Runners, take your marks! Registration for the 38th Marine Corps Marathon opens on Wednesday, March 27 at noon EST. The 2012 edition of the race sold-out in two hours and 41 minutes, so get your fast fingers ready if you want to nab one of the 30,000 spots for this year’s event on October 27.
Known as “The People’s Marathon” because it’s the world’s largest marathon not to offer prize money, the Marine Corps Marathon has resisted moving to a lottery to dole out bibs even as demand for the race has increased.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the nation’s second largest marathon, was earlier this month forced to move to a lottery after their registration system, run by Active.com, crashed when thousands of runners logged on the minute race registration opened. The ING New York City Marathon, the nation’s largest marathon, moved to a lottery in 1999, and many popular D.C. area races like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and Nike Women Half Marathon DC utilize lotteries as well.
As the third largest marathon in the U.S. and eighth largest in the world, the Marine Corps Marathon would seem like the next obvious candidate to go with a lottery, especially considering how quickly the 2012 event sold-out.
But the Marine Corps has held their ground, and hopes to avoid any race-day registration problems.
“To best support the high demand and heavy volume of online traffic, the MCM has been working with the online registration service to test system capacity to avoid delays and server issues,” said Marine Corps Marathon Director Rick Nealis in a press release. “We expect runners will have immediate success on registration day.”
After the Chicago marathon debacle, I asked the managers of the official Marine Corps Marathon Twitter feed if they’ve considered a lottery. They tweeted this response: “Worked hard in 2012 to handle two hour 41 minute registration. Working just as hard this year.”
To help runners through what will no doubt be a harried couple of hours, the Marine Corps Marathon has these tips for runners trying to register:
Once the registration form has been opened, fill out all fields thoroughly and completely and consider which items you want to purchase. Brooks training shirts and hats, Carbo Dining-In tickets, the MarathonFoto super coupon and the MCM Online Trainer will additionally be on sale on MCM registration day.
After submitting registration payment, a confirmation message will appear on screen. Print the message as it includes each individual runner registration ID number.
Don’t freak out if you fail to receive a confirmation email immediately after completing the registration process. The distribution of confirmation emails will be purposely delayed to reduce stress on system throughout open registration.
Coordinated by the U.S. Marine Corp, the Marine Corps Marathon course starts in Arlington, Va., and winds through Washington, D.C., passing many of the city’s famous landmarks like the National Mall, Kennedy Center, U.S. Capitol and a plethora of national memorials.
Registration for the race is $99. Runners can also get a guaranteed entry through one of the race’s official charity partners or the Runner’s World Challenge, which gives runners access to a suite of VIP perks like shakeout runs and course strategy sessions with Runner’s World editors, private bag check, training plans and more. Registration for the Runner’s World Challenge is already open. General race registration opens Wednesday at noon EST.
For more information or to register, visit MarineMarathon.com.
Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ web show about running. She has completed six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.