This year marks the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), which will occur on October 22, in Arlington, Va. The MCM is one of the largest marathons in the US, and stands as the largest marathon in the world that doesn’t offer prize money, earning it the moniker, “The People’s Marathon.” Check out some of the key points in the history of one of the Corps’ most exciting Fall events.
The MCM began as the Marine Corps Reserve Marathon in 1976, after Col. Jim Fowler, USMC Ret., came up with an idea to promote good will and showcase the Marine Corps. Its first finisher was two-time Olympian Kenneth Moore of Eugene, Ore., with a time of 2:21:14. Susan Mallery of Arlington, Va., led all females with a time of 2:56:33.
1994’s MCM saw a celebrity finisher — Oprah Winfrey completed the MCM. After her finish, she said, "Its [Marine Corps Marathon] the best feeling I've ever had. It's better than an Emmy, I tell you." Since then, many competitors aim “to beat Oprah” as their official marathon goal.
Marathon runners might be familiar with the MCM’s Penguin Award, which is given to the final MCM finisher. The award was first presented on October 29, 2007, honoring Marine Maj. Megan McClung, who was killed in action in Iraq in December 2016. McClung, who was race director for the MCM Forward (an event designed for overseas service members to be able to run the MCM), had previously presented a stuffed penguin named “Paul” to the final finisher in the MCM Forward race. Today, that tradition continues.
The MCM’s 35th anniversary in 2010 paid tribute to the coinciding 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. The MCM carried the flame from Marathon, Greece, through a tour of significant Marine Corps landmarks in the US before coming home to the MCM.
Throughout its history, the MCM has played host to countless celebrities, political figures, and most importantly, service members who represent its values of inspiration, desire, ambition, stamina, tenacity, and resilience. To learn more about the MCM, visit marinemarathon.com. You can also check out what other intramural, varsity, and All-Marine sports are available at your installation.
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