Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon will draw about 30,000 participants to the course through Arlington County and the District. Many of them, as well as their fans, will travel by Metro. Numerous streets will be closed, and the effects on traffic will extend well beyond the route the runners follow. Here’s a survival guide for participants, fans and those simply trying to avoid getting stuck.
Weather. The Sunday forecast shows clear skies and mild temperatures, but watch for updates from the Capital Weather Gang.
Start/Finish. The start line is on Route 110 between the Pentagon and Arlington Memorial Drive. Runners start at 7:55 a.m. Sunday. The course remains open till 3 p.m. The Finish Festival, where runners meet up with their supporters, is on North Lynn Street between Wilson Boulevard and 19th Street in Rosslyn. See a map of the finish line area on the marathon’s Web site.
The course. The 26.2-mile route starts on Route 110 in Arlington County, moves through Rosslyn along Lee Highway, then turns on Spout Run and the George Washington Parkway. Runners cross into the District via the Key Bridge in Georgetown. The turn right on M Street, then right on Wisconsin Avenue and left on K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway.
They turn right on 27th Street, right onto I (Eye) Street, right on Virginia Avenue and right again onto Rock Creek Parkway. They go north on the parkway before making a U-turn at Beach and Shoreham drives. Southbound, they pass the Kennedy Center, under the Roosevelt Bridge and around the Lincoln Memorial and pass under the Arlington Memorial Bridge and into West Potomac Park. After reaching Hains Point, they follow Ohio Drive to East Basin Drive and go left on Maine Avenue to Independence Avenue heading west.
They loop back on Independence and head for the Washington Monument, make a left onto 15th Street, then go right along Madison Drive to Third Street, pass around the Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol and head west again on Jefferson Drive.
They turn left on 14th Street and must reach the 14th Street Bridge by 1:15 p.m. (They will be traveling south in what would normally be the northbound HOV lanes on the bridge.) They use the ramp at the Pentagon exit to reach South Eads Street and turn left on Army Navy Drive. The runners turn left again on 12th Street South, cross under Jefferson Davis Highway, make a U-turn at 23rd Street, continue along Crystal Drive, make a right at Long Bridge Drive and follow Boundary Channel Drive to the Pentagon North parking lot. They pick up Route 110 to Marshall Drive, then take the Marine Corps Memorial access road to the finish line.
A list of the street closings appears at the end of this posting.
Metrorail. Metrorail remains a best bet for participants and spectators. The rail system will open at 5 a.m. Sunday, two hours earlier than normal. To reach the start line, use Pentagon station on the Blue and Yellow lines. The Pentagon station tends to be very crowded on race morning, so another option is the station at Pentagon City, one more stop down the lines. Arlington Cemetery station won’t open till 8:30 a.m.
The Arlington Cemetery station is an easy walk to and from the finish area, but it’s served by the Blue Line only. Rosslyn station, on the Blue and Orange lines, also is within walking distance and is popular on marathon day because it has the extra service provided by two lines. (Metro will operate extra Blue Line trains between Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory from 5 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
To slow the flow of people into stations and avoid dangerous crowding, Metro staffers sometimes will turn off the down escalators, turning them into walkers. Still, the lines at the fare vending machines and the fare gates can be extraordinarily long, and many of the people ahead of you may be using the system for the first time. Some may try to fit crumpled up paper fare cards into the gate, or may not realize they need to extract the card from the gate once it has been read electronically. Metro staffers do a good job helping people, but it’s still slow going.
The price of the plastic SmarTrip card, which can store fare value, is $2 and is available for sale at vending machines in stations. (You pay $10, getting the card plus $8 in fare value.) Buying one for marathon day is a good bet, partly because it saves paying the $1 per trip surcharge on paper fare cards and partly because the plastic cards don’t get soggy during a 26-mile run.
The Metro rebuilding program that normally disrupts weekend service will have a minimal impact on Sunday. Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green line trains will operate at regular weekend schedules, with this exception: Free shuttle buses will replace Green Line trains between Greenbelt and College Park. The bus trip will take about 15 minutes.
The Red Line has the biggest variation in schedule this weekend. Trains will leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 24 minutes. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., more trains will be in service between Medical Center and NoMa-Gallaudet. In that zone, trains should reach platforms every 12 minutes.
People who plan on using Metrorail to reach several spots where they can cheer on their runners should keep in mind that no line is scheduled to provide rush hour-level service. Allow enough time to reach a station near the course before your runner passes by. (Runners are required to maintain a minimum pace of 14 minutes per mile. Sometimes, it may be quicker for spectators to walk between viewpoints than to take Metrorail.
