Arlington, VA

The Marine Corps Marathon will be held virtually this year, race organizers announced today.

The October marathon usually involves miles of closed streets, tens of thousands of runners grouped together, and large festivals in Rosslyn and Crystal City. That will not be the case for 2020.

Due to the “ongoing public health concerns and the guidelines of local governments,” participants will instead be asked to run 26.2 miles on their own in order to receive their finisher medal, organizers said. Previously, the companion MCM10K and MCM Kids Run were made virtual-only, while the main event was still set to be run on Sunday, Oct. 25.

“We explored various approaches to safely execute a live event and held numerous meetings with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials,” Rick Nealis, director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO), said in a press release today. “We understand this is disappointing news for many, but we could no longer envision a way to gather together in compliance with safety guidelines. While we are unable to celebrate in-person this October, we are excited about the opportunity to bring the 45th anniversary event to the homes of runners around the world through a rewarding and engaging virtual experience.”

“Health and safety are our top priorities during this challenging time,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “The Marine Corps Marathon is a treasured event and tradition in our community that Arlingtonians look forward to each year. As we celebrate the race’s 45th anniversary this year, we will be enthusiastically and virtually cheering on each runner. We can’t wait to welcome these dedicated athletes and fans back to Arlington in person in 2021.”

More from a press release:

The virtual MCM Weekend events including the MCM, MCM10K, MCM50K and the MCM Semper Fun Mile must be completed between October 1 – November 10, the Marine Corps Birthday. All participants will receive the corresponding participant shirt, commemorative bib, patch and/or finisher medal. Runners will also have access to an online event program, personalized finisher certificate, the MCM Audio Experience and several new digital engagement platforms.

Further instructions and a link to the registration change form will be sent this week to the e-mail address provided by participants during registration. The deadline for currently registered runners to take action on the change form is August 5, 2020.

Runners currently in the live MCM or MCM50K category have the option to:

  • Defer entry to a future year (2021, 2022 or 2023) of the runner’s choice at no additional fee; These runners will have a guaranteed virtual entry available for purchase for 24 hours following initiation of the deferment process.
  • Request a full registration refund including carbo dining tickets and bib mail out, if purchased.

Runners who already deferred to a future year and paid a deferment fee will receive an automatic refund of the $30 fee and have the option to:

  • Remain deferred for 2021, 2022 or 2023; or
  • Request a full registration refund including carbo dining tickets and bib mail out, if purchased.

Runners who previously transferred directly from the live to the virtual event have the option to:

  • Request a partial refund of the registration fee minus the $45 virtual entry fee; or
  • Cancel registration and request a full registration refund including carbo dining tickets and bib mail out, if purchased.

Virtual event registration is open to the public. Entry fees are $45 for the MCM and MCM50K; $33 for the MCM10K; and $20 for the Semper Fun Mile.

Refunds of registration fees will be processed beginning on August 6, 2020 and may take between four to six weeks. Processing fees will not be refunded.

In addition to marking its 45th anniversary, this year’s MCM commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima by featuring actual volcanic ash collected at that site within the event medal.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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