MCM spectators have proven highly successful in their ability to motivate and cheer for loved ones, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers. Bring signs and a plan to best navigate the sidelines of the "The People's Marathon."
Spectators can see their runner in as many as five locations on the course. With many road closures, taking the Metro or riding your bike is the best way to get around but most are walkable. Follow the plan below to optimize viewing potential and catch a runner in action!
- Location #1: Kick off the day by watching the opening ceremonies at the MCM Start Line on Route 110 in Arlington, Virginia. Access the area by Metro’s Rosslyn or Pentagon Stations.
- Location #2: After the start, take a leisurely stroll across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial in DC. Here you’ll be able to see runners at mile 8 and later, mile 14. While you wait, check out the World War II Memorial on the east side of the Reflecting Pool.
- Location #3: From the Lincoln Memorial, head east on Independence Avenue, past the Washington Monument to access the National Mall. Along with the world-famous Smithsonian museums, you’ll see runners at miles 16 and 17.
- Location #4: Next, hop on the Metro via the Smithsonian station and head to the Crystal City Station. You’ll see all the action at miles 22 and 23, plus engage in a variety of activities at Crystal City Family Festival, including live music, and plenty of fun activities in this family-friendly spectator location.
- Location #5: For the final leg of your journey, head over to the legendary Marine Corps War Memorial and the MCM Finish Line. Take Metro’s blue line to Rosslyn or the MCM shuttle from 23 Street in Crystal City. The finish line offers bleacher seating to watch the final ascent and push to the finish. Plan to reunite with runners in the family link up area at the Finish Festival in Rosslyn.
- Respect the Course. Staying clear of course boundaries. This means don't cross the course, stay on the curb or sidewalks to avoid narrowing the streets for runners, and most importantly, listen to law enforcement and Marines with regard to the best location to stand and cheer.
- Timing Is Everything. Know the runner’s projected pace per mile to aid in determining where and when they should reach certain points in the course. With the one hour expanded start time, it is essential to know when a runner crosses the start to begin the run. Best tool is to sign up for Track-A-Runner texts. Adjust projected viewing times following the first sighting of your runner.
- Getting Around by Metro. Metro is a great option to reach the far corners of the course quickly. Be aware that a weekend wait for Metro could be up to 15 minutes. Spectators should purchase a Metro One-Day Pass for an easier experience. Metro will open at 7:00 a.m. on MCM day.
- Information. Visit the MCM Info tent in the Finish Festival on the Route 50 overpass in Rosslyn, or in Runners Village in the Pentagon North Parking lot. The American Red Cross will have a medical information tent at the finish line.
- Get Noticed. It is easier for runners to find their supporters who hold a sign or banner and are wearing brightly colored clothing. Its also crucial to know a marathoner's bib number and outfit. It's an imperfect science trying to time the convergence of a runner and spectator. If you suspect you've missed each other, move to the next viewing location.
- Use www.MarineMarathon.com. Use the MCM website to determine your runner's latest split times. If family or friends can't be present to chase after their runner, refer them to the website to keep tabs on progress.
- Reunite with Runner. Runners and supporters should meet in the Family Link Up area, part of the Finish Festival in Rosslyn. Choose the first letter of the runner's last name as the pre-planned location to reunite. The link-up areas are designated by 13-foot tall, yellow towers with letters of the alphabet prominently displayed.