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Marine Corps Marathon, October 27th


The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) is the only marathon named solely after a branch of service, is the fourth largest marathon in the United States, the ninth largest marathon in the world, and offers no prize money, giving it the nickname of “The People’s Marathon.” In 2011, marathon registration reached capacity in two hours, 41 minutes; a world record for marathons everywhere.

Colonel Jim Fowler conceived of the idea for the Marine Corps Marathon in 1975 and worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition in 1976. With the full support of the then-Commandant of the Marine Corps Louis Wilson, Colonel Fowler wanted to promote the Marine Corps, improve and promote the Marine Corps image in the community (this was at the end of the Vietnam Era), create a better relationship with the civilian populace, and give Marines the opportunity to participate in a marathon that could qualify them for the Boston Marathon. All four have been successfully achieved.

Since its debut in 1976, the marathon has spurred the creation of several other runs, all again organized by the United States Marine Corps, all without prize money, and just like the marathon, almost always filled to capacity shortly after registration. Most events are held in the Quantico, Virginia, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas.

  • Turkey Trot-held every November, 10K for adults and a one-miler for kids
  • Run Amuck-(not associated with the national Kid’s Run Amuck) a 3.5 mile mud, obstacle and fun filled way for both kids and adults to get dirty (in separate races) during the summer
  • Gender Defender 5K-for ages 10 and up, playfully highlighting the financial, emotional, and physical reasons men and women get into (and stay in) the sport of running, held during the summer
  • Healthy Kids Run and MCM 10K-held in conjunction with the MCM, the Healthy Kids Fun Run is a one mile run held the day before the actual marathon. In the 10k, runners join the full marathoners in the last 10 K of the marathon
  • Historic Half Marathon and Semper Fred-both held in the late spring. A 5K run for kids and adults as well as a half-marathon
  • MCM Forward-a half-marathon held “forward, short for “forward operating base.” Started in 2008 and held simultaneously with the Historic Half-Marathon, this race is held in multiple bases in Kuwait and Afghanistan
  • Irish Sprint-a 10K held in March

Fun, fitness, and camaraderie abound in all of the above mentioned events. Perennially popular, expect even more running events sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps. Can I get a “hoo-rah”?

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