Established in 1976, the Marine Corps Marathon has grown to one of the largest marathons in the United States. If you’re looking for an inclusive fall marathon that lets you experience the rich history of Washington DC, look no further than the MCM.
While the Marine Corps Marathon (also known as MCM, the USMC Marathon, or the Marine Marathon) rivals many of the World Marathon Majors in size, it’s distinguished by the fact that it does not offer prize money at the event. Instead, it was created to promote goodwill among the military services and the civilian community and encourage physical fitness. In its debut year there were 1,175 runners, making it the largest first-time marathon in the United States.
The Marine Corps Marathon offers all the amenities you would expect at this type of event including impeccable organization, but is uniquely supported by active duty Marines assisting in the race from start to finish. Aside from the marathon, there is also a 10k that starts on the Mall and has the same finish as the marathon, and a 50k that follows the marathon route with an additional 5 mile out and back section.
Race Director Alex Hetherington on the Marine Corps Marathon
This week on the podcast is Alex Hetherington, race director for the Marine Corps Marathon. Alex is not your typical race director – he is a retired Marine aviator and was a member of the All-Marine running team from 1995-2009, including a win at the inaugural Armed Forces Marathon Championship in 1998. Prior to becoming race director in 2022, Alex spent five years as the Show Director of the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition.
Alex has run the Marine Corps Marathon an astounding 27 times, so he is intimately familiar with the entire race experience. Our conversation focuses on what you can expect from this year’s race, including getting to the start, the course layout, and how to navigate the post-race activities.
We cover the details of the event that are essential to runners, including:
- What makes the MCM so special, and why it is referred to as “The People’s Marathon”
- Why there is no “typical” weather for MCM
- The importance of planning pre-race logistics to get to the starting area
- How the newest race sponsors help support its environmental ethic
- Locations of hills on the course and how to tackle them
- How the course layout helps runners runners approach it in segments
- Fueling and hydration options and pace group support
- Unique aspects of the race, including support from active duty Marines throughout
Alex’s knowledge and love for this marathon permeates our conversation. Although this year’s event is sold out, definitely consider the Marine Corps Marathon experience for the years ahead!
Links & Resources from the Show:
- Follow the Marine Corps Marathon on Instagram and Facebook
- Learn more about the Marine Corps Marathon
- Watch more about the Marine Corps Marathon on YouTube
- Want to PR your next marathon?
Thank you Lagoon!
Our newest sponsor is Lagoon, maker of the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever used. And that’s no hyperbole. I’m pleasantly surprised every night I lie down because this pillow is just perfect for me. Since I know that sleep is the #1 recovery tool at my disposal, I’m taking it a lot more seriously.
I took their sleep quiz to find the right pillow for my body size and sleeping position at. It only takes 2 minutes and you’ll find the type of pillow that will work best for you. I’m using the Fox and absolutely loving it. A big reason why is because it’s adjustable.
Since you can add or remove fill to get your alignment right, it’s a great way to optimize the most important way you can become a better runner that isn’t training: sleep. We all know how important sleep is. It’s the best recovery tool that you have at your disposal – better than compression, ice, heat, massage, or anything else you can think of. Sleep is when the magic happens and your sleep quality matters.
Take your rest and recovery to the next level with Lagoon and get 15% off your purchase with code strengthrunning here.
Thank you DrinkLMNT!
A big thanks to DrinkLMNT for their support of this episode! They make electrolyte drinks for athletes and low-carb folks with no sugar, artificial ingredients, or colors. They are offering a free gift with your purchase at DrinkLMNT. And this does NOT have to be your first purchase. You’ll get a sample pack with every flavor so you can try them all before deciding what you like best.
DrinkLMNT’s products have some of the highest sodium concentrations that you can find. Anybody who runs a lot knows that sodium, as well as other electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, are essential to our performance and how we feel throughout the day.
My favorite flavor is watermelon salt, but citrus salt is also a banger. I’m drinking one a day now to help me get enough fluids in our dry Colorado air. It’s tasty and delicious and I find that I’m not peeing every 45 minutes throughout the day, which might be an indication I wasn’t eating enough sodium.
There’s now mounting evidence that higher sodium intake levels are not unhealthy – and athletes need substantially more than your typical sedentary person. Of course, ask your doctor if you’re worried. But for those athletes running outside in the heat, an electrolyte replacement makes a lot of sense. So check out DrinkLMNT to try their new flavor or get a free sampler pack.