprised at the number of amputees running. Emotional. Inpirational. Very nice course
    Cons: Just the logistics of getting in and out of DC. Prepared to wait and be frustrated.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    lauralariv FIRST-TIMER '17

    This is a must do race. From start to finish this race will have you go through all emotions in a wonderful way. Beautiful course with great support from the … MORE

    This is a must do race. From start to finish this race will have you go through all emotions in a wonderful way. Beautiful course with great support from the volunteers and spectators. (Consider a hand held water bottle, or fuel belt, if a hot day. The bridge section of the race does not have a water stop, and the pavement heats up)

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    Evwatkins FIRST-TIMER '15

    Full disclosure: I am not a fan of big races. I Chose this race (This review is for 2015) to check off Virginia. I did expect to really enjoy the … MORE

    Full disclosure: I am not a fan of big races. I Chose this race (This review is for 2015) to check off Virginia. I did expect to really enjoy the race because of the area and the scenery/Marines/etc.
    Unfortunately, I chose the wrong year to participate.

    Getting to the start: I was lucky to have a local friend with a “secret parking area” and didn’t have to use the shuttles. The story was that changes were made to the security process and there was only one point of entry into the start area. And they were also allowing ANYONE to go through. The entry point had about 6-8 medal detectors and they searched every bag, stroller, diaper bag, etc. (Why did families and babies need to be in the start area???) Luckily, I got through in time, but several friends of mine were stuck in the line for 45 MINUTES past the start of the race due to the backup.

    THE START & COURSE: With a race of this size (30K runners), corrals and/or staggered starts are absolutely necessary. Unfortunately again, the corral system was completely voluntary. There were pace signs lined up along the road that seemed too close together to be useful. There were no barriers or control of where you lined up and it was a mass start. I noticed throughout the whole race that “faster” runners were zig-zagging through the crowd and along the sidewalk. These were runners who were stuck in the security line and didn’t make it to the start line on time.
    Sections of the roads were narrow and hard to “run” due to the mass of people.

    THE FINISH: Having Marines at the finish giving out medals (and at aid stations) was cool. The finish area was large and spread out to accommodate the large amount of finishers. Finish photos are taken with the monument in the background. What wasn’t cool was there weren’t enough transportation opportunities to get out of there. Several metro stations or train lines were closed which made the line to the closest metro station probably a mile long. So were the bus lines. We ended up walking at least a mile or two to the next metro station because we didn’t want to stand still in the lines and get stiff.

    FIX THESE PROBLEMS:
    -Don’t let people in the start area who are not running. (NYC marathon does a great job with this!) This was the main cause of the security line backup.
    -I LOVED running past all the monuments and buildings, but due to the mass start and no corral system, I didn’t enjoy myself at all. We were sandwiched in narrow roads and bridges the whole race. It would have been much more enjoyable had I not been knocking elbows and zig-zaging through people all day. (Again NYC has an awesome corral system. You still feel like a herd of cattle, but it’s efficient.)

    BOTTOM LINE: I doubt I’ll be back. I love DC but I think I’ll just go for vacation and avoid the race. One and done for me.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    amarchet FIRST-TIMER '13

    This is the ultimate marathon of marathons. From bib pickup to support along the way, you can beat the Marine Corp Marathon. What a way to see D.C. running with … MORE

    This is the ultimate marathon of marathons. From bib pickup to support along the way, you can beat the Marine Corp Marathon. What a way to see D.C. running with over 30K of your closest friends. What they say about the 14th street bridge is true…it is the longest 1.25 miles you will run at mile 18. No shade, hot, hot, hot pavement regardless that it is October. It is the longest mile. Running up the last hill to the Iwa Jima Memorial is truly the way to finish and salute our men and women who fight to save this country while saluting you for finishing!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    pkroon FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was an incredible event. In order to guarantee entrance to this race by avoiding the lottery, I signed up for the "17.75k Access Granted" race held in March. Most … MORE

    This was an incredible event. In order to guarantee entrance to this race by avoiding the lottery, I signed up for the “17.75k Access Granted” race held in March. Most of my friends did get in through the lottery, but why risk it when you can do another race put on by the Marines?

    The expo was great, held at the National Harbor. Shuttle buses were provided to and from the closest Metro stations, so getting there didn’t require paying a big parking fee. Metro was also the recommended way to get to the start on race morning. It took quite a bit of time to walk from the Pentagon station to the start as many thousands of people all needed to get to the same spot.

    The pre-race ceremony was unlike any other I’ve seen. Paratroopers brought in the American flag and there was a double flyover of MV-22 Osprey helicopters. So many disabled athletes participated in the race, many of whom are war veterans. A lot of people ran in memory of fallen heroes. It was special for me because this was the one marathon my father had run when he was a Naval officer prior to my being born.

    Near the halfway point, the “Blue Mile” was set up as a remembrance for fallen heroes followed by a patriotic celebration with hundreds of flags. I think that many of the flag bearers were relatives of the fallen men and women. This was so moving.

    All the water stations were manned by Marines in uniform. They gave so much encouragement besides the nutrition. One was even out there on the bridge at mile 22 yelling at us (in a good way) to press on. It was a hot day, and water stations were two miles apart. This was the toughest part of the course for me, aside from the climb up the hill to the finish line. I had hit the wall at the Mall and it was rough going the last hour, but due to this motivation I received along the way, I made it without stopping, which was a goal. Getting to the end, the Marines who handed me my finisher’s medal rejoiced with me, took selfies, and made me feel like a hero. What!? Who are the real heroes here?

    The whole experience was unforgettable. I would love to do it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    nstewart FIRST-TIMER '16

    Very well organized. Very inspirational, as it honors fallen military, and motivating, as it is staffed by Marines. This marathon takes you through historic Georgetown and by the National Mall--a … MORE

    Very well organized. Very inspirational, as it honors fallen military, and motivating, as it is staffed by Marines. This marathon takes you through historic Georgetown and by the National Mall–a great tour of the nation’s capital–finally ending with the short ascent to the Iwo Jima Memorial.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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