Know Your Course: Mile by Mile Break Down

prev of next

Use this play by play of the courses for an epic race day!

When  preparing to ROCK March 10, 2018 at the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon and 1/2 Marathon, it helps to know what to expect on course. This mile by mile breakdown will aid you in preparing for what to expect on course, whether you’re rocking 26.2 or 13.1.

For full elevation details, visit our Course Map page.


  • Mile 1 at Constitution Ave & 14th St. NW: This is where your journey begins. Take a moment to breathe it all in. You’re literally standing in the cultural and political heart of America. You’re surrounded by history at every turn.
    • Look behind you and see the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
    • Cross the Start Line and look to your left as you pass the Washington Monument on your left.
    • Look to your right, straight down the middle to see the White House, just past The Ellipse where the National Tree is lit each year.
    • On the back end of your first mile you’ll pass the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, and Arlington Memorial Bridge to your left.
    • Make a slight right onto Virginia Ave. NW to merge onto 18th St. NW where you’ll pass the Art Museum of the America’s on your right and the Liberator Simon Bolivar Memorial further up on your left.
    • Still in mile 1, next you come up between the U.S. Department of Interior on your left, which includes the Interior Museum and Interior Library.
    • Sitting opposite side of the street is the Daughters of Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall and Memorial Hall. DAR is a family lineage-based service organization for women who’s ancestors and forefathers were directly involved in the U.S. fight for independence. Today it’s a non-profit group that promotes preserving history, education and patriotism.
    • Hang a left onto E St. NW before making another left to head back towards Constitution Ave. NW where you’ll make a right to merge back on.
  • Mile 2 at Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW: Wind your way up the highway running along the Potomac River. Look to your left to see Theodore Roosevelt Island. At the halfway point you’ll pass the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on your right before cutting right around the Watergate Complex at the intersection of Virginia Ave. NW and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.
  • Mile 3 on South bound Interstate 66: Get ready–you’re heading back towards the Lincoln Memorial for another glimpse, so soak it in! Then you’ll hang a right to head back North bound.
  • Mile 4 on Interstate 66: Cross over Virginia Ave. NW before making your way back on to Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW. You’re back running along the Potomac as you head north.
  • Mile 5 at Q St. NW & Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW: Get ready for your first big climb! Once you reach the top enjoy the view at the top, where you look to your left to see Embassy Row, part of the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District. It’s here that embassies, diplomatic missions and residences are concentrated.
  • Mile 6 on Shoreham Drive NW: You start to make your way down hill through the edge of the Woodley Park neighborhood, home to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
  • Mile 7 on Columbia Road NW: You’ve cut back across the Potomac and are prepping to continue your mileage through the Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights neighborhoods. First up is Adams Morgan, known as a thriving multicultural immigrant community with a winning bar and restaurant scene, while Columbia Heights boasts spectacular views of downtown DC.
  • Mile 8 at Georgia Ave. NW & Harvard St. NW: You’re still making your way downhill, so enjoy it! You hang a right at 5th St. NW heading straight toward Howard University, one of the nation’s leading educational institutions and among the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Be on the lookout for their drumline as you run through campus!
  • Mile 9 at Bryant St. NW & Capital St. NW: You’re now in the Bloomingdale neighborhood where you’ll enjoy Victorian-style rowhouses built in the 20th century.
    • On the left side of the street you’ll find the historic Prospect Hill Cemetery, a German-American cemetery founded in 1858 organized by early German immigrants in the 1800s.
  • Mile 10 on Capital St. NW: You’ve officially hit double digit mileage–go you! The mile 10 mile marker greets you in the Truxton Circle neighborhood. You’ll hang a left onto K St. NE before hanging a sharp right into mile 11. Heads up–expect a gradual climb now through mile 13.
  • Mile 11 at 4th St. NW & H St. NE: You’re in the H Street Corridor. Once one of Washington’s busiest commercial districts, today it serves as a lively nightlife district, home to the award winning historic Atlas Performing Arts Center, live music venues like Red and the Black, and Rock & Roll Hotel. Noteworthy restaurants include the Argonaut, Dangerously Delicious Pieces, Sticky Rice and others.
    • Fun fact: DC’s first ever Sears Roebuck store lives at 300 H Street. Keep your eyes peeled at the intersection of H Street and 3rd St. NE for the supermarket store Giant, which now resides in the historic building.
  • Mile 12 on 13th St. NE: You’re moving southbound again, headed straight for Lincoln Park. Founded in 1791 and historically referred to as Lincoln Square, it was the first memorial to bare the name of then President Lincoln and once served as the site of the Lincoln Hospital where famous American poet and journalist Walt Whitman visited injured soldiers during the Civil War.
    • Today it’s the largest Capitol Hill Park and features two important sculptures:
      • #1: The 1876 Freedman’s Memorial to Abraham Lincoln (Emancipation Monument).
      • #2: The second statue honors activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial, the first memorial ever erected in the U.S. to honor an African American and a woman.


