Runners getting ready for the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon Credit: Kelyn Soong

Even as the Army Ten-Miler elected to cancel its in-person event and go virtual-only earlier this month, citing rising COVID-19 case rates, organizers of the Marine Corps Marathon, 50K, and 10K, appeared to be committed to moving ahead with their in-person events on Oct. 31. The organization sent out a press release on Sept. 15 expressing its excitement for the upcoming events, in which they expected “more than 13,000 runners from all 50 states and the District of Columbia” for the three races.

That all came to an end Friday when the organizers sent out another media release announcing that the three races and related events scheduled for Friday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 31 have been canceled “due to security and safety precautions currently in place.”

“After exhausting all possibilities, the opportunity to safely operate and execute a live event is just not feasible at this time,” Rick Nealis, the director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization, said in a statement. “Though we had high hopes to welcome home our running community this October, we are excited to still be able to celebrate the 46th running of ‘The People’s Marathon’ virtually. We are anxiously looking forward to next year when we can #RunWithTheMarines in person once again.”

The Marine Corps Marathon is one of the most popular road races in D.C. and routinely draws approximately 20,000 participants through the streets of Virginia and the District. Because the race does not give out prize money like many other large marathons, it has been dubbed the “People’s Marathon.” Oprah Winfrey famously ran the 1994 edition of the race. Organizers introduced a 10K race in 2006 and a 50K ultramarathon in 2019. Local runners Michael Wardian and Liz Ozeki won the men’s and women’s races in the inaugural 50K, respectively.

Runners who are currently registered for the in-person marathon, 10K, and 50K have the option to receive a virtual entry to the distance of the same race, receive a full registration refund, or defer entry to next year without an additional fee. The event, like last year, will have a virtual-only component. Runners must complete their virtual races between Oct. 1 and Nov. 10.

The organization is already thinking ahead. In the press release, it notes that the 47th Marine Corps Marathon Weekend is scheduled for Oct. 28-30, 2022.

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