Spectacular Scenery in Store for Runners at this Weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon



Spectacular Scenery in Store for Runners at this Weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon

  • March running event rebrands from Rock ‘n’ Roll USA to Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon
  • CareFirst renews partnership as presenting sponsor of marathon & half-marathon
  • Health & Fitness Expo to take place at Convention Center after 3 years in the Armory


Washington DC – Every year, nearly 19 million tourists visit Washington D.C. But how many of these visitors actually get to experience our nation’s capital the real way it should be experienced by running down the middle of its historical and beautiful streets? This weekend, a lucky subset of these people will be doing just that by taking part in the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon presented by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

“Washington DC is a tremendous destination and there isn’t a better running tour of the city than 26.2 or 13.1-miles of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” said Keith Kendrick, CMO of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series. “The DC brand has become synonymous with the biggest events taking place in our national capital and marathon weekend should be bigger than ever with the two-day Health & Fitness expo moving from the armory to the Convention Center in 2015.”

Keith Dowling, who has run 2:13 in the marathon, will be the Course Operations Director at this weekend’s exciting races, which include a 5K, half, and full marathon–all on Saturday. Dowling says that the same focus that was required of him to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials applies to his job today.

“This is an intense activity,” he admits. “But it’s fun. It has the same build-up that the marathon used to have for me mentally and physically for me.” Dowling admits when over 20,000 people are lined up on Constitution Avenue at the start, it makes him pause. “You just take it all in—seeing the runners like that in front of iconic buildings on major and famous streets. It’s really cool.”

What makes the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. race stand out most for its participants is the fact that it’s the only marathon in the capital that runs exclusively through the city. Originally called the National Marathon, it then became the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon, and for the first time this year, will now proudly carry the city’s name in its title.

Runners have a real treat in store come Saturday. Both the marathon and the half begin on the storied Constitution Avenue—the scene of countless Presidential Inaugural parades. From there, runners will have the White House on their right and the Washington Monument on their left: two of Washington D.C.’s most-iconic structures. Other sights along the route include the Supreme Court and the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Those who will grit through all 26.2 miles of the marathon will be given a bit of a break by taking on 3 scenic miles alongside the Anacostia River.

Not to be overlooked is the 5K, which starts and finishes at the stadium. Besides the usual landmarks, there is one marker that fans of rock ‘n’ roll should keep an eye out for. Dowling, himself a guitarist and music buff, says that near the 10.5-mile point in the race is the location where the Beatles played their first concert in the United States back in 1964, the Washington Coliseum.

“The runners will have to look up to see it,” he says. “It’s not the kind of venue that you’d expect to host the Beatles.”

Joining the 20,000 runners at the front will be the usual contingent of elites. Arlington, Virginia resident Mike Wardian is the pre-race favorite. Wardian, who has won this race an incredible six times, is in for some stiff competition from the likes of Patrick Moulton, a 2:15 marathoner. The women’s marathon will be most likely a footrace between Rebecca Bader and Ritanne O’Brien. Bader boasts a 2:53 marathon, while O’Brien has run 2:56 for the distance.

The fields for the men’s half marathon contain some hometown favorites like Evan Jurkovich of Washington D.C. who owns a 1:09 personal best for that distance. The women’s pre-race favorite in the half is Frehiwot Gosho of Ethiopia who was the bronze medalist at the 2008 World Junior Championships.

The conclusion of the Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C. Marathon is expected to be just as rocking as the start with The Cheaters and Better Than Ezra playing inside RFK Stadium at the Finish Line Festival.

For the first time in 2015 the event’s signature two-day Health & Fitness Expo will be held at Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The expo, where all participants pick up their race number, is open and free to the general public, featuring a series of interactive clinics, free samples and the latest in health and fitness apparel. CareFirst has renewed its multi-year agreement as the presenting partner of the event, which annually attracts more than 25,000 runners.

Originally known as the National Marathon for six years, the event was rebranded as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series for the first time in 2012. The next year the start line was relocated to Constitution Avenue, a scenic venue conveniently located to city center hotels and more than 5 metro stops within one-mile.

In 2014, the event rolled out numerous improvements to the runner experience. The race now features a sprawling new finish line area in Lots 6 and 7 at RFK Stadium, offering more space for participants and their friends and families, as well as spectators. The new set up better accommodated the flow of runners coming through the finish line, as well as crowds enjoying the finish line festival and post-race concert.

Among other improvements, UPS trucks were utilized to transport participant gear bags from the start to the finish. The expanded finish area provided more space for runners to safely and efficiently retrieve their belongings from the trucks, which are designed perfectly for the effective implementation of gear check. All water stations are manned by both volunteers and additional hired staff to ensure proper levels of runner support.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by CareFirst combines fitness and fun with each mile of the race featuring live, local bands, cheerleaders and motivating spectators, culminating with a major music headliner performing at the finish line festival. Race day also includes a 5k event, which starts and finishes at RFK Stadium.
For more information or to register for the event, visit www.RunRocknRoll.comor follow @RunRocknRoll using the hashtag #RnRDC on Instagram and Twitter.