2016 Runner Instructions

The 11th annual Parks Half Marathon is just days away! This is confirmation that you are registered for this year’s event.  The race will take you through a scenic course traversing Rock Creek Park ending with a festive post-race bash at the finish line in the Elm Street Park runners’ village located in the heart of Bethesda.

The race is a result of several organizations (the Montgomery County Road Runners, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and our fantastic sponsors) working together to deliver a half-marathon in the crown jewel of Montgomery County – Rock Creek Park. We are supported by many energetic sponsors and volunteers all with the same mission – deliver a fun and challenging race. But enough about why we’re doing this, here’s what you’ll want to know for the weekend of September 10th and 11th.


Can I take Metro to the Start….NO The race starts at 7am sharp and metro does not open early enough to get you there on time.

Is there a course time limit?

Yes, all runners must be able to maintain a pace of at least 12:36 per mile and finish within two hours and forty-five minutes.  Aid stations will close and roads will re-open based on this pace. If you are still on the course after that time you may be asked to move to a side walk and obey all traffic signals and conditions. The finish line will remain open for approximately 30 minutes after the official time.

How Do We Get Back to the Start Where We Parked?

Take Metro! The Bethesda Metro station is located two blocks from the finish line. For more information on taking Metro, please visit Metro’s website. Please note that you must purchase a SmartTrip card as paper fare cards are no longer available. 

Where Do I Go if I Got to Go?

Need to pee before the gun goes off? You’re not alone, but you will be if you go anywhere other than in one of port-o-pots lined up near the starting line. We’re guests in the neighborhoods surrounding the starting area and while the plants may need a tinkle of water both police and volunteers will be on alert for anyone looking to self-irrigate. In all seriousness, relieving oneself outside a port-o-pot will result in removing oneself from the race.   

Can I bring Walking Sticks?

No. As for selfie-sticks, walking sticks, pets, strollers and/or use of wheeled equipment all are prohibited during competition of the Parks Half Marathon. While most runners carry phones we ask that you do not engage in conversation on the course. Please step aside if you need to use your phone for any reason.

Can you tell us about the timing transponders used to time and score Parks?

This years’ “timing chip” will be attached to the back of your numbered bib. This bib must be worn on the front of your body; not in a pocket or on your back. FOR MCRRC MEMBERS – DO NOT USE YOUR LOW KEY MEMBER MCCRC CHIP, OR BIB, FOR THIS RACE. 

7. Bag Check – How Much can I Bring?

Backpacks, bags weighing over 5lbs, bags containing liquids will not be accepted. No bikes, strollers or infant car seats or obnoxious spouses are accepted at bag check. You must have your race bib to retrieve your bag at the finish area. Bag pick up will be to the left of the premium distribution on Willow Street.

And now for the nitty gritty, read on….. 



Saturday, September 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The store closes at 6:00 p.m.


RnJ Sports Discounters located at: 11910-R Parklawn Drive Rockville, MD 20852.

Click http://www.rnjsports.com for directions.

What to bring to Saturday pick-up….

…. proof of identity:

If you don’t know who you are how are we supposed to know? Proof of identity is required for picking-up your bib and chip.

Runners can also pick-up packets for other runners. Runners must have bib numbers…NOT registration confirmation numbers to pick up their bibs. Those numbers will be on the outside window at RnJ Saturday morning. You must have your bib number before entering the store.

 … your used running shoes & running clothes:

The Green Team will be collecting used shoes (running and athletic) at Packet Pickup for the Parks Half Marathon at RnJ Sports on Saturday, September 10th. We will not be able to take shoes at the Start Line of the race.

Shoes with some life left will go to people in need while well-worn shoes will be transformed into athletic surfaces and other products via Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program.

Kid’s shoes are welcome!

Please wash sneakers with some life left and tie the laces together.

NOTE: Collection bins will ONLY be available SATURDAY at Packet Pick-up (NOT the Start or Finish lines).

Questions? Email greenteam@mcrrc.org 

 … what to take from packet pick-up:

Sorry to mention, but this happens:

  • Race BIB and timing tag…already attached
  • One sweet race Brooks Parks Half Marathon running shirt
  • All personal belongings
  • Past years Parks swag purchased at insanely low prices.
  • Safety Pins
  • Any children or spouse(s) you arrived with
  • Stop and make some purchases while you are at RnJ! (Ladies – Kelly the owner is the best sports bra fitter around)

… And Race Day Packet Pick-Up:

Sunday, September 11th from 5:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. SHARP!