  • Mile 12 continued: Time to wave goodbye to 13th St. NE where marathoners will continue their journey straight down the road. Hang a left on to Constitution Ave. NE, then make a slight left onto North Carolina Ave. before merging onto C St. NE.
  • Mile 13 at 22nd St. NE & C St. NE: Make one last right turn on to 22nd St. NE as you make your way to the Finish Line.
  • Mile 13.1 at E. Capitol St. NE: CROSS THE FINISH LINE! You rocked your run all the way to the Finish Line–go you! Proceed to collect your hard earned Finisher medal, some refreshments and hydration, then grab a spot by the stage to rest, rock out and reflect on your epic run!



  • Mile 12 continued: You’re headed southbound again, but this time you’ll be waving goodbye to your half marathon counterparts as they hang a left and you continue straight for Lincoln Park.
  • Mile 13 on East Capitol St. NE: You’re back in the Capitol District and your gradual climb finds its end on mile 13, so enjoy it before you head back downhill. As you turn left onto 3rd St. NE look for the Supreme Court Historical Society and the U.S. Asia Institute on the corner. As you round out your turn you’ll see the Folger Shakespeare Library and Library of Congress – John Adams Building just across the street.
    • 3/4 of your way into mile 13 you’ll find Folger Park, named after former Secretary of the Treasury Charles J. Folger.
    • Fun fact: The park is home to a diverse group of trees including copper beech, southern magnolia, yellowwood, American holly and others.
  • Mile 14 at E St. SE & First St. SE: It’s time to start another downhill climb. You’ll turn left on to S. Capitol St. SW passing through the Navy Yard district.
  • Mile 15 on S. Capitol St. SW: Your arrival at mile 15 also marks your arrival at the Nationals Ballpark, home of the Washington Nationals major league team. Look out for fly balls as you head south and make your way across the Anacostia River into the southeast part of the city.
  • Mile 16-17 on S. Capitol St. SW: Keep charging ahead as you race southbound then hang a u-turn back  northbound.
    • Remember to look to your right as you head southbound to see the White House Communications Agency, a joint military unit with members from each branch of the military whose mission is to provide normal and emergency communications to the President.
  • Mile 18 on S. Capitol St. SE: Keep those feet moving and enjoy a few miles with no elevation changes before turning right onto Anacostia Drive.
  • Mile 19-20 on Anacostia Dr.: Enjoy the next two miles running along the cool Anacostia River to your left.
    • Fun Fact: Towards the end of mile 19 to your right you’ll see the National Capital Parks-East, a lesser known district of the city’s Capital Parks. “Parks Beyond the Capital” includes 13 park sites, parkways and 8,000 acres of parklands that run from Capitol Hill to Maryland.
  • Mile 21 at Nicholson St. SE & Anacostia Dr.: Time to break away from Anacostia Park and head down Nicholson St. SE where you’ll make a slight left onto Fairlawn Ave. SE, running along the border of the Fairlawn neighborhood.
  • Mile 22 at Fairlawn Ave. SE & K St: It’s time to face one last hill. The last one–we promise! Make your way across Randle Circle Park onto Fort Dupont Dr. SE. into Fort Circle Park.
  • Mile 23 on K St. SE: Consider this easy stretch through Fort Circle Park your reward for beasting that last hill of your 26.2 mile journey! Continue winding your way through the park, past the ice rink on your left to begin your final descend.
  • Mile 24 on Ely Pl. SE: Your stroll in the park comes to an end as you continue downhill to hang a right onto Minnesota Ave. SE. Next you’ll exit Minnesota Ave. SE to your right, curve up and around the ramp to arrive back on East Capital St. NE.
  • Mile 25 on E. Capitol St. SE: The downhill climb is over and it’s time to crush your final stretch! Keep going across the Anacostia River via the Whitney Young  Jr. Memorial Bridge, named after civil rights activist and National Urban League executive director Whitney Young.
  • Mile 26 on C St. NE: This is your last mile–you made it! Take a moment to sit back in your stride as you reflect on the 20,000-plus steps that carried you to here. Smile and give yourself a pat on the back as you bring it on home, winding around the D.C. United Major Legue Soccer stadium, hanging one last left turn onto 22nd St. NE.
  • Mile 26.2 on E. Capitol St. NE: CROSS THE FINISH LINE, collect your medal and continue through the Secure Zone to claim your hard earned refreshments, post race beer and front row seat at the Finish Line Festival! You did it!