Discover the nation’s capital during these organized races, marathons and more.
Whether you’re a serious runner or like to stay active while having fun with friends, DC has great organized race options for all fitness levels.
Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run occurred virtually during the National Cherry Blossom Festival but will return in-person on September 12, 2021. The run is in high demand, and to avoid overcrowding, the National Park Service limits the number of entrants to 15,000. Sign up online to be included in the entry lottery.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series
You won’t need your running playlist to stay motivated during this marathon, half marathon or 5K race. Runners descend on DC during November for the popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series where participants are serenaded by live bands and cheer teams positioned along the course. Celebrate crossing the finish line with a post-race festival and concert.
DC Bike Ride
If you’re looking for family-friendly fall fun in the District, you’ve found a gem with the DC Bike Ride. Take part in an outdoor adventure that is sure to create lasting memories with this 20-mile closed-road, car-free bike ride that cruises past DC’s stunning sites.
Spartan Stadion at Nationals Park
This Spartan Race is modeled after the stadion, an original Olympic game dating back to ancient Greece. Hosted at Nationals Park on the Capitol Riverfront, the race puts contestants to the test across 20-plus more obstacles spread out over three-miles.
The popular Ragnar relay race returns with a new format. Teams of four race against the sunset on a four-mile loop around the scenic Lake Fairfax in Virginia. Each participant will run the loop twice, totaling more than a marathon.
Marine Corps Marathon
The Marine Corps Marathon is now in its fourth decade and is considered one of the best marathons for families and beginners. Unlike most races it doesn’t offer prize money; instead the event is a celebration of the courage and commitment it takes to train for and complete a marathon. It’s also a chance to see the Marines in action doing everything from race operations, security and playing in the Marine Corps Band.
Stay on your fitness kick in Washington, DC.
The District is full of green spaces to get your sweat on, so lace up and explore.
With miles of trails, the National Mall and Rock Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country, the DC region boasts plenty outdoor locations to run, bike or do what the locals do – join a group exercise program. When visiting the District, be sure to check out these scenic spots and unique workout experiences.
Journey through history
Stretching 2.2 miles from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall features wide promenades perfect for running or cycling. This is an ideal way to visit DC’s beloved monuments and memorials while keeping your heartrate up. For a truly unique experience, try running along the Mall during sunrise or sunset.
Trade in monuments and memorials for a bygone era of trade and transportation and run or bike along the C&O Canal Towpath, a former economic engine of the city that took 22 years to build and was completed in 1850. The clay and crushed stone trail begins at the C&O Canal Visitors Center in Georgetown. If you’re feeling adventurous, Great Falls Park, one of the region’s most popular natural attractions, is near the C&O Canal 14 miles northwest of Georgetown.
Established as the third national park in the U.S. by Congress in 1890, Rock Creek Park will make you feel like you’re anywhere but in the heart of the nation’s capital. Access the grounds anytime of year and you may step through grass, kick up some leaves or hear the crunch of snow under your feet. The park is made up of natural surface trails for hiking and paved trails for jogging, rollerblading and biking.
Only in DC can you go for a run amongst lions, tigers and panda bears at the Smithsonian National Zoo. One of the oldest zoos in America, the grounds of the zoo open at 8 a.m. and feature plenty of paved pathways. At that time, only some of the 1,800 animals are up and at ‘em.
If you’re just across the river in Virginia, the Mt. Vernon Trail, an 18.5-mile section of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, offers breathtaking views of the Potomac River and monuments, passing points of interest like Theodore Roosevelt Island, Old Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery and the local favorite, Gravelly Point (at the north end of Reagan National Airport’s main runway, where planes take off and land overhead).