MCM Course

Hosted in the nation's capital with the start and finish in Arlington, VA, the Marine Corps Marathon offers an unparalleled journey through the most recognizable landmarks in our country. Begin the run situated between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, continue through Rosslyn before journeying into the District to tour Georgetown and the National Mall on the way to 'beating the bridge.' Enter Arlington and pass the Pentagon, tour Crystal City, and finish uphill (you read that right) at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Course Details

The Marine Corps Marathon is aptly nicknamed the “Marathon of the Monuments.”

The USATF-certified 26.2 mile marathon course starts in Arlington, VA on Route 110 between Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. The course moves through Rosslyn along Lee Highway before turning on Spout Run and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Runners will experience a climb on Lee Highway in the first few miles of the course, but are rewarded with a descent along Spout Run and the Parkway.

After crossing Key Bridge into Georgetown between Miles 4 and 5, runners turn right along the renowned M Street where throngs of spectators will cheer them through the most popular area of historic Georgetown.

From M Street, MCM runners continue turning right onto Wisconsin Avenue and then left onto K Street, and continue to run on K under the Whitehurst Freeway. Runners then make a continuous loop turning right onto 27th Street, right onto I Street, right onto Virginia Avenue and finally turn right onto Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, heading north. It’s along the Parkway that MCM runners will enjoy running the beautifully tree-lined roadways and under historic stone-covered bridges before making a U-turn at the median located at Beach and Shoreham Drives.

After the U-turn, runners follow the southbound lanes of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway heading past the impressive Kennedy Center and under the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Between Miles 10 and 11, MCM participants travel parallel to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then bear left onto Ohio Drive while running under Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Runners remain right of the John Ericsson National Memorial as Ohio Drive meet Independence Avenue and then right onto Ohio Drive entering West Potomac Park.

Runners continue along the scenic Potomac River and through the emotional wear blue Mile of the course where fallen service members are commemorated in photographs along the roadway decorated with American Flags. Runners continue to move on Ohio Drive and to the very end of Hains Point, as Ohio Drive continues along the other side of the peninsula, adjacent to the East Potomac Golf Course.

MCM participants will depart the Hains Point area as the roadway splits, turning onto East Basin Drive before making a left onto Maine Avenue. Through Miles 15 and 16, MCM runners will continue all along the scenic Tidal Basin with views of the Jefferson Memorial. Runners will continue on Maine Avenue as it turns onto Independence Avenue and will head west further along the Tidal Basin crossing over the Kutz Bridge. On Independence Avenue, MCM competitors will run by the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and the FDR Memorial. MCM runners then loop back along Independence Avenue on the side closest to the National Mall and the Korean and WWII Memorials and the before making a left turn onto 15th Street at the Washington Monument.

  • All MCM participants must maintain a 14 minute-per-mile pace. At Mile 17, MCM participants will reach "the Gauntlet" in Washington, D.C. MCM participants who do not make it through the Gauntlet by 12:33 p.m. will be diverted from the certified Marathon course at Independence Avenue to 14th Street and may continue running but will not complete a 26.2 mile course. These individuals will not be recognized as official finishers.

MCM runners then continue on the course along the north side of the National Mall, with views of the National Museum of African American History and Culture; the National Museum of American History; National Museum of Natural History and then the National Art Gallery at Mile 18, before turning left onto 3rd Street.

The MCM course then moves runners right onto Constitution Avenue traveling toward the U.S. Capitol and continues to turn them right along the inside of East Capitol Circle and onto 1st Street, with impressive views of the Capitol dome.

Along the National Mall, runners turn right onto 1st Street Northwest then stay to the left of Garfield Circle, right onto Maryland Avenue and then right onto 3rd Street. At this point, runners will turn left onto Jefferson Drive past the Air and Space Museum, the historic carousel, the Smithsonian Castle and the Freer Gallery of Art. Runners then make a left turn onto 14th Street, passing the Holocaust Museum just before they “Beat the Bridge” at Mile 20.

