Overall Rating
Overall Rating (77 Reviews)
4.5
(77 Ratings)  (77 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
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Recent reviews

    mtarcs FIRST-TIMER '22

    This is a big one. As a first timer, I wanted a race that had as much enthusiasm as I did without prerequisites. I could not recommend this more to … MORE

    This is a big one. As a first timer, I wanted a race that had as much enthusiasm as I did without prerequisites. I could not recommend this more to a first-timer that has TRAINED properly. There is a cutoff time to where you can no longer run the race as the highway opens back up. I’ve heard this race is very challenging to acquire a spot for in the past, so do not postpone signing up. Unbelievably, as of Aug 20th, the race was listed as full, but they still had registration open. I successfully registered two days later for $200.

    I was a little confused at first as it was hard to get to the starting line. Turns out you have to walk a couple miles to the line and there is no way around this. Plan to arrive 90 minutes early, get street parking, and take the public transportation. One of the garages mentioned was completely full and annoying getting in and out – wasted at least 20 min there.

    I have no advice for spectators on getting to the finish line. A volunteer I asked said there was no parking around, so they would have to also take public transportation and walk (not as far as the starting line trek). The finish line and surrounding areas are very guarded, so make sure you are familiar with the process for spectators.

    There were around three hills in the beginning of the race that I completely demolished and passed people on. The only other challenging part of the course was the .1 mile (small) incline at the end and the highway. The highway bridge is brutal. Void of spectators and any views, it’s almost like a gateway to hell. You’re so tired and at that point you are at the sun’s mercy. Be mentally prepared for this, there are some huge water jugs around.

    For a city race, other than the highway, very scenic. You get to run along a river early morning and watch the rising fog. You run through some quaint little areas. There’s also a straight mile or two along a state park where fallen marines are represented by small signs in the grass. Some stopped to pay their respects and get pictures. This was incredibly somber and heartbreaking, even if you are not a political person in nature.

    The production was great, the only thing I would change is the information and resources for getting racers to the starting line. Emails need more of a description on what to expect for that walk. And COMPLETELY different instructions for parking and taking public transportation (don’t even mention those parking garages).

    I don’t know how to compare swag with that of other races. But what I will say is that there were a good amount of water and Gatorade stations with fantastic volunteers and marines. I was carrying a hydropack as I trained with one. Do not bring a hydropack, you will not need it. I earned a medal in the end and gifted it to my father, as one of the few people that cared I finished this race. My other favorite thing was the synthetic long sleeve. This will be perfect for my future athletic ventures in colder temps. Weird last thing here – I got my bib sent to me and it was missing a free beer coupon, I only got one. Odd, but I didn’t stay for the beer anyway. It would be cool if along with a medal I was handed one beer instead. Not sure if that can be a thing.

    This last part is the most important. In the last three miles I just couldn’t run anymore. I identified a hole in my training/preparation a little too late, and had to continue by walking. DOZENS of people came up to me to see if I was ok and if I needed anything. I’ve only experienced this type of community and support from strangers one other time in my life at a non-related event, and it wasn’t consistent the following year. I can only assume the ones who stopped for me were experienced runners and possibly repeaters of this race. I wouldn’t doubt they would be right there for me next year if I needed them. Thank you.

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    boyettcrystal FIRST-TIMER '22

    I traveled to DC for my first marathon. It's called the "People's Marathon" for a reason(no prize money, you run for the love of it). It's put on by the … MORE

    I traveled to DC for my first marathon. It’s called the “People’s Marathon” for a reason(no prize money, you run for the love of it). It’s put on by the Marines and like everything they do, it was executed flawlessly. There’s a Blue Mile, that’s absolutely silent and dedicated to fallen soldiers. They have hundreds of posters along the side with pictures of those have fallen. It was emotional and inspiring. Marines and fans are throughout the entire course, heavily in Georgetown, the National Mall, and Crystal City. Lots of water and aid stations along the way. You finish in Arlington Cemetery at the Iwo Jima memoria where a Marine will place your medal around your neck. All the feels!!! The medals are great but the finishers tshirt is always mock neck and those are not cute.

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    venu.vegesana FIRST-TIMER '22

    Amazing crowed support for 50k Scenic course More aid stations expo is big and swag is good. Liked the crowd all over with early start. Finish line is great with … MORE

    Amazing crowed support for 50k
    Scenic course
    More aid stations
    expo is big and swag is good.
    Liked the crowd all over with early start.
    Finish line is great with Marines giving medal
    Great support and experience overall race

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    cjs909 FIRST-TIMER '22

    After deferments and a change from the marathon to the 50k I finally got to complete this race! Overall I loved it, the scenery was awesome for almost all of … MORE

    After deferments and a change from the marathon to the 50k I finally got to complete this race! Overall I loved it, the scenery was awesome for almost all of the course (minus a quiet run along the back of the Pentagon parking lot near the end of the race which was less than ideal) and you can’t help but be in awe of all the history along the way. The crowds were fantastic and the Marines from start to finish were helpful and kind. I’d highly recommend both the marathon and 50k, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire weekend!

