Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Get Me to the Race On Time!

The DC metro system is a mess right now. We are in the midst of SafeTrack, which includes a moratorium on the metro opening early. This is likely to have a significant impact on three big races in the next two months, and they are all handling it very differently. What are they doing?

Navy-Air Force Half

The Navy-Air Force Half is this weekend: Sunday, September 18 at 7:00 am. Since the metro won't open until 7:00 am, no one can rely on metro for this race. Official race suggestions:
  • Parking: street parking options, the Ronald Reagan Building parking garage, reserved parking spot through Parking Panda
  • Biking: Two Wheel Valet will provide free bike valet services, Capital Bikeshare stations are widely available
  • Rideshare: Lyft is offering a promotional price to race participants
More details about these options are on the race website here.

Army Ten-Miler

The Army Ten-Miler is Sunday, October 9 at 8:00 am, with a new wave going off every 8 minutes until all 8 waves have started. Again, metro will open at 7:00 am. The orange line will be single tracking between Vienna and West Falls Church, further complicating metro travel. Official race suggestions:
  • Give yourself extra time
  • Runners in waves 1-4: should NOT use metro. Alternate options include driving, car pooling, ride sharing (Uber, Lyft, taxi), staying at a hotel near the Pentagon, and bicycling
  • Runners in waves 5-8: could use metro, but should give themselves extra time, and might still want to consider other options
  • Any runner arriving late can start in a slower wave with no time penalty
More details are on the race website here.

Marine Corps Marathon

The Marine Corps Marathon is Sunday, October 30 with a start time of 7:55. Metro is opening at 7 am, and they will run 8-car trains on the blue and yellow lines and will increase the frequency of the trains. MCM made some key changes to accommodate late arrivals:
  • The start line will remain open until 8:55 am
  • Shuttle buses have been added to various locations
  • ART buses will be added to the Ballston to Pentagon City route beginning at 5 am
  • Parking areas (free and paid) have been identified
  • The marathon course was adjusted to allow later starters enough time to "beat the bridge" within the 14 minute/mile time limit; the bridge is now at Mile 18 rather than Mile 20
  • The 10K race has been moved to Arlington and begins at 9:15
More information about the changes is here.

Looking Ahead

Next year, both the Rock-n-Roll Marathon and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run will be impacted by the metro situation. They will be watching closely to learn from the fall races' experiences.

Looking Back

In May, I predicted there would be an exception for these races and metro would open early. Yes, I was wrong. I own my mistake!


  1. Your calm in the face of these challenges is very inspiring -- I bet many, many runners are FREAKING OUT! I wish you fun races with no travel hassles, all fall!

    1. Thank you Anne, but you are giving me too much credit! I'm calm because I'm an outside observer not running these big races. I do hope to run MCM 10k (toes permitting!), but it starts at 9:15 so I can actually take the metro. Hubby is running ATM, but he's staying in the race hotel.

  2. I am doing the MCM 10K for the first time and need to figure out how to get there!

    1. I'm hoping to do MCM 10k if my toes are cooperating by then. Since it doesn't start until 9:15 and is completely in Arlington, I think we can actually take metro.

  3. Nice site redesign and post. Oh man.. I thought metro would have been ready for Cherry Blossom as well.

    1. Thanks! No early metro opening for Cherry Blossom next year. At least CB can learn from all of the other races what works and what doesn't. NAFHalf runners had some good insights.