Overall Rating
Overall Rating (42 Reviews)
4.3
(42 Ratings)(42 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.2
SWAG
3.7
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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Recent reviews

    dosaprincess REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Great support on the course, well organized and the medal is the BEST. start area is really well organized so no waiting for ages to get running. a great beginners … MORE

    Great support on the course, well organized and the medal is the BEST. start area is really well organized so no waiting for ages to get running. a great beginners marathon

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    samanthadolen FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race is so inspiring... the monuments, the blue mile, the marines staffing the water stations. This is a must do experience. It is well run, and easy to get … MORE

    This race is so inspiring… the monuments, the blue mile, the marines staffing the water stations. This is a must do experience. It is well run, and easy to get to the start and finish. That last hill is a killer, but when you get to the top, the marines that cheer you on are fantastic!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    4
    SCENERY
    5
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    3

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    rcarkin FIRST-TIMER '18

    Truly the People’s Marathon. Perfect for first time marathoners. Emotional by the blue mile. Very nice view of DC. 2018 was the perfect weather and everything was extremely organized MORE

    Truly the People’s Marathon. Perfect for first time marathoners. Emotional by the blue mile. Very nice view of DC. 2018 was the perfect weather and everything was extremely organized

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    BrooklandRunner FIRST-TIMER '04

    I had always wanted to run a marathon. I signed up for this one back in the spring. In the fall, with the Red Sox making an historic postseason run, … MORE

    I had always wanted to run a marathon. I signed up for this one back in the spring. In the fall, with the Red Sox making an historic postseason run, I thought the World Series would go 7 games, so I would skip the marathon to be in Boston. But, I got tickets to go to St. Louis for game 3 and the Sox swept, so I was in DC for the race. I didn’t know how to train and I still was able to finish the race. I am proud that this remains my personal slowest time to date. Great organization and course!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '05

    This was my second marathon and the first marathon I trained. I remember going for 3:10 and falling apart in the 16th mile. I walked a bit around Hains Point … MORE

    This was my second marathon and the first marathon I trained. I remember going for 3:10 and falling apart in the 16th mile. I walked a bit around Hains Point where my friends cheered for me. I was happy to get the PR and this race probably hooked me on the marathons.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    BrooklandRunner REPEAT RUNNER '16

    On Sunday, October 30, 2016, I ran my first marathon as a father. My son Miles is two-and-a-half months. This also was my first Marine Corps Marathon in 11 years: … MORE

    On Sunday, October 30, 2016, I ran my first marathon as a father. My son Miles is two-and-a-half months. This also was my first Marine Corps Marathon in 11 years: my first two marathons were the Marine Corps (2004 in 4:10 and 2005 in 3:29). Also, one note of my first two marathons: I walked portions of them. So, the Marine Corps Marathon was the only marathon I hadn’t ever run the entire way (my first Boston, 2012, was so hot that there were stretches I had to walk, but in subsequent years, I have not walked at all). With my 3:08:31, not only did I finally qualify for Boston in my adopted city of DC, I ran the whole time. Plus, with warm temperatures, this was my best time on a day that didn’t provide ideal conditions.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
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    4

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    MissPatRuns FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first marathon. I was so excited for it after all that running that I never thought I would do. I think I signed up for the challenge … MORE

    This was my first marathon. I was so excited for it after all that running that I never thought I would do. I think I signed up for the challenge of getting in. I got in by being fast enough with my fingers to register for the 17.75k and completed that, it was my longest run yet after only having run for almost a year. I was having knee trouble and it was the most challenging but rewarding 11 miles ever. I enjoyed commiunicating via Facebook in a group call Women of MCM, they are awesome and I suggest joining them if you are going to do this event. I made 2018 my MCM year and it was full of firsts for me…10k, which came after the full and half…lol…, half, full, 8k. I did the Distinguished Participant and picking up that medal was a wonderful way to cap everything off.

    I went all out for this race. I booked a long weekend in National Harbor, paid for the Carbo-dinning in dinner the night before the race, paid for my sister and her boyfriend to watch the race from the new observation deck building that included brunch, and the expo was an all out blow up on my credit card…lol. That expo was awesome! Tons of people if you go when they first open and confusing because lines are not roped or anything, but eventually you make it in. When I first saw the shirt, I was excited, but later realized it was not exactly the best. It has become a joke of sorts that the MCM organizers embraced with a funny video.

    Since I stayed in national harbor, I had to take a shuttle to the start, which went smooth even though it seemed the driver was not exactly sure where to go. It was cold. There were many photographers asking to take your photo and tons of porta potties. There was also a prayer service if you wanted to participate in that. The start line was exciting with a Sky diver, the howitzer going off, and 30k runners! It would have been nice if they could find a way to keep non-participants out of the start corrals!!

    Overall, the course was not so bad, I rated the difficulty based on it being my first and that you have multiple time markers that you have to beat, namely “beat the bridge”. It is horrible to think that you get to 20 miles and could get sidelined after all of that if you don’t make the cut off. When I realized that the pace car was right on my tail, I almost lost it. Then I pulled myself together and just ran until I couldn’t see it anymore. Then I spent the rest of the race just trying,to make sure I was going to NOT see that car again, so I have no clue about the scenery or seeing the various monuments (I have seen most of them before already since I live in Md). I have no idea where I was most of the time…it’s all a blur. I knew my time would be close because I am a turtle runner, but I had no idea it would be so stressful. The Blue mile, for fallen soldiers, was very somber and respectful. It was such a wonderful part of the race to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It made running 26 miles seem like it was not a big deal in the whole skeem of things.

