Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon brings bands, runners and traffic tie-ups
By Fritz Hahn
Friday, March 16, 2012
If you’ve been thinking about heading to Eastern Market for brunch on Saturday morning or driving to Adams Morgan to meet friends at Tryst, you might want to reconsider, and not just because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. The arrival of the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon will mean a slew of road closures across the District throughout the morning and early afternoon on Saturday, especially on streets encircling Capitol Hill and allowing access to U Street and Adams Morgan.
This is D.C.’s first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon -- it takes over for the National Marathon, held in the spring for six years -- and the course is a lively one. Bands perform on stages situated roughly every mile; highlights include the Grandsons performing roots rock on the Dupont Circle overpass, the N’awlins brass band Yamomanem playing at 21st and C streets NE, the soulful Black Alley band at Minnesota Avenue and Randall Circle SE, and indie rockers Oh So Peligroso at South Capitol Street and Anacostia Drive. (Check out a full schedule with artists and locations.) Switchfoot headlines a concert at the RFK Stadium finish line.
The course winds through a number of D.C.’s most popular neighborhoods, including the H Street corridor, Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights and Dupont Circle, making it easy for people to head outside and cheer for friends as they run past.
However, it’s going to make life difficult for anyone with a car who lives inside the race course.
Some roads will be blocked as early as midnight, though most will close between 7:20 and 9:30 a.m. and reopen between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (The lengthy list of roads affected and the times they’re expected to reopen is available on the Marathon’s Web site, along with info on “no parking zones.”)
There will be several “cross routes” that motorists can use to get into and out of the Hill, most notably at Eighth and East Capitol streets NE, but if there are runners approaching, cars will be held up. However, there are no crossings along Columbia Road, Harvard Street or Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Columbia Road so those arteries will be blocked from 8 to 11 or 11:30 a.m., leaving residents to make lengthy detours or just stay in their own neighborhoods.
The takeaway: Take Metro -- Dupont Circle, U Street and Eastern Market are inside the containment zone, and trains will begin running at 6 a.m. Be warned, though: dozens of bus routes will detour during the marathon, including the popular 42, X2 and the 90-series and 30-series lines, and there’s single-tracking on every Metro line.