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The Inaugural Washington, D.C. Marathon was held Sunday 24 March 2002. This 26.2 mile race is run entirely within the District of Columbia, in contrast to the established autumn Marine Corps Marathon which goes through both D.C. and Arlington, Virginia.

The course begins on Memorial Bridge and heads due east along Constitution Avenue past The Mall and The Capitol. Capitol Hill is a significant hill, but not difficult this early in the race. RFK stadium marks mile 5, as the route continues beyond another mile just beyond Minnesota Avenue where the route heads south after a few turns. At Pennsylvania Avenue the course hangs right and heads back to the Capitol Hill area. Winding back to the Potamic River and the Foggy Bottom neighborhood the second half of the course is a winding path through the area near Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Howard University, and McMillan Reservoir ending at the finish line at Freedom Plaza.

I crashed during the latter part of the course, my legs flush with lactic acid as I trudged uphill from the 19 to 21 mile markers. In my opinion, this is a very difficult course due to the continual hills in the second half of the race, and other runners I talked with agreed. It is not a course for setting a personal record (PR), but one should consider it a challenge. For me, the timing is right so that I have enough recovery time to run another marathon in May, probably the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

Andrey Kuzhetsov (44) won the 2002 race with a time of 2:23:40 and Victoria Mills (40) was the first place woman at 2:54:30. The top wheelchair racer was Dane Pilon (41) at 1:58:40. There were about 8000 total runners and walkers. For a new marathon with less than 10,000 runners, the crowds were outstanding. Cheering spectators line the roads along The Mall, the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, and the finish at Freedom Plaza, as well as several other places of which I don't know the names. These cheers were a real consolation as I slogged my way along after a disheartening slow-down past the half-way mark.

Some members of the local communities were discontent with the date of the marathon, as it coincided with Palm Sunday; the closure of roads hindered many worshipers from reaching their church as conveniently as usual. Mayor Anthony Williams even apologized to the local churches for the inconvenience.

The Inaugural Washington, D.C. Marathon route, courtesy of the official website www.washingtondcmarathon.com:

  • Starting Point- Memorial Bridge (Runners will be on both sides of the road at the beginning of the race heading east on Memorial Bridge)
  • Veer left around the Lincoln Memorial toward Henry Bacon Drive NW, again, veer left on Henry Bacon Drive NW, head down Henry Bacon Drive NW toward Constitution Avenue NW
  • Take a right on Constitution Avenue NW and then continue straight on Constitution NW/NE
  • At North Carolina Avenue NE take a left and proceed past RFK Stadium where North Carolina Avenue NE turns into East Capitol Street NE/SE
  • Continue on East Capitol, cross the Whitney Young Memorial Bridge and veer right onto B Street SE
  • Take B Street SE and proceed to Minnesota Avenue SE
  • Take a left on Minnesota Avenue SE
  • Follow Minnesota Avenue SE until it intersects with Pennsylvania Avenue SE
  • Take a right on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, follow Pennsylvania Avenue SE all the way down toward the Capitol where Pennsylvania Avenue SE turns into Independence Avenue SW
  • Continue on Independence Avenue pass the Smithsonian Institute - National Air and Space Museum and take a left on 7th Street SW
  • Take 7th Street SW to Maine Avenue SW and make a right turn
  • Follow Maine Avenue past the Jefferson Memorial where it intersects with Independence Avenue SW
  • Veer left on to Independence Avenue SW and follow Independence along the Potomac River until Independence turns into Rock Creek Parkway
  • Continue on Rock Creek until it intersects with Virginia Avenue
  • Veer right on Virginia Avenue and follow to 18th Street NW
  • Veer left on 18th Street NW and follow to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Veer left on Pennsylvania Avenue and follow Washington Circle to 23rd Street NW
  • Veer right onto 23rd Street NW which turns into 22nd Street NW just pass P Street and veer right onto Q Street NW
  • Continue on Q Street NW till it intersects with Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Take a right on Massachusetts Avenue NW and follow until you reach 7th Street NW
  • Veer right on 7th Street NW and follow until it intersects with Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Veer left back onto Massachusetts Avenue NW and follow until you reach North Capital Avenue NE
  • Take a left on North Capital NE until you reach Michigan Avenue NE
  • Take a left on Michigan Avenue NE and follow until you reach Warder NW and take a right
  • Follow Warder to your reach Kenyon and take a left and follow until you reach 13th Street NW
  • Take a left on 13th Street NW and follow until you reach Logan Circle
  • Veer right around the circle till you reach Vermont Avenue NW
  • Veer right onto Vermont and follow Vermont till you reach K Street NW (You will pass through Thomas Circle)
  • Veer right on K Street NW and follow until you reach 15th Street NW
  • Veer left on 15th Street NW and follow until you reach H Street NW and take a left
  • Follow H Street NW all the way down into Chinatown under the Friendship Archway to you reach 6th street NW
  • Take a right on 6th street NW and follow past the MCI Center till you reach Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Take a right onto Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Follow Pennsylvania Avenue NW all the way down towards 14th Street NW and Freedom Plaza where the Finish Line is located.
The course is USA Track and Field Certified (certification No.: DC-01021-RT) and Sanctioned

Update: The Washington D.C. Marathon is no more. The company which organized the marathon, H20 Sports, cancelled the second annual marathon just days before the race citing, "Security reasons." In its place, hundreds of people ran an unofficial marathon, following the planned course despite the roads being open to traffic.

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