Running with the Marines is an exhilarating and sometimes life-changing experience that each member of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) running community knows all too well. There’s a one-of-a-kind joy in coming together, competing against yourself and others, and receiving your finisher’s medal from a Marine.
And while the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus outbreak put the entire world on hold, the MCMO has adapted and overcome, shifting operational practices and implementing several changes to safely execute live events while still ensuring a positive experience for all participants. Already this year, the MCMO has announced live, in-person options for the Marine Corps 17.75K, Quantico Crucible, Belleau Wood 8K and Crossroads Trail 15K. Registration is currently available, though very limited for these events.
Below are a few changes to note for your next in-person #RunWithTheMarines.
While the majority of MCMO events are scheduled as virtual endeavors first, with the possibility of a live component, the size of the participant field is determined by guidance on such gatherings by the governor of Virginia.
Additionally, all live events will be limited-capacity with multiple separate start times to allow for social distancing.
To help mitigate the spread of coronavirus, the MCMO is also taking preventative measures and employing certain safety guidelines for all live events aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico:
- Masks will be provided at start and finish lines and at water points and must be worn at all times with the runner’s discretion while on the course;
- Spectators are not permitted at live events due to attendance limits imposed on social gatherings;
- Rather than mass starts, runners will be launched in small groups at regular intervals that will occur every thirty seconds;
- Runners will stage in the start area next to cones that will be positioned six feet apart;
- Hand sanitizer stations will be staged across the event grounds;
- Water points will be self-serve or grab-a-bottle rather than the usual distribution of a poured cup;
- Finish hospitality will be pre-bagged and medals will be presented rather than placed around a runner’s neck;
- Drive-thru packet pick-ups will be held for certain events;
- More detailed mitigation strategies can be found here.
Please note that all individuals, age 18 and above, attending a Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) event on base and who do not possess a valid DoD issued ID card (CAC or TESLIN) must register into DBIDS and stop by the Visitor Control Center (VCC) to obtain a visitor pass. Click here for more information.
Tour Stafford, Virginia
Runners traveling to participate in live events aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico are encouraged to stay in one of the hotels just minutes from the course. Tour Stafford, Virginia makes it easy to choose from the many convenient, nearby hotels.
What Runners & Volunteers Had to Say
While these changes have shifted operations and expectations to fit our new reality, the experience of a live MCMO event is just as exciting as ever. But don’t just take our word for it; here’s what a few of our runners and volunteers had to say:
“The MCMO has done such a great job with all the changing restrictions. The way everything was set up has been fantastic. To be able to flex and make changes at the last minute to still put this event on safely with this many runners is a testament to Rick Nealis and his staff,” Mark Winn, retired Marine.
“I think the way the MCMO has been implementing various safety measures like sending runners out in waves rather than all at once is pretty smart and probably the safest and best option in how we handle events right now,” Plinio Joel Flores, MCMO medical volunteer.
“I’ve ran most of the series this year, including the marathon. We did the August event and the use of the cones, distancing and everything that goes along with that have been first class as all the MCMO events always are,” Matt Jones from Fairfax Station, VA.
“I like the waves, the fact they hand you a branded mask at the finish line and the way the hospitality corral is set up. The packaged post-run goody is nice too,” Clayton Stoil from Great Falls, VA.
“This was outstanding!” said Lou Peradotto from Fredericksburg, VA. “Great job. I love the way the queues were set up, the masks at the end, no crowding at the start; a great format for races going forward.”