Seven Ways to Get Into the MCM

Marine Corps Marathon registration

One of the top questions asked by runners on MCM social media accounts is "how can I get into the MCM?" There are numerous answers to that question but the bottom line is- if a runner wants into the MCM, there's nothing to stop him or her from obtaining a spot on the start line on October 28.

Here are the options for runners to register for the 43rd MCM:

1-Four Star Registration. Everything needed for an enjoyable MCM Weekend is bundled in this registration package. Includes options for one or two MCM entries, hotel room at the Gaylord National Resort, event tickets including the MCM Hall of Fame Dinner, shuttle transportation, pre- and post-event hospitality and more. A limited number of Four Star packages are available now.

2-MCM Lottery. The main point of access for participants to enter the MCM is through the registration lottery. The registration form will be available to would-be participants for nine days beginning on March 21. The final date to enter the Lottery is March 28. While filling out the Lottery form, runners may opt to purchase Carbo Dining In pasta party tickets; special Brooks MCM training apparel including a limited edition first timer shirt; or the runcoach marathon training program. No charges will incur until the runner is officially registered for the MCM on March 29, the official notification day. If a runner doesn't get in through the Lottery, the individual will not incur any charges.

3-Charity Partners. Runners may skip the Lottery and lock on a spot by dedicating participation in the MCM to a specific MCM Charity Partner. More than 90 organizations with causes ranging from health to military support to international causes have partnered with the MCM and hold blocks of entries. Runners may choose an organization that resonates with them personally and can contact that charity group directly through the MCM charity partner web page. Runners will be asked by these charity partners to raise funds in return for a guaranteed spot in the MCM. Charity options will be unveiled on March 29.

4-Transfer. Ask yourself, "do I feel lucky?" This option leaves participation a little more to chance but has still worked out for many hundreds of runners every year. Beginning on July 11, runners who are registered for the MCM but will be unable to participate may officially transfer their entry to a non-registered runner. Most often, these connections are made on the MCM Facebook page. The MCM doesn't broker the transfer so would-be runners must seek out and connect with transferring runners to execute this transaction. A small fee and completion of a couple online forms are required as part of this process.

5-Active Duty Registration. Active Duty and Reserve members of the military can register for the MCM early and save 15 percent thanks to GEICO, proud sponsor of the MCM. Only those currently serving our country can take advantage of early access between March 1-14 and ensure participation in the MCM. While the MCM appreciates everyone who previously served our country and the military families of those currently in service, this special program extends only to Active Duty and Reservists.

6-MCM Runners Club. Runners who have finished the MCM five or more times are eligible to join the MCM Runners Club. This exclusive group is celebrated by receiving guaranteed access to the MCM annually through a special email invitation to register prior to the Lottery opening. Individuals who qualify must be signed up for the Club by February 14 each year to qualify for that year's special registration opportunity.

7-Marine Corps 17.75K. All finishers of the 11.03 mile event held on March 24 in Prince William Forest just outside Marine Corps Base Quantico receive a guaranteed entry to the MCM. The challenge is getting a spot in this 3,000 participant field. Registration for the Marine Corps 17.75K opens on February 21 at 11 a.m. and should sell out with a speed matched only by a Taylor Swift concert. This is the most earn-your-stripes, run-your-way-in option.

And, as this is being written, MCM organizers are considering adding another exciting option to offer access to this year's MCM. More to come should this plan be enacted. For now, study the options and make a plan to #RunWithTheMarines. You got this.