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In-person Marine Corps Marathon canceled once again in 2021

Organizers said the event would be virtual for the second year in a row "due to security and safety precautions currently in place."
Credit: AP
Jordan Tropf of Silver Spring rises his arms as he finish in the first place men's the 44th Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Va. Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

QUANTICO, Va. — Organizers of the Marine Corps Marathon are reversing course on running the event in person. 

Organizers announced Friday that the 46th annual Marine Corps Marathon weekend events will be virtual once again. Back in May, it was announced the weekend events would in-person at diminished capacity. Just nine days ago, organizers said the Marine Corps Weekend had sold out.

Now the Marine Corps Marathon said the event scheduled for Friday, October 29 through Sunday, October 31, in Arlington, Virginia, would not be held in person. 

In a press release, organizers cited "security and safety precautions" as the reason for the sudden cancelation, but did not specify whether it was related to the COVID-19 pandemic

“After exhausting all possibilities, the opportunity to safely operate and execute a live event is just not feasible at this time,” said Rick Nealis, director of Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) in a release. “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.”

Colonel Brooks, commanding officer of Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region at Marine Corps Base Quantico asked for understanding from the running community.

“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. 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!”

The virtual MCM Weekend events including the MCM, MCM50K and MCM10K must be completed between October 1 and November 10 - the Marine Corps Birthday. All participants will receive via mail 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.

Runners currently in the live MCM, MCM10K and MCM50K categories have the option to: 

  • Receive a virtual entry to the distance of the same race.
  • Receive a full registration refund.
  • Defer entry to 2022 at no additional fee.

Further instructions and a link to the registration change form will be sent to the e-mail address provided by participants during registration.

This is the second year in a row that the marathon has moved to a virtual event. The 2020 Marine Corps. Marathon was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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