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Posted: September 1, 2016:  

Athletics: Metro's SafeTrack Prompts 41st MCM to Expand Start Time and Alter Course

Event also introduces new MCM10K course in response to 7 a.m. Metro opening

ROSSLYN, VA (Aug. 31, 2016) - The courses for the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and the accompanying MCM10K presented by Aetna, will be altered and a new expanded start schedule was publically announced today as the result of SafeTrack, the system-wide plan unveiled by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to improve Metrorail safety and restore service reliability. The MCM held a press conference in Rosslyn, VA and streamed it on Facebook Live to announce the changes for Marathon Day, which is Sunday, Oct. 30.

While Metro traditionally has been the primary means of access for runners and spectators, the MCM annually coordinated an early open with WMATA that began at 5 a.m. An average of 24,000 riders took advantage of the early open each October, providing them more time to arrive at the MCM start.

As a result of the SafeTrack program, Metro will not begin service until 7 a.m. on Marathon morning, causing a series of adjustments in this year's event.

"All of the changes have been governed by the principle that every participant deserves a fair chance to accomplish the goal of finishing the Marine Corps Marathon within the required 14 minute-per-mile time limit," says Rick Nealis, MCM Director.

The MCM will maintain its 7:55 a.m. start time along Route 110 in Arlington, VA. In order to minimize the stress on runners to arrive on time, the MCM will keep the start line open for one hour, until 8:55 a.m. This change will enable runners an expanded window of time after the ceremonial howitzer blast.

The MCM's 14-minute per mile pace requirement will remain in place for all Marathon participants across the entire course, however, the earlier a runner arrives, the longer he/she has to complete the 26.2 miles.

Beat the Bridge

"Beat the Bridge," the MCM's famous on-course timed benchmark located prior to the 14th Street Bridge, at the intersection of 14th and D Streets in the nation's capital, remains 1:15 p.m. However, Beat the Bridge will now occur earlier in the Marathon course near Mile 18, rather than Mile 20 as in previous years.

The new MCM course also reduces a runner's time spent on Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway as nearly two miles was removed to afford runners more time to pass "The Gauntlet" by 12:38 p.m. The Gauntlet is located at Mile 15.5 (Independence Avenue and 15th Streets). While most MCM participants make it through the Gauntlet, those not able to make it prior to the designated time can continue running but will be diverted and will not be considered an official MCM finisher.

To further restore lost mileage along the 26.2 mile marathon course, the MCM has added a new segment in the Pentagon South parking lot (known as the Pork Chop), and has extended mileage within the Kirkwood neighborhood of Arlington, and along Crystal Drive in Crystal City to include an additional three blocks.


The start line of the MCM10K presented by Aetna is relocating this year to the Pentagon North parking lot, featuring an entirely new course within Arlington, VA. In addition, the new start time of 9:15 a.m., will send MCM10K runners along a course that mirrors the first four miles of the MCM. After running through Rosslyn, and adjacent to the MCM Finish Festival, MCM10K runners will arrive at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial finish.


The MCM has contracted expanded services with Metro for event day to include running eight car trains on the Blue and Yellow lines and increase the frequency of trains on the Yellow line from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The expanded service also will operate on Metro's Blue line from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, which is Marathon Day.

Parking and Shuttles

To minimize dependency on Metro, the MCM will provide shuttle service from multiple parking locations.

Limited free parking will be available in Crystal City at the intersection of 23rd and Crystal Drive. Shuttles will deliver "runners only" to Runners Village at the Pentagon North parking lot from 4:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Additionally, runners-only shuttles will operate from

National Harbor and the Gaylord National Resort, (the MCM headquarters hotel), to Runners Village between 4:30 and 6:45 a.m. on MCM Day.

Shuttles for both runners and spectators will operate between National Harbor and the Eisenhower Metro station from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pay parking services at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. and the Ballston Common Mall also in Arlington, VA will offer additional options.

"Runners only" shuttles also will take participants to the Pentagon from the Reagan Building between 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Also from Ballston, Arlington Transit will open early and add busses to the ART 42 route to transport runners and spectators from Ballston to Pentagon City. The cost is $1.85 per ride, but those paying with their Metro SmarTrip card will pay $1.75. This service is being made available through the MCM's partnership with Arlington County.

Runners are further encouraged to minimize their MCM morning commutes by staying at the Gaylord National Resort or a partner hotel in Arlington, the home of the MCM. Over 7,000 room nights have already sold through the MCM online hotel service. Nearly

500 rooms remain available for Saturday, Oct. 29 through the MCM housing program available at

Voted the "Best Marathon in the Mid Atlantic" and "Best Marathon for Spectators," the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) honors the dedication, sportsmanship and patriotism of its participants. Also known as "The People's Marathon," runners from all walks of life participate in the MCM, the largest marathon not to offer prize money. The 41st MCM sponsored by Arlington, Brooks, Hyundai and Aetna will be hosted in Arlington, VA on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. No federal or Marine Corps endorsement is implied. #RunWithTheMarines.

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