Marine Corps Marathon bans hydration packs, cites safety concerns

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 31:  An FBI Agent walks along as runners travel down M Street in Georgetown during the Marine Corps Marathon October 31, 2010 in Washington, DC.  Event organizers have requested increased security at the annual 26.2 mile race after the National Museum of the Marine Corps was shot at twice this month by the same weapon used in similar acts at the Pentagon and a vacant Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantily, Virginia.  (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

An FBI agent walks along the Marine Corps Marathon course in Washington, D.C., in 2010. Event organizers have banned hydration packs for this year’s race, citing safety concerns. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Planning on running the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27? Better leave your hydration pack at home.

In the wake of the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon, participants and spectators attending this year’s Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., will be prohibited from carrying hydration packs and vests. Officials denied a direct tie to the Boston Marathon bombing, saying the decision was reached in the interest of basic safety and after conferring with local law enforcement.

“For marathoners, 10K participants and spectators, the following items are prohibited from entering any MCM event location: hydration vests and backpacks like CamelBaks; glass containers; masks; and flammable liquids,” organizers say on the official website.

Runners will still be able to carry fluids, just not in backpacks.

“They’re still welcome to bring fuel belts and water bottles and other nutritional items that they want, we’re just encouraging them to use everything that the Marine Corps Marathon provides on the course,” said Tami Faram, MCM public relations coordinator.

This year’s course will have 12 water points and four food stations, Faram said.

“No backpacks? This is a recipe for disaster – If 1/3rd of your participants are first timers, they need hydration. Are you telling me that I have to re-design my entire hydration strategy one month before the race?!  Bad call, MCM. Bad call,” one person wrote today on the MCM Facebook page.

The notice was posted Sept. 20 on the Marine Corps Marathon website, and a reminder will go out to runners in an email newsletter this week, Faram said.

“We’re hoping that runners are seeing the messaging on the website and in the newsletter. It’s been said that maybe we buried the message, but we did not because we’re getting runners to reply to us on Facebook and on our website and they’re calling. So if they’re not seeing it they wouldn’t be responding.”

Does this change affect your race plan? Let us know in the comments.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 32 ultramarathons -- including her first 100-miler. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .