The MCM Post I've Dreaded Writing

by - Thursday, July 30, 2020

Last Monday, the Marines Corps Marathon announced the in-person event would be canceled and the race would be going virtual.

The news was expected. All of the major fall races (New York, Chicago, the re-scheduled Boston) had already canceled. MCM was one of the longer hold outs, but I knew it was only a matter of time.

That hadn't stopped me from starting to train though. I pushed through long runs in some brutal July heat and humidity hanging on to the sliver of hope that I'd be able to run a marathon this fall.


When I got the email with the news telling me my options, I ignored it for more than a week.

It's not that I didn't want to face reality. It's more that I've had such a struggle with this race over the last couple of years, and I just didn't know what I wanted to do.

If you've been around for a bit, you might remember that in the winter of 2019 I trained for and eventually ran the Marines Corps 17.75K. This race gives runners a way to bypass the lottery system for the Marine Corps Marathon with a guaranteed entry for the fall race.

I signed up for the 2019 MCM and was excited to run my first marathon in 7 years. But then my appendix ruptured and I needed emergency surgery. Recovery took longer than I would have hoped, and by the time I needed to start training for the marathon, I had zero base and no endurance.

I deferred to 2020.

Like most people, when covid hit, I figured the lockdowns of March and early April would mean that I'd be for sure running MCM in October.

So I prepped accordingly. I started building my running base back up. I did the RW Run Streak in the early summer to make sure I was ready to train injury free. And then I kicked off my official marathon training in early July (at the nice flat beach).


But here we are -- still in the middle of a pandemic that continues to get worse by the day.

MCM gave registered runners two options. I could defer my race entry to 2021, 2022 or 20223 and automatically have a spot in this year's virtual race. Or I could request a full refund and opt to re-register for this year's virtual race.

I was conflicted about what to do. I'd worked hard to get my race entry, and I didn't want to give it up. But deferring yet again didn't seem very appealing either.

On my most sad and depressed days, I'm not confident that we'll be in a better place in fall of 2021 and able to have events that attract 20,000+ people. Maybe we'll be there by 2022. But with my history of injuries and just the general uncertainty in the world right now, I'm not comfortable committing to something that far out.

So, I requested a refund. I'm grateful MCM offered this choice. Many races that had to cancel did not offer refunds.

I also registered for the virtual race this year. I don't know that I'll have the heart to continue training for a virtual marathon, but I want to give myself more time to think about it before I make a final decision.

So I guess that's where I am. It's tough. This whole situation is tough, and I really just miss normal life.

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  1. It's tough. I've been in one virtual race (a 5K) so far. They made a mess of one slight detail. We had the option of uploading our results from Strava and I did that. But they didn't show me among the finishers. The problem? Strava reported 3.1 miles and they were set up for distances in kilometers only. Our club's coordinator got them to look at the results again and they finally found the problem and fixed it. I hope MCM figures out that 26.2 and 42.2 are about the same thing and that either will work. Warren