Hopefully the weather will be gorgeous on April 12, but as I start training for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run it is cold, dark, and sometimes dreary when I head out for my o’dark-thirty runs. Luckily this area has so many beautiful places to run, my efforts to get out there despite the weather are often rewarded with gorgeous sunrises, breathtaking views of the monuments, or surprising views of natural beauty. If you need inspiration to bundle up and get your run in, check out some of these routes.
5K or 5 Miles
Park at the Iwo Jima Memorial and run towards the Memorial Bridge, along the sidewalk parallel to Route 110 (with Arlington National Cemetery on your right). Head over the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial (loop around to the left for cross walks and walk (run?) signals). An out-and-back to the front side of the Lincoln Memorial will be about 5K (a bit over 3 miles). For a longer run (about 5 miles), continue along the Reflecting Pool, past the World War II Memorial, and loop around the Washington Monument.
5 or 9 Miles
Park at Gravelly Point (along the G.W. Parkway between Ronald Reagan National Airport and the 14th Street Bridge), and run along the Mount Vernon Trail to the 14th Street Bridge. Run across the 14th Street Bridge, head over towards the Jefferson Memorial, and run around Tidal Basin, passing through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. When you get back to the Jefferson Memorial, retrace your route over the bridge and back to Gravelly Point. This route is about 5 miles. You can make it 4 miles longer–and get a preview of what I think is the hardest part of the Cherry Blossom course–by adding a loop around Hains Point.
For more bucolic views, run an out-and-back route of any distance along the C&O canal, which starts in Georgetown (park under the Key Bridge or park at Roosevelt Island and run over the Key Bridge) or the southern end of the Mount Vernon Trail (park at any of the parks between Old Town and Mount Vernon).
I hope this gives you some motivation to get out there and enjoy the sights along your runs. For even more motivation, sign up for the virtual training program presented by New Balance here or the PR in-person training program here.
Do you have a favorite place to run?