MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Thirty thousand runners will have an opportunity to run through the nation’s capital on Oct. 26 during the 39th annual Marine Corps Marathon, or MCM, but along with four other events, the 26.2-mile race faces some registration changes that are scheduled to occur in February.
Along with the marathon, the 17.75k, Historic Half, Historic 10k and Semper Fred 5k races all open for registration in February.
“It’s those little experiences that win us so much good will,” said Rick Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon director. “Everything goes back to our three pillars which involve promoting health and fitness, introducing people to the Marine Corps and community relations.”
One thousand seven hundred and seventy-five registration spots open at noon on Feb. 19, for the 17.75k race, the first of the yearly MCM events, that takes place on April 12.
The 17.75 is unique in that it guarantees its finishers, 14 years and older, an entry in the marathon, but MCM employees warn that registration is expected to fill fast.
“Last year it sold out within the day,” said Tami Faram, MCM public relations coordinator. “This year it’s expected to sell out in hours.”
Noon on Feb. 19, also marks the opening of registration for the three Historic Half events, including the Half Marathon, 10k and Semper Fred 5k, which are scheduled for May 18.
There will be 8,000 opportunities to run in the Historic Half and 1,000 slots each for the smaller races on a first-come, first-served basis.
Feb. 19 is also a significant day for the marathon. Any active duty or current reserve military member will have the opportunity to register for the largest MCM event of the year at a 15-percent discount.
Everyone else will have the opportunity to register during the marathon lottery from Feb. 23 – March 15. Winning spots will be announced March 19.
“There are so many people who want to enter a race, and with our capacity of only 30,000 marathon runners, the registration process has caused stress in the past [selling out in around two hours last year],” said Nealis. “The lottery will give the individual runner a very leisurely opportunity to register.”
Although the MCM hasn’t used a lottery system since 2004, the staff says the point of using the almost four week system is to enhance the experience of the participants.
“We are hoping to alleviate any frustration [with website problems] that people [may find while] trying to register,” said Faram. “[Our goal is] to make this a very smooth, welcoming process for everybody.”