As a 15 year veteran runner of the Marine Corps Marathon, it’s always held a special place in my heart. While MCM is by no means an easy course, it is steeped in history, lined with spectators, and the best seat in the house on the fourth Sunday in October.
Boasting nearly 21,000 marathon finishers in 2011, Marine Corps is indeed a crowded affair. Your race here doesn’t start when the gun goes off, but much earlier in the morning. Training may be key to your best running performance, but being prompt – and even early – for subways, bag drop and corrals will make your experience markedly better.
While the start of the race is at 8:00 am, most runners take the subway to the Pentagon or Rosslyn stations. What many runners new to Marine Corps don’t realize is that they then face a walk of nearly a mile to the actual starting village – and with the crowds and darkness of morning, it’s often a very SLOW walk. To get in your corral comfortably – without too much pushing, shoving and crowding - you should be headed down or IN the corral no later than 7:15. That means bag drop by 7:00 am, which means arriving at the Pentagon or Rosslyn stations no later than 6:30 am. Plan accordingly – it may mean an earlier wake-up call than you’d hoped, but that extra hour will save tremendous amounts of pre-race stress.