The iconic red arches that thousands of runners pass under at the start of the Marine Corps Marathon were temporarily relocated to the Alexandria, Va. home of former U.S. Marine Hank Hart on March 31 as part of Comcast SportsNet’s “Start Marine Corps Marathon from Your House” contest.
Hart was joined by MCM race director Rick Nealis and other Marine runners on a short training run as part of the contest. The run concluded with Hart breaking the official MCM finisher ribbon to kick-off the MCM registration season.
MCM representatives visited the Hart household to set up the iconic MCM arch and provide post-run hospitality, prizes and chiropractic services. As part of the contest, Hart has won VIP treatment on marathon day, October 25, including two sought-after elite entries for the marathon, two tickets to the MCM pre-race pasta party, official MCM apparel and VIP parking on race day.
The contest marks the beginning of online registration period for the MCM, a process that has traditionally taken only days to fill 30,000 spots. Registration opens at noon on April 1 on the marathon Web site, www.marinemarathon.com.
Hart has participated in the MCM 17 times between 1977, the second year of the event, and 2008. His personal best finish time is 3:28:42 in 1979. Hart, 62, served as a U.S. Marine from 1972 to 1974 in logistics. He is currently working in Dumfries, Va., as a defense contractor supporting Marine Corps Systems Command. His sons, James and John, and daughter, Mariah, have also run the MCM. Hart’s sons are former U.S. Marines and Virginia residents. During their service, James, 29, was deployed to Afghanistan, while John, 23, has served two tours in Iraq.
No federal or Marine Corps endorsement of sponsors implied.