    The last .2 miles or so of the race was probably the worse, those Marines love their hills and there is one leading up to the finish. I waved at the “host”, like he told us to at the dinner so I could get my name called, but I never heard it. The finish was not the best for me. There were only a few of us crossing at a time because we were over 6 hours, which I kind of did not anticipate but potty breaks mostly got the better of me. The reason it was somewhat disappointing was because the Marine who gave me my medal acted like he did not want to hand it over! He looked to the person next to him like he was trying to figure out what to do and I looked at him and raised my shoulders like “what?” He finally put it in my neck…not the experience I had expected. Took many pictures with the photog at the Marine Corps Memorial but somehow those pics never showed up, it could not have been a bib problem because my bib was clearly visible. There was pretty much no finish festival at this time. It is called the “People’s marathon” because there is no,prize money and there are many ways to get it, which is awesome, but no love for those of us slower runners who still meet the time cut off. All I could do was rush to bag pickup after they announced that we had better do so before they left. The best thing was that my sister and her boyfriend were there and they had the Coke I had texted her to please get me. For some reason around mile 23 or 24 I think, I just had a dire need for a Coke…lol. It was awesome to,see them and I was excited even with the challenges…and realizing that my medal did not close the whole way because there was a piece that was broken and propping it open a little. Can’t really see it when it’s hanging though.

    I was able to easily maneuver the metro so that I could get back to the station where the shuttle would return me to National Harbor. There were many of us, so it was not difficult. Funny seeing so many people limping and shuffling. No problems even though I had been nervous about this part. When I got home, my mom had prepared my requested pancakes and ham and cheese omelette and surprise…my family presented me with a beautiful award to commemorate my achievement! I was so honored…best thing ever because they had to get it engraved and that means they believed that I could do it!!

    Overall, this was an awesome experience! The MCM is special even though some of it did not go as well for me. I think I will do it again once I can work on getting my pace up a bit, but I kind of like being a turtle so take thing in and not worry about placing or a PR, but I don’t want to be stressed about whether I will finish. The race was organized and the excitement was palpable throughout the entire weekend. The crowds were supportive with many signs and some had their own snacks and water to hand out. There were some even chanting “beat the bridge” as we got close to that point. I had read that this was a good first marathon and I would agree, but just be mindful of pace. So many people did not seem to have read about it! Had no idea what beat the bridge was! It is an honor to #runwiththeMarines.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    M_Sohaskey Mar 19, 2019 at 8:48pm

    Wow, what an amazing narrative of an amazing day — but let's not bury the lead, congrats on your first marathon, Pat! And what a way to cap off an incredibly year of firsts, you didn't waste any time diving into the deep end 😉. Admittedly that was an odd interaction with the Marine at the finish line, but then again the people are part of the beauty of running in a wildly popular and crowded event like MCM. Hopefully that didn't detract from the pure euphoria of finishing your first marathon — unless you're the winner, the point for the other 25,000 of us is to cross that finish line, no matter how long it takes. Congrats on bearing down and toughing it out, and thanks for an awesome review — hope marathon #2 is on the horizon!

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    MissPatRuns Mar 19, 2019 at 8:55pm

    Thank you for taking the time to read my novel...lol! And for replying. Yes, I just decided that everything was part of the experience and I finished without injury and my family rounded out the fun. I have actually signed up for the 50k! I think it's the challenge of getting registered and being part of the first event. Not sure I will actually make it because I am having knee and quad issues, so again, out the gate way too fast for my body. We'll see. Thanks again!

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    M_Sohaskey Mar 19, 2019 at 9:17pm

    Wow, no denying the power of the almighty endorphin! 😉 Wish I could have signed up for the inaugural 50K this year as well, I think it will be a blast. And hopefully 7+ months will be time enough for your knee and quad to remember how much they love doing this and get healthy. Good luck with your recovery and training Pat, keeping my fingers crossed you're on the start line Oct 27!

     
    splitter FIRST-TIMER '16

    Cool medal and experience. First marathon and went into it injured so was running conservatively. The heat was surprising, watched everyone hit the wall on the highway before the Pentagon … MORE

    Cool medal and experience. First marathon and went into it injured so was running conservatively. The heat was surprising, watched everyone hit the wall on the highway before the Pentagon which was the most boring stretch.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    cpwofford0990 FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was a great race with a ton of support through the entire thing. This was my 5 marathon and I was really hoping for a PR, but having stopped … MORE

    This was a great race with a ton of support through the entire thing. This was my 5 marathon and I was really hoping for a PR, but having stopped at the first line of port a potties I found (which I didn’t realize was still about a half a mile from the start line) left me sprinting to the start line and stuck in the wrong corral. I spent the first half of my race over doing it trying to catch up to my pace group and completely burnt out at mile 20. Now if this race wasn’t so beautiful and just all around awesome I would have been more bummed about adding 30 minutes to my overall time. I would highly recommend this race, I think my experience is not the norm for most who run it. The hills are minimal and I feel like I saw more of DC running this than I did the 2 days I spent walking around with my family. The expo was great with a ton of booths and I even got to meet one of my personal hero’s Kathrine Switzer.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    3
    SCENERY
    5
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    ckmoncayo FIRST-TIMER '18

    Very well organized and tons of spectator support. Easily one of the best races I have run. Additionally, the metro in town makes it very easy for spectators to get … MORE

    Very well organized and tons of spectator support. Easily one of the best races I have run. Additionally, the metro in town makes it very easy for spectators to get around and see you as you run the course. Post race party was also a blast with tons of freebies!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    4

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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!

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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
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    5
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    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 🙂

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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
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    SCENERY
    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/

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    My Media

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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
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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.

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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.

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    50statesSandy Apr 17, 2019 at 12:19pm

    Thank you for this! I'm doing this race this year for 2019 and you eased my mind. It's only April and I'm in panic mode. I'm excited to Beat the Bridge - 1st goal! Finish - 2nd goal! Thanks again.

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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.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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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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