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Marine Corps Marathon canceled for 2nd year in a row

Participants at the Marine Corps Marine Corps Marathon prepare to run at the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Va., Oct. 28, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Piper A. Ballantine)
September 27, 2021

Event organizers have canceled in-person races for the 46th Marine Corps Marathon, marking the second year in a row that the in-person event has been canceled.

The event, which includes the 26.2-mile marathon, as well as 10K and 50K races was set to span the weekend from Friday, October 29 to Sunday, October 31 in Arlington, Va. and Washington D.C.

“After exhausting all possibilities, the opportunity to safely operate and execute a live event is just not feasible at this time,” Rick Nealis, director of Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) said in a statement on Friday. “Though we had high hopes to welcome home our running community this October, we are excited to still be able to celebrate the 46th running of ‘The People’s Marathon’ virtually. We are anxiously looking forward to next year when we can #RunWithTheMarines in person
once again.”

Those who signed up for the various Marine Corps Marathon in-person races will have the option to receive a virtual entry to the distance of the same race, receive a full refund, or defer their entry to 2022 at no additional cost.

Those who choose to do the virtual race events will have between October 1 and November 10 to complete their races and will be mailed the corresponding participant shirt, commemorative patch, bib and finisher
medal. Runners will also have access to an online event program, personalized finisher certificate and several digital engagement platforms.

In-person events for the 2020 Marine Corps Marathon were similarly canceled last year, amid concerns about COVID-19. It was the first time that an in-person race could not be held in the event’s 45 year history.

The Washington Post reported event organizers had already taken the precaution of cutting the number of race entrants from 30,000 to 11,000, planned to regulate traffic around the event and restrict the number of spectators who could watch the event. Despite those earlier precautions, organizers still decided against holding the in-person event.

“The 46th Marine Corps Marathon is now a virtual event!” said Col. Micheal C. Brooks, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region – Marine Corps Base Quantico. “We are excited and look forward to seeing the results of your hard work and dedication over the past year.”

“Although we were not able to conduct a live event for 2021, we trust that each of you understand that safety for you and our great support team took priority,” Brooks added. “As Marines, we are trained to adapt and overcome, and this is a great test of your ability to adapt and overcome all things this year has presented. I ask that you run hard and with purpose, and finish strong! Be safe everyone! Semper Fi!”