A unique and truly meaningful component of the Marine Corps Marathon is the opportunity for runners to interact with military members. In addition to numerous selfie moments at the MCM, runners recall the tremendous energy boost Marines provide through vocal encouragement often in the form of hard chargin’ barking.
For many, the commitment to run the MCM is to demonstrate appreciation of our service men and women, to dedicate the run to a loved one who is currently in uniform or to honor the memory of someone special lost while serving. Those moments shared with a Marine forming even the briefest of connections can have a meaningful impact on runners. And for those in the military, the opportunity to run alongside civilians in a show of solidarity and fellowship has added importance to the experience.
To cultivate these powerful interactions between civilians and military members, the MCM Military Match program presented by Cigna will pair civilian and military runners for this year’s virtual MCM Weekend to communicate directly, motivate each other through the final weeks of training and to provide support for the virtual run.
In recent years, Cigna executives have participated in the MCM running alongside wounded veterans. Now, this type of personal engagement is possible for all runners.
“The role of a running guide is to encourage, uplift and support our assigned athlete physically, mentally and emotionally,“ said Julia Huggins, Cigna senior vice president, who is returning in 2020 as one of Cigna’s Marine Corps Marathon executive sponsors. “We are excited to be part of this event and help these athletes reach their goals. This is just one way Cigna proudly supports our active military members and veterans.”
Those registered for any of the virtual MCM Weekend events may opt into the free MCM Military Match presented by Cigna by signing up through their Haku participant account:
- Click “Your Registration”
- Edit registration on virtual MCM entry
- Scroll to bottom to click “yes” indicating intent to participate in the Match program
- Declare ‘civilian’ or ‘military’ status
By opting into MCM Military Match presented by Cigna, runners consent to allow the MCM Organization to share an email address with another runner for the express purpose of supporting participation in this program. For runners participating in multiple virtual MCM events, please only register through one event by selecting the specific distance you wish to use for pairing.
For the virtual Semper 5ive earlier this year, Brett Steele, a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan, ran with 60-year-old Patty Campbell, who lives in New York. The two scheduled their virtual run amidst wind gusts and snow squalls for her and in 70° weather for him, kicking things off with a FaceTime call to get each other hyped.
“It was amazing! Knowing that he was running with me from half-way around the world gave me motivation and energy to complete the run,” said Campbell. “I ended up running my personal best five-mile run ever.”
Campbell continued that Steele even said this invitation inspired him to work on his training. “He thanked me for inspiring him when it was really the opposite.”
Military Match participants will be encouraged to share their special interactions on social media using hashtags #RunWithTheMarines and #VirtuallyUnstoppable.
Presented by Cigna
Cigna, a presenting sponsor of the Marine Corps Marathon Weekend, is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those the company serves. As a Military Friendly® Employer, Cigna encourages health and wellness and supports veterans nationwide through its offering of a National Veteran Support Line for veterans, their families, and caregivers. Visit the Cigna website for more information about Cigna’s work in the veteran community.