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    The crowds were fantastic throughout. Running through Georgetown, on the Mall, etc, was a fantastic experience. Loved the finisher's medal, too! The stretch from mile ~20 to mile ~22 (the … MORE

    The crowds were fantastic throughout. Running through Georgetown, on the Mall, etc, was a fantastic experience. Loved the finisher’s medal, too! The stretch from mile ~20 to mile ~22 (the bridge & freeway from DC over to Crystal City in VA) was uninspiring at a tough spot in the race, but once again the crowds in Crystal City were awesome.

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    runhappylvt FIRST-TIMER '22

    Started out rough - not sure if the organization in the morning was lacking a little since it's been a few years since the race has been a live event, … MORE

    Started out rough – not sure if the organization in the morning was lacking a little since it’s been a few years since the race has been a live event, but I (and seemed like many others) had some trouble getting to the parking in Crystal City as roads were still being closed as we were arriving. The shuttle drop off is a little ways from the start which is fine, but something to be prepared for. Bag dropoff was seamless. My biggest complaint was that for such a huge race, there should have been a wave start but everyone started at the same time. Lots of congestion for many miles. Water and food stops were great, really appreciated the apple sauce stop! Spectators, signs, and scenery did not disappoint.
    Three post-race complaints: 1) Lots of congestion in narrow hospitality walk, 2) Bag pickup was further than I’d have preferred, and 3) The shuttle back to parking… I am fairly certain the driver had no idea where he was going and once he finally got moving in the correct direction, dropped us off several blocks from the garage

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    mikeyseymour FIRST-TIMER '22

    This race should be on every American marathoner's bucket list! Here's what's amazing: the course runs by every iconic landmark in the area you can think of (Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln … MORE

    This race should be on every American marathoner’s bucket list! Here’s what’s amazing: the course runs by every iconic landmark in the area you can think of (Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol etc.). There are Marines everywhere handing out water, fuel, and putting a medal on you when you finish. It was such a humbling moment when a Marine was congratulating me on a job well done. The race runs smoothly. I wasn’t sure how the start would go since there were no waves and it’s a large race. It went fine. People self-select their pace. I ran a 4 hour marathon and ran in the 4 hour group and had no issues. There are plenty of water and fuel stations. I didn’t bring a water bottle or fuel. You don’t need it.

    Tips I recommend: take the Metro to and from the race. It’s easy, the Pentagon stop is a short walk from the starting line. Bring warm clothes you can discard. The race is at the end of October and waiting for a while ahead of the race starting can get chilly. The expo line was REALLY long on Saturday at noon. I waited in line for 75 minutes to get in. It isn’t particularly crowded, I think the bag checks is what slowed things down. Either get there right when it opens on Saturday, go Friday instead, or have your bib mailed to you. The finish line is right by an awesome Marines statute (I believe it’s a famous image from Iwo Jima). Definitely get your picture taken there!

    This is marathon #22 for me and Marine Corps is tied with NYC for my favorite of them all. HIGHLY recommend!

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    jthart52 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Dont let the fly over make you run 1.5 minutes faster per mile then you should haha. Also be prepared for the mile 20 rolling bridge. Can confirm that it … MORE

    Dont let the fly over make you run 1.5 minutes faster per mile then you should haha. Also be prepared for the mile 20 rolling bridge. Can confirm that it is as brutal as everyone says.

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    igor31 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Pretty flat but there was no Biofreeze anywhere which made it so tough for me. Crowd support is not major level, but was pretty good. Blue mile is very emotional. MORE

    Pretty flat but there was no Biofreeze anywhere which made it so tough for me. Crowd support is not major level, but was pretty good. Blue mile is very emotional.

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    csimpson99 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Cannot recommend this race enough. Pouring rain aside, this was a wonderful experience from start to finish. As you would expect, the Marines put on a first class event. So … MORE

    Cannot recommend this race enough. Pouring rain aside, this was a wonderful experience from start to finish. As you would expect, the Marines put on a first class event. So well organized, they plan out different options to get you to the start and provide excellent directions for spectators to come watch you along the way. Running in DC and Virginia in the fall… couldn’t ask for a prettier venue. And…they still send me birthday wishes.

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    FearTheTurtle REPEAT RUNNER '19

    The Marines know how to run a race. I have run 8 MCMs and 1 virtual (2020). There is a lot to like. Very enthusiastic crowds. Fantastic scenery. Run past … MORE

    The Marines know how to run a race. I have run 8 MCMs and 1 virtual (2020). There is a lot to like. Very enthusiastic crowds. Fantastic scenery. Run past national monuments. The Blue Mile where you run past the pictures of fallen soldiers is very moving. I would highly recommend this race to anyone. It is a great first-timers event.

