For the past 26 years, legendary race director Rick Nealis has put all he has into the iconic Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C, a race that is widely known as one of the absolute best marathons in the United States. One that is an unforgettable experience as it guides the runner on a tour past the monuments and history of the Capitol, ending at a finish line full of Marines.
This year Rick and his staff are adding something extra special as they dive into the ultrarunning scene and put on the inaugural MCM 50k!
For both the ultra and road racing community, the MCM expanding to ultra distances is going to be paradigm shifting and, in my eyes, will have an extremely positive effect as it will allow more and more people their first ultra experience. In turn this will infuse new racers with all the positivity and life lessons that come along with tackling difficult challenges.
In this episode I brought on my friend, former marine, and 5 time MCM finisher Phil Pinti to explore all aspects of this new event. We have a conversation with Rick and his operations manager Bret Schmidt about the ins and outs of race directing, the WHY as it pertains to expanding to an ultra, and how they plan on making it the best experience ever for their 1,700 racers.
We also dive into Rick’s rich history with this race, hearing stories from his first time running it as an athlete, how it’s changed over the past quarter century, the effects it has had on both Marines and Civilians alike, and, of course, how he convinced Oprah to make the MCM her first and only marathon.
This episode was tons of fun to record and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Huge thanks to Rick and Bret for coming on and sharing their thoughts and to Ashley Topolosky for setting this up! It was awesome to chat with all of you!
If you are taking on the MCM 50k or preparing for any sort of crazy endurance event, stick around for the end of the episode where Phil and I briefly discuss lessons and strategies we’ve learned through racing a handful of ultras.
MORE FROM THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON:
Info about the 50k: https://www.marinemarathon.com/blog/mcm-new-50k
MORE LIKE A BIGFOOT:
Subscribe and Review on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/like-a-bigfoot/id1160773293?mt=2
Soundcloud Archives: https://soundcloud.com/chris-ward-126531464
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/likeabigfoot/