Or catch a runner in action from the sidelines. Known as the best marathon for beginners, it’s also the world’s largest that doesn’t offer prize money, earning its nickname, “The People’s Marathon.” The iconic and scenic course through Arlington and Washington, DC, is managed by the U.S. Marines.
Whether you’re a competitor or just cheering for one, you will enjoy a robust weekend of events including distance runs for all ages, festive parties, dining celebrations and acclaimed expert speakers. Some events are free, others require advance registration and purchase of tickets.
Attracting 30,000 runners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 50 countries, the marathon promotes physical fitness, generates community goodwill and showcases the organizational skills of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Health & Fitness Expo
The weekend opens on Friday with the free Health & Fitness Expo at the DC Armory with the Marine Corps Quantico Band, the Marine Corps Color Guard and more. Explore more than 100,000 square feet of exhibits and booths. Sample nutritious food, try out the latest exercise equipment, test-drive technology, explore recovery products, take health screenings and buy MCM-branded merchandise from apparel to art.
Sunday sees three races. Bigger than big, the MCM50K is the largest ultramarathon in the country and the only one held entirely in an urban setting. Participants share the start line with the MCM in Arlington directly adjacent to the Pentagon. They set out just prior to the MCM and run the entire MCM course with a 4.87-mile diversion after crossing the Key Bridge from Virginia into the nation’s capital.
The MCM10K takes place on the same day. It sends runners on a 6.2-mile course through Arlington, starting on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and finishing in stride with MCM runners at the iconic U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington.
The MCM itself sends runners on a 26.2-mile mission to “charge the district, beat the bridge and take the Iwo.” The spectacular start features a color guard, national anthem, special guests and international flags from all nations represented in the field.
MCM Finish Festival
After posing for their Insta-photos in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial, finishers from all three races proceed to downtown Rosslyn for the MCM Finish Festival, a short walk from the MCM finish line. There they can reunite with supporters, recover with a free massage, enjoy a beer and see live musical performances.
The weekend also offers countless opportunities to enjoy the history, culture and fun of Arlington. You’ll find world-class dining, shopping and nightlife as well as national treasures such as the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.