Rockville Metro station
The race is run through an area of exceptional natural beauty. Featuring a run through the urban parkland areas of Rockville and Bethesda, Maryland, the Parks Half Marathon takes runners on a point-to-point race through the city’s parks that follow along the Rock Creek Stream Valley, which flows through one of the most populated areas of Maryland’s Montgomery County. Runners will run past many of the area’s tourist attractions and through several of its scenic parks, including the Audubon Society sanctuary, Dewey Park and Ken-Gar Palisades Parks, and the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase.
The race starts at the intersection of S. Stonestreet and Highland Avenue near the Rockville Metro station and heads south to Viers Mill Road. Runners will enter Viers Mill Road eastbound via the Stonestreet underpass and continue straight on Viers Mill Road until reaching the Rock Creek Hiker/Biker trail at roughly the 2.5 mile mark. Runners will then turn right onto the trail heading south. While the course offers a net downhill finish it also offers a mix of flat and fast and rolling hills. The height of the hills comes roughly at four miles where runners will be greeted with steep and turning 200 meter incline. The course continues to follow the Rock Creek Stream Valley crossing Randolph Road, through Dewey and Ken-Gar Palisades Parks, Grosvenor Lane, under Connecticut Avenue, pass the Audubon Society sanctuary and to the intersection of Susanna Lane and Jones Mill Road where runners will exit the Rock Creek Trail to run 2 of the final 2.1 miles on the Capitol Crescent/Georgetown Branch Trail. The Georgetown Branch Trail will take runners past the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase and right to the Air Rights tunnel where you will hear the screaming throngs of spectators as you enter Elm Street Park to sprint to your finish and into the runners village in downtown Bethesda. The surface of the Rock Creek Hiker/Biker trail is asphalt which changes to crushed gravel upon reaching the Capitol Crescent/Georgetown Branch Trail. From the point when the course turns onto the hiker/biker trail from Viers Mill Road runners should run no more than two abreast in order to allow others to pass. In the case of heavy rains in the two to three day period prior to the Parks Half Marathon, runners can expect some water on the course…. and we’re not talking about the kind served in cups. While the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission does a wonderful job in maintaining the trail and preparing it for our race, there are several low lying areas on the trail that present challenges in drainage following heavy rains. So if presented, take the opportunity to do what every five year old would do and splash through the puddles! Enjoy your race, we look forward to seeing you at the finish!
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