Marine Corps Marathon threatened by shutdown

October 16, 2013

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

The Marine Corps Marathon may not escape the clutches of the federal government shutdown after all, leaving 30,000 runners currently in limbo.

Organizers wrote on Facebook that they’ll decide by Saturday (Oct. 19) whether to hold the Oct. 27 race, which attracts runners from around the world.

“Without a resolution to the government shutdown this week, the MCM as planned is in jeopardy of being canceled,” race director Rick Nealis said in a news release (via Marine Corps Times). “While still considering and exploring all possible options, the MCM has targeted this Saturday, October 19, as the date to officially notify runners of the status of the event.”

More than half of the 26.2-mile course covers federal property, including the National Mall and Marine Corps War Memorial. Both are closed because of the shutdown.

“I don’t want to put people in panic mode, but if as of Friday evening the government is still closed, it’s probably not going to happen,” Lt. Dave Green of the Arlington (Va.) Police Department Special Operations Section, told Arlington Now. His department coordinates road closures for big events.

Tami Faram, MCM spokeswoman, told the Marine Corps Times that “there are many variables being discussed at the present time.”

On Facebook, organizers wrote:

Dear Runners,

Since the government shutdown occurred, the Marine Corps Marathon continues its coordination with hopes of a conclusion in time to host the event without impact. Without a resolution to the government shutdown this week, the MCM as planned is in jeopardy of being cancelled.

While still considering and exploring all possible options, the MCM has targeted this Saturday, October 19 as the date to officially notify runners of the status of the event. It is sincerely the hope of everyone associated with the organization of this event that MCM participants can run as planned.

Organizers for the Army Ten-Miler faced the same issue and changed the racecourse, putting most of it in Arlington. It is still on for Sunday (Oct. 20).

Cancellation of the race would be another disappointment for the runners who train long and hard for the race. Competition to enter is fierce, with the field selling out in less than 2 1/2 hours. Losing the MCM would be another disappointment for distance runners after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of last year’s New York City Marathon less two days before the Nov. 4 race. Just as runners did then, some said on Facebook that they will run Oct. 27 no matter what.

“Although I am not pleased with the possibility of the MCM being cancelled, I will refrain from using this space to express my disappointment at our government,” one runner wrote on Facebook. “To the MCM staff, thank you for your efforts I certainly hope we can still run the race. To the other runners, I am all in, regardless. See you all in 12 days for an official Marine Corps Marathon or a very long training run around DC. Semper Fidelis.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · October 16, 2013