  • “Beat the Bridge” -- All MCM participants must reach the intersection of 14 and D Streets before the 14th Street Bridge by 1:15 p.m. at Mile 20.

From Miles 20 to 21, runners will cross over the 14th Street Bridge and the scenic Potomac River as they head back into Virginia for the last 10K of the course running along Army-Navy Drive.

Then runners turn left onto 12th Street South in Crystal City.

  • All MCM participants must continue to maintain a 14 minute-per-mile pace. Here participants will reach the “Crystal City Gauntlet.” MCM participants who do not make it through the Crystal City Gauntlet by 1:49 p.m. will be diverted from the certified Marathon course at 12th South as it becomes Crystal Drive and may continue running but will not complete the 26.2 mile course. These individuals will not be recognized as official finishers.

The official MCM course continues along Crystal Drive where the vibrant colors and energy of the Crystal City Family Festival will be on display. From Crystal Drive, runners will turn into the Crystal Park Tower and exit the driveway again onto Crystal Drive. Runners then turn right onto Long Bridge Drive, parallel to the scenic park, and bear left onto Boundary Channel Drive toward the Pentagon.

From here, MCM participants turn left onto Connector Road and head back onto Route 110.

The MCM course unfurls alongside Arlington National Cemetery then, after turning left onto Marshall Drive, offers a final up-hill challenge to the finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial!

Road Closures

All 3:30 a.m. times reflect the closing of the start/finish corridor north of Rosslyn and south of the Pentagon.

The initial closing time allows approximately 30 minutes prior to the lead hand cyclists beginning the MCM at precisely 7:40 a.m.

The opening times reflects the last “official” runner crossing a particular location plus clean-up.

Straggler buses will follow “Rear Pace” (14 minute per mile) to collect runners who are unable to maintain the maximum pace.

Local jurisdictions will reopen the roads as soon as event operations cease, with the MCM course officially closing by 3:10 p.m.

View Road Closures

Water Points

Pre-MCM: At the Runners Village Info Tent located in the North Pentagon parking lot.
WP 1: Eastbound Lee Highway between Wayne and Adams Streets.
WP 2: Intersection of M and 33rd Streets, NW, in Georgetown.
WP 3/4: Along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway at grassy median. Water Point #3 is located in northbound lanes; Water Point #4 is located in southbound lanes.
WP 5/7: Independence Avenue and Ohio Drive SW at West Potomac Park.
WP 6: Ohio Drive SW parking area near the end of Hains Point.
WP 8: At Madison Drive NW and 12th Street NW along the National Mall.
WP 9: At Jefferson Drive SW and 7th Street SW along the National Mall.
WP 10: Near Army-Navy Drive at Eads Street. (Water Point #10 also supports the MCM10K).
WP 11:Along Long Bridge Drive in soccer complex parking lot.
WP 12: At Lady Bird Johnson parking area on Boundary Channel Drive, in the North Pentagon parking area.
Post-MCM: On the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial access road, prior to the post-Marathon Hospitality Area

Gatorade Endurance Formula

Lemon-Lime Gatorade Endurance Formula will be available on course at all water points. Endurance Formula has two times the sodium and three times the potassium of traditional Gatorade. Newly reformulated, it now contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners and has a new, lighter flavor.

Aid Stations

AS 1: Francis Scott Key Park at the corner of Key bridge and M Street
AS 2/3: Along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway below Waterside Drive
AS 4/6: Independence Ave SW and Ohio Drive SW in West Potomac Park at the Ericksson Memorial
AS 5: Ohio and Buckeye Drive SW underneath the I395 overpass (Case Bridge) on the Washington Channel side of East Potomac Park
AS 7: East of the intersection of 14th Street NW and Madison Drive NW, in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
AS 8: Jefferson Drive SW and 12th Street SW at the Department of Agriculture
AS 9: Eads Street Parking lot at Army/Navy Drive
AS 10: Intersection of Long Bridge Drive and Boundary Channel Drive

  • Medical Tents are located on the Marine Corps War Memorial Circle and near the Netherlands Carillion.
  • Medical Information tent is located at the intersection of Lynn Street and Fairfax Drive. Medical personnel will track runners and record medical data to ensure timely updates are available to families of runners receiving assistance.

