13.1 Reasons to Run the Historic Half

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For many runners, the half marathon has become a go-to goal and it’s not hard to see why. Regardless of your running experience, 13.1 miles is a challenging but a manageable and fun distance to achieve and train for. You can find training plans that don’t take up too much of your personal time and energy but still set you up for success while earning bragging rights!

If you’re contemplating participating in a full marathon or just ramping up to a new distance, here are 13.1 reasons why the Marine Corps Historic Half is a great primer or an ideal stand-alone distance.

1-You Get to #RunWithTheMarines. Organized by the men and women of the United States Marine Corps, runners have three options to run with the Marines during Historic Half Weekend. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon distance, runners may choose from the 5-mile Semper 5ive and the 18.1-mile Devil Dog Double, which combines both event courses for the reward of earning three medals. From start to finish and all points in between, the Marines are there to support and motivate you.

2-You Get to Explore a New Location. The Historic Half Marathon takes place in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As the home of George Washington and James Monroe and the site of both the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, Fredericksburg’s rich history dates back to the beginnings of our country. Come for the run, stay for the history and make it a run-cation. Extend your trip for a couple days to explore the shops, restaurants and sites of downtown Fredericksburg area and take in the local attractions pre- or post-event.

3-A Spectacular Course. The course takes runners through historic downtown, along the scenic Rappahannock riverside path and past significant landmarks and battlefields, which enhances the running experience and seems to reduce the burden of miles. You paid for the run, but the historic tour is free.

4-Great Preparation for the Full. “The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph!” are famous words of a former Fredericksburg local and first president of the United States, George Washington. If you’re planning to tackle the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time, running the Historic Half is the perfect opportunity to gauge your pace or improve your performance and experience the excitement of running with the Marines. Pick a training plan you can stick to and start racking up the mileage towards your ultimate goal. Conquer the famous Hospital Hill with its 200-foot elevation in May and you’ll be ready to “Beat the Bridge” in October.

5-You Can Run for a Cause. Combine your goal of completing a half marathon with helping others by raising money and awareness for a charity. Running for worthwhile cause is a rewarding experience that will give you further purpose to keep training and help you stay motivated on the course. It’s a win-win situation.

6-Your Wallet Will Thank You. Do you want to release some major endorphins without breaking the bank? Then, the Marine Corps Historic Half is perfect for you. After all, it’s organized by the same team that puts on “The People’s Marathon," so you can experience all the fun and pageantry at half the distance for a registration fee that's scaled appropriately for a half marathon.

7-It’s Half the Recovery Time. While the half marathon is far from easy and can still be strenuous and tiring, the time to recover is substantially shorter than when running a full marathon—depending on your fitness level. Since your recovery window is shorter with each half marathon, doing more than one per year isn’t unheard of.

8-Expo-nentially better! One of the best parts about registering for a running event is the bib pick up at an expo. The Marine Corps Historic Half Healthy Lifestyle Expo presented by VA Runner happens to be a top notch experience where runners can stop by selfie spots, purchase fitness items, sample food and more. The two-day extravaganza is packed with over 60 vendors covering a range of interests and activities. Pick-up your favorite replenishments or a pair of new shoes, or just visit a massage booth and relax before the big day. No matter what, there is something for every runner’s needs.

9-Bling, Bling! You’ll Get a Medal (or Three!) and a Shirt. Runners complete the journey under the finish line archway adorned in stars and stripes, where awaiting Marines present each finisher with a unique medal reflecting the history of Fredericksburg. Whether it’s the medal, the shirt or the bib, the swag reminds you of all the hard work you put into this effort.

10-You’re Only Half Crazy! Running a half marathon requires half the training miles of a full marathon, which means it’s not as time-consuming. Whether you’re a parent, a full-time worker or both, there’s a sweet spot with half marathons that make the training more enjoyable and still leaves room for a balanced life so you only feel half crazy.

11-We Have You Covered. All you need to bring to the Historic Half is your motivation and running shoes...seriously. Everything else for a successful and safe finish is covered. There are aid stations at the start and finish and four throughout the course, as well as eight strategically placed water stations to ensure you stay fully hydrated during your run, on-course food stations and plentiful hospitality at the finish.

12-Your 13.1 Miles of Fame. From sidewalks to front porches to storefronts, spectators and local residents will be cheering and showing enthusiastic support for you along the entire 13.1-mile course. You’ll feel like a star with thousands of people championing your effort as you push to the finish line.

13-You Love a Good After Party. You finished, now it’s time to party! Reunite with your supporters and running buddies to enjoy fun activities at the Finish Festival, then check out all that downtown Fredericksburg has to offer.

13.1-Because, Why Not? You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Don’t just imagine what it would be like to run a half marathon, do it! Not only will you have a feeling of accomplishment, you will also earn a lifetime of bragging rights. Who knows? Maybe running will become your newest passion (if it wasn’t already) and you will be hooked. Check out the MCMO event schedule and on-sale dates and start setting goals.


Written by Veronica Gutierrez

Veronica Gutierrez is a proud military spouse with three children. An avid runner, she joined the MCM Organization as a marketing specialist in October 2019.