Marine Corps War Memorial
Pentagon Memorial honoring the victims of 9/11.
The course, which varies slightly from year to year, is certified by USA Track and Field. The current route starts in Arlington, Virginia, on Route 110 and winds its way through Rosslyn along Lee Highway before turning on Spout Run and the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Runners experience a climb on Lee Highway in the first few miles of the course, but are rewarded with a descent along Spout Run and the Parkway.After crossing Key Bridge into Georgetown, runners turn toward the Palisades Community when the course follows Canal Road, up to the reservoir and down MacArthur Boulevard. The course guides runners down popular M Street in Georgetown.Runners turn on Wisconsin Avenue and then K Street. The course passes the Kennedy Center and guides runners to the back of the Lincoln Memorial before continuing on Ohio Drive into Hains Point at the halfway point.
Outside West Potomac Park, runners get a glimpse of the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin. On Independence Avenue, competitors run by the newly unveiled Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and FDR Memorial. The runners loop back along Independence Avenue on the side closest to the National Mall and the Korean War Veterans Memorial and National World War II Memorial before making a left turn onto 15th Street at the Washington Monument.At Madison Drive, runners pass the north side of the National Mall, running by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art. After a loop around the reflecting pool in front of the U.S. Capitol, runners continue along the south side of the National Mall past the Smithsonian Castle. Runners move along Jefferson Drive and turn onto the 14th Street to marathon's "Beat the Bridge" checkpoint at mile 20 before returning to Virginia.For the last 10K, runners enjoy the color and energy of Crystal City.
At the Pentagon, runners pass in close proximity to the Pentagon Memorial honoring the victims of 9/11. Finally, the course unfurls alongside the Arlington National Cemetery then offers a final, up-hill challenge to the finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial. This finish has remained unchanged since the inaugural running of the MCM in 1976.
It is the largest marathon that does not offer prize money. The Marine Corp Marathon has been recognized as "Best Marathon in the Mid-Atlantic," "Best for Families" and "Best for Beginners." Marathons and other road races are traditionally started with a pistol. The Marine Corps Marathon boasts a slightly bigger starting gun: A 105mm Howitzer. The 2014 starting ceremonies included Medal of Honor recipient, Kyle Carpenter, parachuting to the start and delivering a 7,800 square-foot American flag. The status of the 2001 MCM was in serious question until three weeks prior to the scheduled event day. Post-9/11, approval by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to proceed with the marathon was contingent upon a new security plan. With approval in place, mile five on the MCM course gave runners an up-close view of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Many 2001 MCM finishers agree this was a very special year.
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