Fall is my favorite season of the year. It’s pretty much the only reason why I’ve stayed in the Northeast. You just don’t get the beautiful colors and the chill in the air down south or out west in warm Cali. The other reason I love the fall? Marathon season!

The next big marathon on the schedule is The Marine Corps Marathon this upcoming weekend. Runners are in their final days of the taper period and are prepping for a fun weekend in DC. I ran Marine Corps last year (check out my race recap!) and have some tips for making the most of the AWESOME race weekend.

Marine Corps Marathon medal

Tips for Your Best Marine Corps Marathon Experience:

1. Download the MCM app: It provides info for runners and supporters alike and was my go-to for answers during the weekend.

2. Download the iTrans DC app. The cheapest way to get around DC is via the Metro. The iTrans DC app provides schedule alerts, train delays, and maps all in one place. I must have used that app at least 50 times while we were in DC.

3. Plan extra time for the expo. There was a long line last year to get into the expo through security, and then another long line to buy any MCM official gear. Be patient and thank the Marines. Don’t go to the expo thinking you’ll “get in and get out.” It just isn’t happening.

4. Also allow for extra time to get to the race start and to get onto the train after the race. The Metro cannot handle the amount of runners that use it to travel to the race. There will be delays, there will be crowds. Make sure you give yourself a little buffer of time. Also, it will be insanely crowded after the race, so plan to take a cab (I did) or take a post-race recovery drink or snack with you to have after the race. You most likely will not make it out of the race quickly.

5. Go slow through the first 4 miles. It’s a bit hilly through the first 4-5 miles of the course and it definitely can steal some of your energy for the end.

6. Thank a military member along the course. Between the Marines at all the aid stations and the thousands of military members running the race and spectating, make sure to thank them for their support and service. I saw some pretty spectacular moments out there on the course involving military members. You can’t help but be inspired.

7. Check out the museums and monuments after the race. I made the mistake of walking around Arlington Cemetery a little too much the day before the race. I ended up being okay, but it definitely took a toll on my recovery in the days after.

8. If it’s sunny, make sure you stay hydrated and take in water and Gatorade. You run in direct sun for a lot of the race. So even if the temperatures are cooler, you can still get pretty dehydrated in the sun.

9. A Marine will put the medal around your neck at the end of the race, so be prepared to get emotional. If you’re like me, you might cry. It’s pretty powerful to have a military member in fatigues salute you. Enjoy it. Even ask for a hug! (I did!)

10. Have a BLAST! The MCM is “the people’s’ marathon” for a reason. There are no elite runners. Everyone is equal. You’re all running for the same reason; to have fun, be competitive, and enjoy DC.


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