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    Mell REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is my all time favorite. This was my 6th year running it. Packet pickup has gotten more organized over the years. The 50k organization was flawless considering it … MORE

    This race is my all time favorite. This was my 6th year running it. Packet pickup has gotten more organized over the years. The 50k organization was flawless considering it was the inaugural year. The patriotic energy from the other participants and the Marines on course is out of this world. This year was torrential rain but there were just as many spectators cheering us on as any other year. The views in D.C. on course are great. It is great to stay at a hotel in Crystal City as there are lots of hotels within walking distance of the shuttles to the start line in the morning and when you finish you are already on your hotel side, makes things a little easier. The course is congested so don’t consider this is the one to easily PR, just enjoy yourself!

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    pkroon REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Being one of the fortunate ones to nab a registration for the inaugural MCM 50K set me on a path to run my first ultramarathon. I have run the marathon … MORE

    Being one of the fortunate ones to nab a registration for the inaugural MCM 50K set me on a path to run my first ultramarathon. I have run the marathon here twice already and was glad to have the opportunity to be a part of something new and historical in the nation’s capital.

    Race day morning was as wet as they come. A steady rain soaked us even before getting to the start, and then the downpour greeted us soon out of the gates. There were standing puddles that just couldn’t be avoided, and one part of the path near Hains Point was totally submerged. But I suppose these sort of things didn’t dampen our spirits but helped us to strengthen our resolve. Despite the rain, I felt there was a great crowd support, and of course the Marines at the aid stations were fantastic.

    My experience in the early miles was totally different from last year where I couldn’t get my pace locked in until mile 4 because of the slower runners ahead of me. I learned from that and made sure to get to the Metro when they opened (it’s nearly a two-mile walk from the station to the start, so plan ahead as the trains are jammed and it takes longer than you might think.) This time around, the 50K runners had a 30min head start, and due to being able to start near the front I had complete ability to run the line I wanted until the course rejoined at mile 10. I enjoyed the early course detour on an out-and-back in Georgetown along the C&O Canal, but at the conjoining point it was a struggle to navigate through the marathoners who at that point were already quite a bit slower than my pace (I was doing 6:45 pace and I mixed in with the 8:00 runners.) I can imagine it was even more difficult for the pack behind me as the streets were more densely packed.

    Besides those points, the 50K really only had separate distance signs on the 10K splits, plus a unique mat to get the 26.2 split. We had to mentally add 4.87 to the marathon mile markers or wait for the next big black banner. Charging the hill, hearing my name announced, and getting to the finish surrounded by active duty Marines was a special moment. I lowered my marathon PR by 3 minutes and achieved my goal of a sub-4 ultra, so it was a great day–literally blowing it out of the water!

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    WanackRuns FIRST-TIMER '19

    This is a great race, nice and relatively flat for an Urban Ultra race. The course runs along with the Marine Corps Marathon, starting about a half an hour prior … MORE

    This is a great race, nice and relatively flat for an Urban Ultra race. The course runs along with the Marine Corps Marathon, starting about a half an hour prior to the marathon. Get there early to get up to the starting line through all of the people going to their marathon starting corrals. The first part is the first 4ish miles of the marathon and then you have an out and back down Canal. It is a beautiful “detour”!

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    KDDidd12 FIRST-TIMER '19

    All the great sights of the marathon course plus a few extra miles along the river. Great race for the first ten miles, plenty of space and room to run. … MORE

    All the great sights of the marathon course plus a few extra miles along the river. Great race for the first ten miles, plenty of space and room to run. The merger was rough, suddenly slamming into a packed street with marathoners at a much slower pace. That threw a huge wrench in my pace and energy plan. Hopefully they’ll start the ultra runners more than 30 minutes before the marathoners next year.

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    jhtraveler REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Much of what I said in the my review last year could be repeated here. To avoid that, I'll say returning to the marathon was amazing. This is a race … MORE

    Much of what I said in the my review last year could be repeated here. To avoid that, I’ll say returning to the marathon was amazing. This is a race you need on your bucket list. While the heavy rain was not ideal, I still consider this my favorite marathon and will be back again. The Marines do an amazing job organizing the event and providing superior support from beginning to end.

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    MomRuns FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race was one of my all time favorite. Course was difficult with a hill to start and a climb up one final hill to the finish line. There was … MORE

    This race was one of my all time favorite. Course was difficult with a hill to start and a climb up one final hill to the finish line. There was torrential rain and winds for the first 13 miles, then the sun came out and it was hot! The Blue Mile was humbling with a long line of soldiers killed in action, followed by a long line of Marines holding flags for us to run under..very emotional experience. I have run a good amount of marathons, but the struggle due to weather and course difficulty made this victory all the more meaningful! I would highly recommend it. Also, if you love swag- this race shirt, long sleeve half-zip, was amazing! The expo was great with lots of vendors. I was able to find street parking for $3 for the expo, and the Hyatt in Washington was awesome- the Metro was connected to it along for easy access to the race start and finish. Still in awe of the whole experience!