Metrobus. The Pentagon bus terminal will be closed from 4 a.m. to about 4 p.m. During those hours, the buses will use the Pentagon City station. The Rosslyn bus terminal will be closed from 4 a.m. to about 6 p.m., and the buses will be relocated to Oak Street.
Parking. Driving and parking for the marathon will be challenging.
Marathon officials advise that runners could use the parking garage at 23rd Street and Crystal Drive in Crystal City, then take the free shuttles to the Runners Village near the Pentagon.
Parking Panda, the online parking service, has set up a Web page that can help marathon participants find and reserve parking in the vicinity of the start and finish areas.
Taxis. Service will be available from the corner of North Lynn and 19th Streets, near the Family Festival.
Street closings. Several police agencies are involved in closing off the course. This is a list of the street closings compiled by the marathon sponsors. The reopening times are approximate and will depend on the prevailing conditions.
4 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Madison Drive NW from 3rd Street NW to 15th Street NW
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. North Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Lynn Street
4 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Route 110 from I-66 to U.S. Highway 1
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Wilson Boulevard from North Nash Street to Route 110
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Lynn Street from North Meade Street to Lee Highway
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Fort Myer Drive from North Meade Street to Lee Highway
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. North Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway
4 a.m.–5:30 p.m. 19th Street North from Lynn Street to North Nash Street
4 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Route 110 ramp from Washington Boulevard to Route 110
4:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Boundary Channel Drive from Route 110 to Long Bridge Drive
5 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Jefferson Drive SW from 3rd Street SW to 15th Street SW
5 a.m.–1:30 p.m. 7th Street NW from Madison Drive NW to Jefferson Drive SW
6:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW (northbound) to Beach Drive
6:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW (southbound) from Shoreham Drive NW
6:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m Shoreham Drive NW (southbound) From Calvert Street to Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW
6:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Beach Drive NW from Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW to Calvert Street
7:23 a.m.–9:15 a.m. Lee Highway (eastbound) from North Kirkwood Street to Lynn Street
7:30 a.m.–9:25 a.m. Spout Run Parkway from Lee Highway to George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP)
7:30 a.m.–9:40 a.m. GWMP from Spout Run to Key Bridge off ramp
7:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Long Bridge Drive from 12th Street to Boundary Channel Drive
7:33 a.m.–9:40 a.m. Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes)
7:35 a.m.–1:17 p.m. 14th Street SW from Jefferson Drive to northbound HOV lanes
7:35 a.m.–1:45 p.m. HOV lanes from 14th Street SW to HOV ramp at South Eads Street
7:40 a.m.–2 p.m. South Eads Street from South Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive
7:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Army Navy Drive from South Eads to 12th Street South
7:47 a.m.–10:36 a.m. M Street NW from Canal Road NW to Wisconsin Avenue NW
7:48 a.m.–10:40 a.m. Wisconsin Avenue from M Street NW to K Street NW
7:49 a.m.–10:45 a.m. K Street NW from Wisconsin Avenue NW to 27th Street NW
7:49 a.m.–10:45 a.m. 27th Street NW from K Street NW to I Street NW
7:49 a.m.–10:45 a.m. I Street NW from 27th Street NW to Virginia Avenue NW
7:50 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW from Beach and Shoreham Drive to Independence Avenue
7:52 a.m.–11:05 p.m. Lincoln Circle from 23rd Street NW to 23rd Street SW
7:53 a.m.–noon Ohio Drive SW at West Potomac Park from Independence Avenue SW around East Potomac
Park to Maine Avenue SW
8 a.m.–10 a.m. 15th Street South from Crystal Drive to Eads Street
8 a.m.– 2:30 p.m. 12th Street from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive
8 a.m.– 2:30 p.m. Crystal Drive from 12th Street to 23rd Street
8:02 a.m.–12:10 p.m. Maine Avenue SW from East Basin Drive to Independence Avenue SW
8:03 a.m.–12:25 p.m. East Basin Drive from Maine Avenue to Ohio Drive
8:06 a.m.–12:28 p.m. Independence Avenue SW from Maine Avenue SW to 23rd Street SW
8:13 a.m.–12:35 p.m. 15th Street NW/SW from Constitution Avenue NW to Maine Avenue SW
8:15 a.m.–12:55 p.m. 3rd Street; Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Maryland Avenue SW
8:15 a.m.–12:55 p.m. 4th Street; Constitution Avenue NW to Independence SW
8:16 a.m.–12:50 p.m. Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to E. Capitol Circle
8:16 a.m.–12:50 p.m. 1st Street; Pennsylvania NW to Maryland Avenue SW
8:16 a.m.–12:50 p.m. Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to 1st Street NW
8:17 a.m.–12:52 p.m. Maryland Avenue SW from 1st Street SW to 3rd Street SW