This is Washington, DC Behind the Lens

This is Washington DC Behind the Lens

Stop, look and listen! There’s a whole lot of DC to discover on and off the course.

When Washington, DC is mentioned in conversation it tends to evoke images of Capitol Hill, the White House, the Pentagon and other well known landmarks. We’re here to tell you there’s all that and then some when it comes to America’s capital. A picture is worth a thousand words, so this is one instance where the story of race weekend is best told not by us, but through the eyes (err–phone cameras) of our runners.

This is United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC beyond the course. Feast with your eyes and be inspired to join the District’s biggest running festival!


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This is no exaggeration–the Start Line alone makes this race a bucket list must. The Start Line in DC is truly monumental. Behind you in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Just waiting in your corral you see the Washington Monument neatly placed in the skyline. Across the Start Line you’re treated to that, plus the Ellipse where the National Tree is erected each year, the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pools, the Art Museum of the America’s and so much more before continuing along Capitol Hill.

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One thing DC cannot be beat at is museums, galleries and exhibits. The city is in a league of it’s own with top grade museums and best of all, the majority are free to visit. The (unofficial) list of museums and galleries reaches as far as 200 plus! Some are in traditional spaces, while others in historic homes or preserved industrial buildings. Eat your hearts out, history buffs!

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The marathon and half marathon toe the line on Constitution Avenue, an iconic street that serves as a border of the National Mall, reaches all the way from the U.S. Capitol before continuing on to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.

An impressive number of museums, memorials and national headquarters live along the street, further driving home the awe-inspiring experience of stepping up to the Start Line and racing just a few steps away from so many national treasures.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll DC takes military appreciation to a new level with the combined wear blue Mile and the Military Challenge taking place. There has yet to be a participant, volunteer or lucky passerby that has witnessed the memorial mile stretch and not felt the emotion.

The wear blue Mile  consists of two parts, the first being the Faces of the Fallen posters. The second is American flags each  individually adorned with a black ribbon bearing the name of a fallen military member held by volunteers. Look for the wear blue Mile for the ultimate salute to America’s bravest.

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According to, DC is one of America’s smartest cities. So it’s no surprise that come race morning, there’s no shortage of witty and well thought motivational signs. Some might argue DC residents make some of the best signs around!

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Equally as bright as the minds putting together those motivational signs, DC boroughs plant their flags along the course race day to offer cheers in both word and beverage form, as well as in some truly wonderful and wacky costumes. It’s a welcome respite to participants as they weave their way throughout the city.

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The culinary scene in the city currently undergoing a revitalization. New neighborhood restaurants are popping up all over the city, so many you might find it difficult to choose. The city has always been recognized as a hub of great international cuisine, and with the rebirth of the city beginning in early 2000s, different regions have come to the forefront. Southeast Asia, The Middle East, French and Italian restaurants have taken center stage in recent years.

Another reason the is city rising to foodie greatness is its diversity. Visitors and locals have lots of options, whether seeking a traditional full course meal, opting for small plate spots where you can share and sample a little of everything, on to where quality food is paired with unique dining experiences inspired by different eras.

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It was George Washington who made the decision that DC should hold the honor and title of America’s capital, and centuries later, the glamour of old Washington is seen throughout the city. Not surprising, the city’s charms are an international blend of different influences. It’s Gregorian, Italian, neo-classical; it’s industrial chic; cobblestone streets in Georgetown and more.

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The Military Challenge is a unique race-within-a-race available to active duty or retired military members. Available in only five Tour Stops (Raleigh, Virginia Beach, San Diego, San Antonio and DC), the Military Challenge launched in 2015 in DC itself.

The Military Challenge is free with registration and offers a friendly competition among service members. Finish times are ranked against both your age group and all others in the Challenge. Finisher awards are given to the top three overall males and females and certificates are mailed to the top three fastest times in all service branches. Choose your service branch during online registration to try your luck and take home more bragging rights!

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Politics can wait, because come race weekend the city makes way for Rock ‘n’ Roll DC to take over the streets. Race morning for marathoners and half marathoners means one of the most iconic and important streets in the city, your Start Line at Constitution Ave., is closed off just for you.

Remember earlier (scroll up) when we mentioned the many museums and national headquarters concentrated along this street? Yeah…not today. Race day means you get that first 1-3 mile stretch that holds the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Ellipse and the White House beyond it, and other national treasures to yourself. Walk it; run it; just be sure to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the experience!


The capital city has no shortage of history, culture, food and worthwhile experiences. The invitation is there, so accept today and rally your friends and family together to make it a race weekend getaway and meet us in DC!