Going Green

The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) is a Gold certified event, the highest level awarded by the Council for Responsible Sport for being socially and environmentally responsible as a world-class running event. The MCM has been recognized for enacting best practices becoming the largest marathon at the time to earn this distinction among environmentally-conscious sporting events.


According to the Council, the MCM earned credit for both meeting and exceeding standards for Effective Planning and Communications; Procurement of products and supplies and work with partners with environmental focus; Resource Management; Public Access and Equity for all participants and for the MCM’s ongoing efforts toward building a Community Legacy.

The MCM was awarded Silver-level certification in 2009 and again in 2011. The Council awards certification every two years.

Green Stats

In conjunction with Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau, 7.33 tons of trash was collected at the MCM. Nearly 1,540 pounds of banana and orange peels were collected from runners for composting, while 7,000 plastic jugs and 2,200 cardboard boxes were recycled, preventing those items from going to a landfill.

In addition, the MCM and its partners collected 7.46 tons of clothing that were cleaned and donated to local Arlington and Washington, DC-area shelters following the Marathon. Also during MCM Weekend, visitors of the Health & Fitness Expo were encouraged to retire their high-mileage running shoes by donating them at the event. The MCM collected 650 pounds of shoes and delivered them to a program that provides providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the globe.

Leave No Trace

The MCM has partnered with Leave No Trace to encourage behavior with minimal impact on the National Parks comprising the MCM course. A set of principles were established by the MCM to guide runners at this event and others to be mindful of the environment. As 60 percent of the MCM course is located on National Park land, MCM participants and spectators will be asked to “Stash the Trash” and “Can It” throughout the event.

In addition to trash and recycling receptacles being available throughout the start and finish and along public viewing areas, the MCM and National Park will continually remind participants to run responsibly and discard trash. Large “Stash the Trash” banners will appear above the MCM course on Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and also above Ohio Drive sending a clear message to runners.

Adopt A Mile

The MCM is recruiting a few good groups for the new ‘Adopt-a-Mile’ program. This volunteer responsibility invites qualified groups to assist clean-up efforts along the Marathon course. Groups are invited to assist clean-up efforts by providing a minimum of 18 volunteers (minimum age of 10) to clean the grass and roadways of runner-discarded debris along an assigned mile of the MCM course. Each group participating in the Adopt-a-Mile program is receiving a monetary stipend for their support of the runners and U.S. Marines.

At the Finish

In partnership with Turbana, the MCM offers composting receptacles in the MCM Finish Festival located in Rosslyn, VA. Additionally, the MCM presents finishers with a reusable recovery jacket, greatly reducing the amount of trash previously generated by mylar wraps.

The MCM makes every effort to reuse banners from year- to-year reducing the waste and saving the energy needed to produce more. Additionally, relan, producers of the MCM finish line banners, reconfigure the non-reusable signage into new products including tote bags.

Arlington County will have two Water Stations set up in the Finish Festival on Marathon day on the corners of Meade Street and Arlington Blvd. and Fort Myer Drive and Wilson Blvd. making it convenient for runners to refill water bottles. Be sure to look for the ClearStream recycling containers placed throughout the Finish Festival in Rosslyn to recycle bottles from the finish line!