The National Marathon, one of the year’s most disruptive events for D.C. travelers, is scheduled for Saturday. I rank it with the annual Christmas tree lighting on the Ellipse for the bad spirits it generates among those caught in the resulting congestion.
The nation’s capital welcomes many sporting events. What stands out about the National Marathon is that it takes place on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday, and it winds its way across many D.C. neighborhoods while many other events focus on the National Mall and the Potomac River. If you’re driving, riding a bus, biking or walking Saturday morning and afternoon in the central part of the District, including both banks of the Anacostia River and two of its bridges, you have a very good chance of being near the race course.
The marathon and the half marathon are scheduled to start at 7 a.m. near RFK Stadium. The D.C. police department says some street closings will begin at 6 a.m. Police say all the streets should be reopened by about 1:30 p.m. See a map of the marathon course. (Here’s a link to a pdf version.)
When you look at the map, don’t think only of whether your destination is on a street along the course. Look at the cross streets and think of the traffic rippling out from those points of contact with the course. Also, those living near the course will want to pay attention to where they park on Friday night.
For those participating in the run, the closest Metrorail stop for the start and finish is Stadium-Armory, on the Orange and Blue lines. Metrorail will open an hour early, at 6 a.m., to accommodate the participants. The transit authority is suspending its track work program for the next three weekends, so there should not be any of the usual maintenance delays.
Tip for runners: If you buy a paper fare card to ride Metrorail, put the card in a protective cover while you run. The cards don’t work so well when they get soggy.
Parking at Metro lots and garages is free on weekends. If you’re thinking of parking on D.C. streets, make sure to check the street parking signs. Parking limits apply on Saturdays in many areas. There also is free parking for the event in at RFK’s Lot 7 on the north side of the stadium and Lot 8 on the south side.
Read on to see the very lengthy list from the D.C. police department of streets along the course that will be closed Saturday morning and afternoon till the runners pass. In 2010, 12,000 runners participated.
The marathon and half marathon will form in front of RFK Stadium, then follow this route.
Start on 22nd Street NE at E. Capitol Street SE, west on C Street NE, west on North Carolina Avenue NE, south on 13th Street SE at Lincoln Circle, west on E. Capitol Street SE, north on 11th Street SE, west on E. Capitol Street NE, north on Second Street NE, west on Massachusetts Avenue NE, west onto outer lane of Columbus Circle NE, west on E Street NE, south on Third Street NW, west on Constitution Avenue NE, west on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, west on Constitution Avenue NW, then turning around and heading east on Constitution Avenue NW at 20th Street NW, north on 18th Street NW, north/northwest on Connecticut Avenue NW, north on Columbia Road NW, east on Harvard Street NW, south on Fifth Street NW, east on Bryant Street NW, south on N. Capitol Street NW, east on K Street NE, south on Fourth Street NE, east on H Street NE, south on 13th Street NE, east on Constitution Avenue NE, east on North Carolina Avenue NE, merge onto C Street NE, south onto 22nd Street NE, west into RFK Lot 3. This is the finish for the half marathon.
The marathon continues:
East into RFK Lot 7 under the C Street pedestrian tunnel, south into RFK Lot 7, west in RFK Lot 8, north through the pedestrian tunnel under Independence Avenue to RFK Lot 5, north on 22nd Street NE, west on E. Capitol Street SE, north on 19th Street NE, west on C Street NE, south on 13th Street SE at Lincoln Circle, west on E. Capitol Street SE, north on 11th Street SE, west on E. Capitol Street NE, north on Second Street NE, west on Constitution Avenue NE, west on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, west on Constitution Avenue NW, south on Ninth Street NW (tunnel), east on Maine Avenue SW, south on Sixth Street Extension SW, south on Water Street SW, merge onto the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, east on P Street SW, south on Second Street SW, east on V Street SW, north on First Street SW, east on Potomac Avenue SW, south onto S. Capitol Street SE, east on S. Capitol Street Bridge access road, north on S. Capitol Street Bridge access road, east on Anacostia Drive SE, turnaround and go west on Anacostia Drive SE, south on Nicholson Street SE, east on Fairlawn Avenue SE, southeast on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, north on L’Enfant Square SE, merge east on Minnesota Avenue SE, continue northeast on Minnesota Avenue SE, east on E. Capitol Street SE ramp, west on E. Capitol Street SE , merge northwest onto C Street SE, merge northwest onto 22nd Street NE and enter Lot 3 at RFK Stadium