As many as 30,000 runners will lace up and set out on one the most ambitious journeys an athlete can make this Sunday: 26.2 miles, on foot, past neighborhoods, reservoirs, monuments and exactly one Banana Republic.
The Marine Corps Marathon kicks off Sunday at 7:55 a.m. and is one of the biggest Washington events of the year, taking runners from Arlington to MacArthur Boulevard, over several blocks of M Street in Georgetown, across Rock Creek Parkway and the Mall and back in a single day.
UPDATE 10/26 3:47 p.m.: As of Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the marathon said that race officials are closely monitoring Hurricane Sandy, but had not made any plans to postpone Sunday’s run. Rain alone, she said, would not affect the event. Marines “run through anything,” said Tami Faram, public relations coordinator for the Marine Corps Marathon. “Marines adopt and overcome.”
The race is full, but for fans, there are plenty of places to cheer on runners, as well as opportunities to visit a health fair, take part in family events, or attend the finish festival.
For drivers hoping to get around the District or Arlington, there are plenty of places to avoid until 3 p.m., when the race ends.
Where to watch
Tami Faram, public relations coordinator for the Marine Corps Marathon, suggests spectators head for the Lincoln Memorial, which runners pass twice, once at Mile 11, and again at 16.
Other options include Constitution Avenue and the Mall from 15th Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, not far from where runners will complete miles 17 and 18; the Tidal Basin, which runners will loop at Mile 11 and 15; M Street between Canal Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW in Georgetown; and Crystal City in the blocks surrounding the Metro, where participants will be trudging through the last leg of the race (Mile 22). If you’re hoping to make it to the starting line, find it not far from the Arlington National Cemetery Metro on Route 110.
Some closures will be fairly brief, ending before most people have finished their morning coffee. Others will last much of the day. Here are some of the significant closures for those trying to get around D.C. or Arlington on Sunday:
Route 110: For those headed to Del Ray, Pentagon City or Old Town, know that Route 110 from I-66 to U.S. Highway 1 will be closed from 4 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. (The MCM starting point is on Route 110.) Additional closures circle Route 110, including Marshall Drive from North Meade Street to 110, and Wilson Boulevard from North Nash Street to 110.
Key Bridge: All lanes closed from 7:33 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.
Georgetown: M Street NW from Canal Road NW to Wisconsin Avenue NW will be closed from 7:47 a.m. to 10:36 a.m. Wisconsin Avenue from M Street NW to K Street NW will be closed from 7:48 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.
Near Pentagon/Pentagon City mall: Army Navy Drive from South Fern to 12th Street South will be closed from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Near the Mall and museums: Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to East Capitol Circle will be closed from 8:16 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Lincoln Circle from 23rd Street NW to 23rd Street SW will close between 7:52 a.m. and 11:05 a.m. Maine Avenue SW from East Basin Drive to Independence Avenue SW is closed from 8:02 a.m.–12:10 p.m., and East Basin Drive will also shutter from Maine Avenue to Ohio Drive from 8:03 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. 14th Street SW from Jefferson Drive to northbound HOV lanes will be closed from 7:35 a.m. to 1:17 p.m.
If you’re running
Carbo-load the night before at one of our favorite red-sauce joints, such as Argia, where the pasta is not only plentiful, but homemade.
What else you can do
Beginning Thursday, the D.C. Armory will play host to a three-day health and fitness expo. Runners will be picking up their race packets, but active types simply in the market for new running shoes or gear are also welcome. Vendors will be selling apparel, nutritional offerings and other items. The free event is Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The MCM Finish Festival will be in Rosslyn from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free massages for runners, a beer garden, and live music, all around the Rosslyn Metro station (additional Blue Line trains will be running on Sunday).
Crystal City will host a race-related family fest on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature arts and crafts with the National Children's Museum, circus arts, moonbounces and, of course, a chance to cheer on the racers.
Want to see how much ground the runners will cover? Get a look at the map below. For a larger map, check out the MCM Web site.