(if you are looking for a runner's guide instead of a spectator's guide, click here)
- Get your metro cards in advance of the race and make sure they are pre-loaded with enough money. Plan your stops and know your stations ahead of time.
- Know what your runner is wearing - color of shirt, color of shoes, etc. You can prime your mind to scan the approaching crowd of runners for the right outfit.
- Know your runner's predicted pace and calculate location times and finish times:
- If a runner has a 10:30 pace and you will be at mile 15, it should take 2 hours and 37 minutes for them to reach you (if they run exactly that pace)
- A 10:30 pace would have a finish time of 4:35, so you can start paying extra attention after you see the 4:30 pace group pass you (pace groups usually have a prominent sign)
- Most runners will not run exactly this pace, so keep generous time margins around your estimates!
- Sign up for runner tracking so you know where your runner is on the course and how close they are to their predicted pace.
- Dress in layers - you will be cheering for a long time and the weather can change
- Bring snacks & water
- Make a creative sign
- Fully charge your phone & bring a back-up power source if you have one. You'll be taking pictures, checking race progress, sending texts - you will be amazed how fast your battery power dwindles.
- Bring a giant, distinctive balloon with a long string so your runner can spot you from a distance!
|Simba came with us to MCM 2013|
|Cookie Monster came to Nike Women's Half|
Viewing locations for MCM:
- Maximum viewing locations, "small child/limited walking" plan:
- Take the metro to the Smithsonian station (Orange, Blue, Silver lines)
- Exit on the "Mall" side (Jefferson & 12th)
- Walk West along Jefferson to Jefferson & 15th
- Walk South along 15th to 15th & Maine Ave. Do not cross Maine.
- Fly your balloon high for spectator spot #1, which is just past Mile 15. You will be on the runner's right.
- After spotting your runner, walk north along 15th to 15th & Independence. Do not cross Independence.
- Fly your balloon high for spectator spot #2, which is at Mile 17. You will be on the runner's right.
- After spotting your runner, walk east along Independence to 14th & Independence. Do not cross 14th.
- Fly your balloon high for spectator spot #3, which is about 1/4 of a mile before Mile 20. You will be on the runner's right.
|Spectator spot #3, photo credit: Dickson Mercer|
- Walk back to Smithsonian Metro and head to Rosslyn Metro for the Finish Line Festival and Family Link-up. Rosslyn is accessible by Orange, Blue, and Silver line.
|Meeting in the Family Link-up Area|
photo credit: Dickson Mercer
- Maximum viewing locations, "no small child/lots of walking ok" plan. If you do not have a small child with you like I did, you could supplement the above with:
- The Start Line: although the start line is by the Arlington Cemetery Metro, that station won't open until 8:30 (after the race start). So this option includes a brisk walk from the Pentagon Metro to the Start, followed by:
- either a brisk walk back to the Pentagon Metro or a wait until the Arlington Cemetery Metro opens at 8:30; or
- a walk across the Memorial Bridge to view your runner at 10.5 (followed by a bit of a walk to the viewing locations described above)
- The Finish Line: instead of going to Rosslyn for the Finish Line Festival, one could head to the actual Finish Line. This option includes a brisk walk from the Rosslyn Metro to the Finish Line. (Note: the finish line is very crowded)
|Spectator viewing locations noted above are marked by stars|
Good luck spectating and have fun! If you want to read about our spectating adventures from last year, check out this story by Dickson Mercer of RunWashington Magazine. We had a blast!
|Rick running MCM 2013|