Marine Corps Marathon Review

My first MCM and marathon #13 was a great experience overall!

Registration for the race was in March. My sig/running partner Mark and I were lucky enough to secure bibs this year through a lottery system where we think only half the registrants got in.


The MCM was held on the last full weekend in October (the 25th). Mark and I flew down to DC on Friday night, and headed to the expo on Saturday morning for bib and t-shirt pickup. The expo was huge, one of the largest I have been to! We were able to pick up the goods and grab lunch before heading back to the hotel for a relaxing rest of the day. Dinner was at Ella’s Pizza with my cousin and his girlfriend who was also running. It was a great pre-race meal and I recommend the pizza for all DC friends!

584Walking by Washington Monument the evening before the race.

Race day: We woke up around 5am, and did the usual pre-race routine:

  • Quick hot shower
  • Application of body glide to most areas of the body
  • Dynamic and foam rolling stretches
  • Coffee
  • Banana/bagel/peanut butter pre-race meal. I also had half of a honey stinger.

After this, we were off on the metro! It was crowded but easy to get to the Pentagon stop where the race started. What we hadn’t planned for was the hour-long security line to the runners’ village at the start. MCM decided to increase security this year, and therefore 30,000 people had to go through metal detectors to gain admission to the start. Fortunately we got to this point ahead of time, but we only had 20ish minutes to use the porta pots and scurry over to the start before the guns went off.

MCM put on quite a show at the starting line with a flyover and five parachuters from the sky displaying massive American Flags. It was incredible! Soon after this moment, we were off! My goal was to just enjoy this race and take it easy, given that my previous marathon (Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT) was just six weeks prior. I hoped to finish in just under 4 hours.

FullSizeRender (1)Walk around the National Mall on the Monday after the race

Instead of writing a recap of the entire race, I’m going to write what worked what didn’t work for the race. If you are considering running MCM, take note!

What worked:

  1. The enthusiasm displayed by the Marines handing out water and along the entire course was incredible!!
  2. The race was run very well overall- loved that we could take the metro straight to the start and finish. Post-race food was great and water and Gatorade were plentiful during the entire course. Starting line had some great effects. Mile markers shown throughout the course.
  3. Crowd support along the entire race was incredible! There were a couple of areas with no spectators, but crowds did line the majority of the course.
  4. Medal, tech t-shirt, and other race swag were great.
  5. Running along the “blue mile” was incredibly memorable- this was a memorial for fallen soldiers, and their photos lined a stretch of the course.
  6. Course was overall interesting, passing many monuments and other interesting areas of DC and Arlington.
  7. Plenty of porta-potties throughout the race!
  8. My race nutrition worked well- my pre-race meal combined with three GUs and Gatorade at every other water station throughout the race kept me from bonking (for the most part!). I usually have 3-4 GUs throughout a marathon, but found 3 to be sufficient this time.
  9. Receiving my medal at the finish line from a Marine was amazing. Made me feel so hard core!

What didn’t work:

  1. Long security lines at the start did not allow us time to use the porta pots more than once, so I had to use one along the course (around mile 2). Check out‘s review on the long security lines.
  2. The pouring rain at the start until mile 8 made the beginning mentally and physically tough!
  3. The course was hillier than I had anticipated, particularly the first three miles and the last few (miles 21-22 were on a highway that was not flat), and there’s a fairly steep hill right at the end. I had not trained for this.
  4. The course was crowded throughout the entire race. There was not one moment where someone wasn’t running beside and in front of me, which resulted in a lot of zig-zagging and ultimately running over 27 miles according to the GPS. Water stations were a bit of a cluster too.

Overall, Mark and I each had a great race and would highly recommend this marathon to anyone. I met my goal of running sub-4 hours (3:58), and felt strong in the hours and days following the race. Looking forward to some rest before I start training for my next!


  1. Jes says:

    Great review! Biggest question: how was it running without music? Thanks :)


  2. janerunswild says:

    Hey Jes, thanks! I actually ran with music- it’s hard for me to run a marathon without music!


  3. Matt says:

    Great story! A lot of inspiration in your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janerunswild says:

      Thank you!! Have a great run today! 😄


  4. Lorraine says:

    Thanks for writing this informative article. I’ve been reading for a while but
    I’ve never left a comment. I’ve bookmarked your blog
    and shared this on my Twitter. Thanks again for a great post!


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