Washington, DC
More runners than I can identify head up Lee Highway during mile two of the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Photo: Charlie Ban


Marine Corps Marathon

Oct. 27, 2018

Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C.

7:30 50k start
7:45 Handcycle start
7:55 Runners start

Race website
Course map
Runner tracking

With the introduction of a 50k and a likelihood of rain for the first time since 2015, the Marine Corps Marathon will have enough curveballs to keep everyone on their toes this year.

The marathon course will weave through Arlington County before crossing the Key Bridge into Georgetown, taking a trip up and down Rock Creek Parkway, around Hains Point and the National Mall before crossing back into Arlington, where runners will finish by climbing the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn. The 10k follows the last 6.2 miles of the marathon route. The 50k will add just short of 4k out and back on Canal Road to the west after runners cross the Key Bridge.

You can track runners here.  Read on to learn about the best way to watch the race, why you shouldn’t run using someone else’s bib, who has run every Marine Corps Marathon and find out about the time the race was a day away from cancellation.

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Oprah Winfrey following the 1994 Marine Corps Marathon. Race Director Rick Nealis is to the far right. Photo: Courtesy of the Marine Corps Marathon

In October 1994, on a chilly, rainy day, I toed the line for my first marathon after five months of haphazard training.  I had three goals:  finish the Marine Corps Marathon in less than four hours, not walk a single step, and beat Oprah!

The world learned days before that the queen of day-time television, Oprah Winfrey, was also attempting her first go at the distance.  Surely if Oprah could run a marathon, then so could I!

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Garrett Suhr leads the Montgomery County Championships in the first mile. Photo: Charlie Ban

With a dry course and a solid set of races, Richard Montgomery senior Garrett Suhr went out, gunning for the course record at Bohrer Park. In the attempt, he nearly lost the Montgomery County Championships. Had he been more patient, like Walter Johnson senior Jenna Goldberg, he might have had both. 

A little more than two miles into the race, after taking a long, sweeping turn, Suhr looked back and saw three guys, Northwood’s Ayalew Fantaw and Henok Eshetu and Springbrook’s Surafel Mengist, right on his tail. 

“When we crossed the (paved) paths, I’d hear the click-clacking from their spikes but they didn’t seem like they were that close,” Suhr said. “I thought I was way ahead.”

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Name: Chad Young

Self-described age group: 38

Residence: Bethesda, Md.

Occupation: High School Math Teacher at Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS

Volunteer roles in the running world: Head Coach for Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field for the last 15 years – all at Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS; Maryland District 2 Representative to the State Committee for Cross Country; MCPS Cross Country Sport Director. Member of the RunWashington coaches panel

Why you run: Running is fun!  I enjoy getting outside and being active.  I don’t run to train for races, I just like to run.  If a race comes up and I’m feeling like racing, then I’ll do it.  I just enjoy running for my own enjoyment and as a routine for good health.

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Run with Santa 5k

Are you ready? Word on the street is Santa and Mrs. Claus have been training like champions! Join us for the 8th annual Run With Santa 5k! The race will be held at Reston Town Center at 8:30 am on

Loudoun Valley junior Ricky Fetterolf. Photo: Ed Lull

Marc Hunter has been around runners long enough to know that even with the benefit of a meritocracy, seniority can often dominate in a team dynamic. That’s why he was surprised to hear then-freshman Ricky Fetterolf say something at a Loudoun Valley team meeting two years ago.

“It was gutsy, because we had a top-heavy team and it’s understandable for a freshman to just sit back and listen,” he said. “We had a top-heavy team, with a lot of seniors, but she voiced her opinion and I respected that about her. So did a lot of the girls.”

Fetterolf didn’t even remember what she had to say. What was more important to her was letting the rest of the team know she would have things to say, albeit somewhat sparingly. She wanted her hands on the wheel as the team moved ahead.

“I don’t talk that much, but if it’s something I value, I will speak up about it,” she said. “I’d rather lead by example.”

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Gonzaga senior Gavin McElhennon. Photo: Ed Lull

Gavin McElhennon got good in a hurry his second year of cross country running. With any luck, he can do it again.

Unable to run for most of the spring thanks to a groin injury, McElhennon finally relented as the school year ended, knowing that rushing to get back on the track wouldn’t win him anything except frustration as the goalposts for his return moved away every time he started up.

“I was hurting every time I ran,” he said. “I’d take time off, do a lot of physical therapy and start up again, but every time, I’d start hurting after a few days.”

His attention turned to his senior year at Gonzaga, where he had been the Eagles’ top distance runner most of the prior two years. Finally, in July, he opted for platelet-rich plasma injections in his groin, hip and glute, and gave the procedure a month to work itself out. Now, with more than a month of pain-free training, he’s eyeing a late-season comeback, with hopes of his best finish yet at the Nike Cross Regionals Southeast meet, where he finished 57nd last fall.

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Hiruni Wijayaratne (in orange shorts) grabs her water bottle during the 2019 World Championship Marathon. Photo: Ceylon Athletics

When Hiruni Wijayaratne toed the start line of the women’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Doha, Qatar, it was just before midnight, but the heat and humidity were almost unbearable.

Had it been any other race it may have been a reason for a DNS. But Wijayaratne — a Herndon alumna now running for her native Sri Lanka — knew Doha was part of her path to the Olympics, a goal she had set her sights on back in 2016. She had to try.

Wijayaratne said she knew from the moment she landed in Qatar that it was going to be a tougher race than she, or anyone else, had expected.  Read More


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