Food Stations

  • Oranges: west side of Rock Creek Parkway at Thompson's boat house after Virginia Avenue at Mile 7. Thanks Wegmans!
  • CLIF SHOT Energy Gel: at Ohio Drive before Water Point 6, at the end of Hains Point in East Potomac Park betweens Miles 12 and 13. CLIF SHOT Energy Gel (gluten free) is the fastest way to top off your energy tank during training and racing. Available on course in 5 great flavors - Vanilla, Razz, Citrus, Mocha and Double Expresso, CLIF SHOT Energy Gel is loaded with essential electrolytes to give you fast-acting energy on the go. Made with organic ingredients, and never any preservatives, you'll get the streamlined nutrition you need to perform your best. Stop by the CLIF Bar booth at the Expo to try all the flavors before event day!
  • Jelly Belly Sport Beans: at the intersection of Jefferson Dr SW and 4 Street SW along the National Mall to WP 9 before Mile 19. Sport Beans™ jelly beans (gluten free) are formulated with electrolytes, carbohydrates and vitamins B and C to sustain and replenish energy during intense exercise. This revolutionary product maximizes performance and ensures ideal portion control, with four delicious flavors that will keep you going.
  • Animal Crackers: located on 6th Street South in Crystal City near Mile 24. Thanks Sodexo!

Entertainment

The Marine Corps Marathon features a wide variety of musical entertainment throughout the course. From the first mile to the last, runners and spectators are treated to inspiring artists, motivating music and exciting entertainment.

  • Mile 1. Set-up Duo
  • Mile 2. Vandelays
  • Mile 4. Equals Conquest
  • Mile 4. Rockville High School Pipe Band
  • Mile 4. Georgetown University Pep Band
  • Mile 4. Working 4 You Peacock Zone from NBC4
  • Mile 5. Big Bag Juju
  • Mile 5. Panic on the Vibe
  • Mile 6. The Melonheads
  • Mile 9. Yorktown Yahoos
  • Mile 12. wear blue Mile
  • Mile 14. Stafford High School Cheer.
  • Mile 15. Monacan HS Marching Chiefs
  • Mile 15. Salvation Army National Capital Band
  • Mile 17. Spotsylvania High School
  • Mile 18. In Step Entertainment
  • Mile 18. Bruiser
  • Mile 19. Columbia Heights
  • Mile 19. Batala at Beat the Bridge
  • Mile 20. Greenville County High School
  • Mile 21. USMC Band of Brothers
  • Mile 22. Crystal City Family Festival
  • Mile 22. Fusebox Radio/DJ Fusion
  • Mile 22. Brad Doggett
  • Mile 23. Moonliscious
  • Mile 25. DJ Manny
  • Roving. Mr. Incredible

For additional information about performing at the MCM, please contact Sandra Osborn-Peters at sandra.osborn-peters@usmc-mccs.org or 703.784.2357

wear blue Mile

The iconic on-course experience at the MCM is the wear blue Mile. Located along Haines Point at mile 11 of the MCM course, every step honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. The wear blue Mile is comprised of 225 Faces of the Fallen posters with a photograph and name of each fallen military member. Alongside each poster is an American flag draped with a black ribbon, bearing the name of a fallen military member. A volunteer, often fellow military or families of the fallen service members, holds each flag. The wear blue Mile is a moving tribute and a sobering segment of the Marathon course, intended to honor and humanize those who gave their lives for this country.

Course Map

Hosted in the nation's capital with the start and finish in Arlington, VA, the Marine Corps Marathon offers an unparalleled journey through the most recognizable landmarks in our country.

View Map

Start Line

The Start Line is uniquely situated between the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery – the location offers a distinct reminder to runners that this is not just any marathon.

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Medical

The MCM deploys a combination of volunteer medical personnel and sponsor partners to best support runner safety and care.

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