Marine Corp Marathon and 50k Race Info

Summary: The Marine Corp Marathon and 50k are run in the Fall each year in Arlington, VA, usually bringing large crowds and fairly unpredictable weather, but the energy of the races and the finish line are unforgettable.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Expect crowds throughout the race weekend – from packet pickup, to transportation, to the race. Lots of runners and spectators throughout
  • The race ends with .2 miles of uphill, so be mentally prepared
  • Even with it being in late October, temps can still be quite warm
  • If you train on relatively flat terrain, the course will likely feel hilly
  • It can be a fairly emotional race given the ties to the Marines, especially mile 12, the Blue Mile, which honors fallen soldiers
  • Getting to the start on public transportation can be tough with so many people trying to use transit and with it not starting very early in the morning
  • It’s a fairly long walk from public transportation to the runner’s village and start corral – about 1 mile
  • Miles 18-20 of the marathon can get a bit lonely, while the rest of the course is quite crowded
  • While there is an overall cutoff time, there are a couple of cutoff times throughout the race as well, where they’ll direct runners a different way and not give an official finish time


Type: Point to Point with one big loop and several out and backs within the bigger loop

Start/Finish Info: The 50k course will follow the marathon course across the Key Bridge and divert at mile 4.5 for an out-and-back along Canal Road. There, the 50k course rejoins the marathon and continues onto the finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial. 

Hills: Biggest hill is in the first 2 miles, gain of ~200 feet; total gain of ~900 feet in the marathon

Course Maps/Elevation

Aid stations

13 water points and 11 aid stations for the 50k, and the marathon shares all but the first of the 50k’s water and aid stations. Water and Gatorade at each stop.

Oranges at mile 7, Honey Stingers between miles 12 and 13 and near mile 23, and Jelly Belly Sports Beans around mile 19

Spectator access

Locations and tips

Boston qualifier?

Marathon – yes

Race reports

Strava links

Race Website

Running your first race? Check out our first-time runner checklist!