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    usmchick FIRST-TIMER '19

    The weather didn't really cooperate too well at the beginning of this race. Storms blew in but after about 16 miles the sun came out. The blue shirt mile is … MORE

    The weather didn’t really cooperate too well at the beginning of this race. Storms blew in but after about 16 miles the sun came out. The blue shirt mile is very humbling and the sites you get to see around the city are amazing!! I highly recommend this race to anyone who ever wanted to run a marathon!! This was my first and I can definitely say, it was WELL WORTH IT!

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    For the second year in a row, I traveled to Washington, D.C. on the last weekend in October to run the Marine Corps Marathon. This year was different from last … MORE

    For the second year in a row, I traveled to Washington, D.C. on the last weekend in October to run the Marine Corps Marathon.

    This year was different from last because this year I ran the race with my hubby Bill, my friend Nancy (it was her 99th marathon), and another friend Dennis. Dennis had run the Marine Corps Marathon 30 times before but not since 2007. He wanted to attempt to run it one last time at age 78.

    I really like the race shirt this year. It is a black quarter-zip with the phrase “Courage is Endurance for One Moment More” emblazoned on the back.

    Race day dawned gray and rainy, but we were prepared. We brought hats, throw-away shirts, and rain ponchos, which we donned before setting out for our 1-mile walk to the race start before sunrise.

    In the Marine Corps Marathon, there are three checkpoints – at miles 17, 20, and 22. In order to beat the gauntlet at mile 17, you must maintain approximately a 15 minutes per mile pace.

    The first few miles were good. We ran-walked and maintained an acceptible pace. Then we turned into Rock Creek Park. The rain, which had been light up until then, became much heavier and Dennis’ knees started acting up. He began to have trouble sustaining the necessary speed.

    Please continue reading here:
    https://meditationsinmotion.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/marine-corps-marathon-2019-version/

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    Shak38 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Here is my recap of the Marine Corps Marathon: The expo was just so-so. It wasn't that convenient to get to and they had very little branded merchandise to buy. … MORE

    Here is my recap of the Marine Corps Marathon:
    The expo was just so-so. It wasn’t that convenient to get to and they had very little branded merchandise to buy. No pint glasses, no stickers, no ornaments, no magnets, no coffee mugs, no 50K items. This was a missed opportunity for sure. The race shirts had a good design but were cheaply made by a no-name company. Brooks did have some cool shirts to buy, just not a large selection. There weren’t that many companies at the expo and not a whole lot of things to buy. I believe only one booth sold running essentials such as gels, shoes, etc. that you might have forgot.

    We stayed at the Double-Tree by the Pentagon which was very convenient to the Runner’s Village. The UPS trucks were conveniently located and bag drop-off was a breeze. We got to the start line and it was just a mass of people with no corrals and just a big push to get across and start running.

    The actual race itself, from start line to finish line was INCREDIBLE (barring that you didn’t know where the finish line was because the blow-up arch had electrical issues) and the course was extremely crowded the entire way. I felt sorry for the wheelchair or stroller athletes because of the burden of getting around. The marines were great and the course was interesting to see. Spectator support was incredible and I even had a shot of Fireball in Crystal City (highly recommended). There were random people giving out Halloween candy which made me smile. The rain was brutal but that can’t be helped. Running the Blue Mile was everything and more. I actually thought I was going to break down – it was that emotional.

    After the finish line and getting the medal from a marine (way too cool), there was nothing but problems. You could barely walk out of the finish line area – it was so crowded. They only had photographers in that very first section. I missed the area to get my boxed lunch and then swam upstream through the crowd to grab it. That was pointless because all it contained was a bag of pretzels, a fruit cup and some random honey packs or sport beans! What?!? I walked through the madness to the family meet-up that was down at the bottom of the hill (made worse because my last name starts with S). After that I had to walk back up the hill and down another street to grab my bag (also one of the last trucks because my projected time was slow). We went back up that hill to look for beer. Luckily we brought a credit card because there was a Famous Dave’s food truck. We found the beer finally but at that point we decided to bag it and head to the Metro. My watch had 34 miles of time on my feet on it from the time we left the hotel to the time we returned….ouch!

    Even with all the above complaining, I would still recommend this race to EVERYONE! I can’t put into words how joyful my heart was running this race. There was no politics – just patriotism and love. We were united in the love of our country, the love of the countries joining us and the love of running. It was beautiful.

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