Please be aware that this will be a very busy morning and we will be very limited in addressing issues, questions, special needs, or that over obsessed high maintenance type the morning of the race. In fact, it will be very early and not all of our volunteers will have not have switched over to their warm, huggy, and fuzzy mode. So if there is even the remotest of remote chances that you can get to packet pick-up on Saturday you are urged to do so. You will be greeted by smiling faces, unlike those on Sunday morning, will have first dibs on the very nice race premiums, and will have all of your questions answered with a smile and a wink (…really, unlike on Sunday morning). You will also have a great opportunity to make any changes or corrections to your registration if needed… unlike those poor folks that wait until Sunday morning!



The starting line is located on S. Stonestreet in Rockville, southeast of the Rockville Metro Station. Parking at the Rockville Metro is limited, so plan to arrive early, carpooling is encouraged.

Additional parking is available in:

the public lots and around the Regal Cinemas 13 Theater on Monroe Avenue, Rockville MD and…

next to the Rockville Library located at 21 Maryland Avenue  Rockville, MD 20850

 It is roughly a mile walk from these lots to the starting line and runners will be directed toward the Rockville Metro station for morning bag check and packet pick-up. Runners and spectators may need to pay to park in these areas so please come prepared.

PARKING IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS NEAR THE STARTING LINE. This includes the neighborhoods bordering the Rockville Metro, Park Road, S. Stonestreet, and N. Stonestreet. The race starts early and we need to be considerate of our neighbors (… not to mention that you don’t want to get towed like one of our volunteers did last year). After all, it’s up to them if we get to come back each year.

The Course

It’s all right here, just a click away….

Course Map

Finish Area Map

Elevation Profile


The gun will go off promptly at 7am! It will go off again at 7:01, then 7:03, 7:04, 7:05, and finally at 7:06. To better accommodate the crowd and to get you moving at your race pace from the get go we use a wave start. Upon entering the starting coral look for the pace signs held by our pace leaders wearing orange singlets to seed yourself accordingly. Please be honest in self seeding. We’re expecting the largest field size in the nine years of this race and greatly want to minimize overcrowding on the trail so that everyone can enjoy their race and the wonderful park system you’ll be running through.

Even though the race is “chip” timed it’s critical that runners get to the starting line on time as the timing mats will be lifted at 7:10am. 


For you marathoners, simply turn around after finishing and re-trace your steps back to the start!

Since this is a point-to-point race runners will need to make travel arrangements to return starting area assuming that’s where you parked. Metro rail is the preferred mode of transportation from the finish to the starting area. The Bethesda Metro Station is two blocks from the finish line at the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and Montgomery Lane.

We will have volunteers in place to point you in the right direction. Information on Metro can be obtained from their website


We’ll be glad to take your bag; we’ll even give you the bag. Baggage check will be located near packet pick-up the morning of the race in the upper end of the Rockville Metro parking lot along S. Stonestreet. Simply bring the bag that we give you at packet pick-up, write your bib number on the bag, drop it off on our truck, and we’ll get it back to you at the finish line.  Bags must be dropped off by 6:50am. For security reasons, please do not check the following items:

  • liquids
  • electronics, including phones 
  • large bags
  • bags over 5 pounds
  • valuables
  • breakables
  • anything you need during the race (shoes, race bib, etc.)

Race officials and/or law enforcement may refuse or destroy any bag or contents deemed suspicious.  We’ll have water and sports drinks for you at the finish.  Make plans in advance to meet friends and family at a specific time and place so you won’t need your phone; it would be a shame if your Miley Cyrus ringtone caused us to blow up your bag.  

Make sure you have everything you need during the race before you check your bag.  Once it is checked, you will not be able to retrieve it until the finish.

DURING THE RACE (… this is a must read, if you can’t follow you can’t finish):

Need a pacer? We’ve arranged for pacers to bring you to a finishing time from 1 hour and 30 minutes (1:30) to 2 hours and 45 minutes (2:45). Just look for the runners holding signs and wearing bright orange singlets with finish times on their backs.

Race Time Limit:

To maintain the integrity of the race and also keep our neighbors happy, runners must maintain a minimum pace of 12:36 per mile in order to finish within two hours and forty-five minutes. Runners exceeding this time constraint will be requested drop from the race or to obey pedestrian traffic laws should they choose to continue running. Runners exceeding this pace need to be aware that AID STATIONS WILL CLOSE ON A 12:36 MINUTE PER MILE BASIS.

