Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon Info and Fun Facts

The 26th Marine Corps Marathon is this weekend. On Sunday morning 30,000 runners cover 26.2 miles around the District and Virginia, testing out MCM’s new course. And it’s not just a marathon - a total of 43,000 runners are registered to participate in the Marathon, 10K, and Healthy Kids Fun Run.  

This post is a mixture of useful information and fun facts for both runners and spectators. If you’re racing this weekend – good luck!

An average of one third of the MCM's annual 30,000 runner race field is comprised of first time marathons. If you’re a first timer, you can register for the First Timers Pep Rally on Friday, October 28 for an MCM Expert Panel Q&A, great music, cheerleaders, and giveaways.
  • The course records are held by Maryland native Jeff Scuffins, 2:14:01 (1987), and Russian Olga Markova 2:37:00 (1990).
  • Last year’s winners were J. Bradosky, (Lt. USAF) from Centerville, OH in 2:23:30, and Janet Cherobon, Rome, GA in 2:39:19.

This year over 400 service members overseas will participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. Called the MCM Forward event, the satellite races will include 405 stationed in Afghanistan, 5  runners in Iraq, and 31 Sailors aboard the USS Bush.
 “MCM Forward offers the opportunity for service members on deployment to train and run the MCM who could not otherwise do so and receive the same medal as those finishers at the Marine Corps War Memorial,” says Rick Nealis MCM Director. (read more)
Can you imagine running a marathon on a treadmill on a ship? Or training in a desert in Afghanistan? Clearly, I’m impressed.

  • Why the nickname "The People's Marathon”? Because MCM is the largest marathon in the world that doesn't offer prize money, so it caters more to the people than the professionals.

If you’re more of a marathon spectator (like me), MCM offers some really cool runner tracking tools:
  1. There’s the Mobile Locator, which is essentially a web application to help you find yourself, locate mile markers, aid and water stations, etc. on the course. The website is
  2. And for the first time, MCM is offering runner tracking through social media. "By registering for a new runner tracking program, available on the MCM website, runners and spectators will be able to receive continuous updates as an individual runner reaches the 10K, 20K, 30K and 40K splits and across the MCM finish. These updates can be automatically posted on a runner’s personal Facebook and Twitter page, or they can be received via email or over SMS text messaging." 
Be sure to hit up the Expo to pick up your packet and check out the free stuff, merchandise, raffles, and speakers offered. It’s free and open to the public from Oct. 27 through Oct. 29 at the DC Armory located at 2001 E. St. SE. 
  • How the MCM it start?  Colonel Jim Fowler had an idea back in 1975. "After the Vietnam War, popularity of the military services declined in the eyes of many. At the same time, distance running was gaining considerable positive attention." 
  • The first MCM was held on 7 November 1976 and welcomed 1,175 participants.

The new course is only slightly tweaked from past races. The elevation profile is still hilly at the beginning and a bit at the end, so don't go out too hard and kill yourself in the first couple miles.

This is a great list: 8 Things You Need to Know about the MCM:
1. Look up about 7:30 a.m. You won’t want to miss the spectacle of a low-flying fixed-wing plane and the two tandem jump teams that kick off the race. Awesome.3. Double-fist the oranges between mile markers 9 and 10 – they’re surprisingly refreshing.
7. When you’re at your most miserable and every fiber of your body is screaming “QUIT!” between miles 25 and 26, look to your left and consider the fallen soldiers at Arlington Cemetery. Yeah. It’s powerful.8. Thank each and every Marine along the course – not only for giving you the opportunity to have such a life-changing experience but also for their service to our country. None of it would be possible without them. (Read the full list here.)

For more tools, info, race-prep and race weekend information, check out MCM's website