Runner to complete Marine Corps Marathon virtually for first time in 36 years

This year, the Marine Corps Marathon won’t happen in person, but that’s not stopping one of its most durable runners from completing the race on his own.

“I’m one of these crazy kind of people,” 70-year-old George Banker said Thursday. He’ll run his 36th Marine Corps Marathon this weekend, although, for the first time ever, it’ll be virtual. “The only thing I was concerned about was, are we gonna have some type of a race?”

READ MORE: Marine Corps Marathon canceled for first time in 45 years because of pandemic

Banker started running back in 1982. He’s up to 120 marathons total, but he said the MCM has always been extra special. That’s largely because both his father and step-father served in the Marine Corps – even though he did not.

“I did my time in the Air Force,” Banker laughed. “And you know I had to duck when I told them that.”

Major heart surgery in 2017 didn’t stop the avid runner, and now thanks to virtual races, COVID-19 won’t either.

“I can say now I did the Toronto [Marathon] virtual. I’ve done the Des Moines Iowa virtual,” Banker said, adding that he has three additional virtual marathons planned for next month. “I’m out there running that distance anyway, so I might as well get credit for it.”

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So Saturday morning, he’ll run from MGM National Harbor to the Francis Scott Key Bridge and back. It’ll be different from any of the 35 MCM’s Banker’s run before, but he said not to worry – he’s not done with the MCM yet, not by a mile.

“I’m 17 on the [all-time] list,” he said before pausing to add, “so that means I’ll stop when I get to the top.”