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Marine Corps Marathon races to be held in person | WTOP

Lace up those running shoes, the Marine Corps Marathon is returning live and in person to the D.C. area.

Lace up those running shoes, the Marine Corps Marathon is returning live and in person to the D.C. area.

The marathon, 10K and 50K will be held this fall from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31. All three races will be held in-person one year after it ran as a virtual-only event last year.

Race Director Rick Nealis told WTOP that despite not holding a physical marathon in over a year, organizers have “adapted” in hosting smaller events with similar layouts. With that experience along with his military logistics background, Nealis said the event will go off without a problem while working together with D.C.-region to ensure everyone’s safety.

“You almost have to pinch yourself when you realize it will be two years since we’ve had that many runners come across the finish line, as we’ve transition through a real tough year in 2020,” said Neails.

There will be health and safety measures in place that will follow guidelines of local jurisdictions. This includes reducing the size of the field and dividing runners into scaled and social-distanced start times.

Nealis said he expects the race to have two-thirds of its usual field of runners, about 15,000 participants, because of continued restrictions. The races usually generate about $100 millions of economic impact for the region, the race director said. While that may not happen this time, they will bring some necessary aid to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“And the fact that it’s Halloween just makes it even kind of more magical that it’s a treat,” said Nealis. “There’s no trick in what we’re doing. This is all about treats.”

Those who are currently registered for a virtual run or deferred from the 2020 events will have the first opportunity to switch to the live event. There’s also a virtual option for all three races, which can be run from Oct. 1 to Nov. 11.

“I think there are people still wondering all the dynamics of putting on a big live event, because we haven’t seen that we haven’t had that for two years,” Nealis said.

Access to the virtual event is closed at this time. General entries to the live event will be made available to the public on next Wednesday at noon.

Despite the allure of running in the event, Nealis said there may be “little trepidation” from some runners about coming back. For those who do participate this year, organizers hope the races run as smoothly and safely as possible.

“I think this is going to be a clear showing that we’re going to come out of this and it’s through running that gives you the healthy lifestyle,” Nealis said. “The mental fatigue that we’ve all experienced of being cooped up; I think it’s gonna explode. I think it’s gonna be a magical three days of camaraderie.”

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report. 

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