Every year, a wave of excitement, nerves and high energy comes over the region in October as runners head to the starting line at the Marine Corps Marathon. But, due to COVID-19 and its continuing threat to public safety, the organization is making changes to this year’s race.
On July 2, the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) launched a limited registration for the virtual Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and the MCM50K. And, for the first time in race history, runners can now register for three MCM Weekend events through a combination of virtual or live MCM, MCM50K and the virtual MCMC10K races to complete the “Trifecta.”
Those who choose to complete the Trifecta will receive a collectable coin that reads, “Bravo Zulu,” a naval signal meaning, “Well Done,” as well as the corresponding finisher medals.
For those participating in the virtual race, runs must be completed between Thursday, Oct. 1 and Tuesday, Nov. 10, the Marine Corps birthday. All virtual runners will receive the official participant shirt, commemorative bib and the finisher medal, including, for marathon runners, the 45th MCM medal featuring real volcanic ash from Iwo Jima in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the battle.
Runners will also have access to a digital event program, personalized finisher certificate and the Motigo MCM Audio Experience, which features cheers and applause to replicate would runners would hear on the real course.
Registration for the virtual MCM and MCM50K events cost $45 per entry, and MCM10K registration is $33 per entry. All registered MCM and MCM50K participants are able to choose between running live on Sunday, Oct. 25 in Arlington and DC, or transition to the virtual event.
Runners who choose to run the race in person will have to adhere to new time limits, maintaining a 12-minute-per-mile pace or faster to complete the 26.2-mile and 31-mile distances, rather than the previous benchmark of 14 minutes per mile. Runners who do not meet the required pace must defer and switch to the virtual events, which have no time limit.
“This [12-minute pace] is a difficult change but an essential one,” Rick Nealis, the MCMO director explained in a recent press release. “The need to establish new operational procedures to keep runners safe while following social distancing protocols requires rethinking the entire operational set up of the MCM. These decisions have altered the timelines and shortened the window of access to the course.”
For more information, visit marinemarathon.com.
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