The Marine Corps Marathon scheduled for Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C., could be canceled if the government is not reopened by Saturday, event organizers announced Tuesday.
“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 canceled,” officials said in a statement.
Rick Nealis, the race director, posted the announcement on the Marine Corps Marathon’s official Facebook page Tuesday evening. Officials said they are “considering and exploring all possible options.” Runners will be officially notified on the status of the race Oct. 19.
“It is sincerely the hope of everyone associated with the organization of this event that MCM participants can run as planned,” the Facebook post read.
The race is not funded by the government. About 30,000 runners have run in it each year. However, the race course includes federal land closed by the National Park Service, to include the Marine Corps War Memorial where the race ends.
The race sold out in a little more than two hours, with runners paying $99 to enter and many participants raising thousands of dollars for charity in the process of their training. Organizers did not say in the message whether runners would be reimbursed or offered entry into future marathons if this year's race is canceled.
Many runners and other supporters immediately used social media channels to express their dismay and disappointment that the government shutdown -- which was in its sixteenth day -- would threaten a race many have trained months for and that has meaning well beyond the race itself.
Most of the runners who posted on the Facebook page declared their intentions to travel to Washington, D.C., and still run the race even if it is canceled.
“I will run the course on Oct 27. Shutdown or no shutdown. There are no obstacles or barricades that will stop me. I am running for charity and have worked my ass off for this. I will not be denied. I hope everyone joins me,” Chris O’Leary posted to the Facebook account. His Facebook biography says he is an engineer in the U.S. Navy.
Others wrote that they would be happy to set up a course through D.C. and help time the event for runners.
“I got a clock and timing equipment. Be happy to show up in DC and time anyone that wants to run,” Matthew Reimer wrote on the Facebook post.
Some runners questioned what had changed the minds of Marine Corps Marathon organizers who had told Runner’s World two weeks earlier that the government shutdown didn’t threaten the race.
“Marine Corps Marathon staff is paid with non-appropriated funds," Tami Faram, public relations coordinator for the marathon, told Runner’s World. “The race will go on."
The Army Ten Miler is still scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on Sunday even if the shutdown continues. However, race organizers have said the course may have to change.
“I vote all 30,000 of us run a really tight circle around the Capital [sic] keeping Congress from leaving the building until they resolve everything,” Jessica Lynn King wrote on Facebook.