Aid stations will be located every two miles on the course with water and lemon-lime Gatorade

….and if it’s just not your day, a SAG/Cooling bus will be pre-positioned at mile 10 where you can board to cool off and rest. Once the last runner has passed, this vehicle will drop anyone wanting a ride to the finish line. Runners unable to finish for medical reasons should check-in with the nearest water stop for help and/or request medical transport.

The no no’s of running Parks…

Headsets, while permitted, we kindly ask that runners not bring these along. If you must, please consider keeping the volume down and using only one ear bud. We’re not looking out just for your safety but the safety of everyone and everything around you.

Prohibited during competition: Phone calling on the course, texting, posting to the thousands of facebook fans, pets, walking sticks, and any wheeled devices. If you absolutely must text, post, or tweet to the waiting masses please step off the trail to do so. You don’t want to cause a back-up and we don’t want to hear about how a thousand people trampling over your Tweets, Instagrams, texts, or posts. Selfie-Sticks are a hazard to your fellow runners and are not allowed on the course.

 Veirs Mill Road…

Before turning onto the ever scenic Rock Creek Trail the first two miles of the Parks Half Marathon are run on Veirs Mill Road. You will have access to both the shoulder and right hand lane of Veirs Mill. The left lane will be blocked by orange traffic cones and open to vehicular traffic. It is required that all runners stay to the right of the traffic cones and any runner seen crossing into the left lane will be permanently removed (…..from the race).


As they say, run toward the light! You’ll enter the Bethesda Air Rights Tunnel, hang a left, and be greeted by the deep greens and cheering crowd at Elm Street Park where you’ll find the finish line. Once finished collect your finisher’s medal & premium and then enjoy grilled sausage, New Orleans Egg Soufflés, hot pizza, Italian subs, baked ziti, home fries, scrambled eggs, bagels, fruit, and drinks while you rest your weary legs and party with the friends you made over the last 13.1 miles at the post race celebration!

ALL awards listed below will be mailed to finishers after the race.

No duplicate awards will be given. In other words, if you win the Top masters award, you can’t also win your age group. You’ll get one or the other – not both.

Overall Prizes:

  • Top male and female – $500.00
  • Second male and female – $350.00
  • Third male and female – $250.00
  • Fourth male and female – $200.00
  • Fifth male and female – $100.00
  • Top male and female masters – $100.00

Age Group Awards are given to the TOP 3 male and TOP 3 female finishers in each of the following age groups: 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75 & over

  • First Place – $50.00 CASH
  • Second Place – $35.00 CASH
  • Third Place – $25.00 CASH


We don’t want them either, but ’tis the season for rain, flooding, flying cattle, and D.C. area humidity. Be sure to check the race website at www.parkshalfmarathon.com in the event that severe weather concerns are forecasted for race weekend. Impacts, if any, to race weekend will be posted on the race website starting Wednesday, September 9th.

Medical Instructions for Race Day:

Runners if you have an allergy that requires you to use an Epipen please carry your own race day. We do not have a supply of epipens. We do have ambulances and paramedics.

If you need to use it you should speak to the closest medical volunteer on the course and they will call an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Anytime Epipens are used it is important to get medical attention. Allergic reactions don’t always respond and you may need further treatment. Epinepherine elevates you heart rate and you should stop running.

Runners with asthma should carry their own inhalers. If you use your inhaler and don’t feel like you are breathing better please go to nearest aid station or tell one of the bike spotters or Emergency Medical Bikers.

All runners should fill out their emergency info on the back of their bibs. This is very important!!!

When running please listen to your body and if you show signs of heat related illness or dehydration stop and get help.


Headache, extreme weakness, dizziness, heat cramps, chills/lack of sweating, nausea, vomiting, fainting, hyperventilation, impaired judgment, muscular incoordination, confusion


There are multiple medical aid stations on the course. There is also a cooling bus at 5th aid station under the Beltway near Stonybrook Rd. There will be bike spotter and emergency medical bike medics on the course. If you need help any pace group leader has a phone and can help you. All these resources are there and hopefully no one has a medical problem and needs them but if they do please reach out and get help!

Medical Volunteers will be wearing bright orange or green vests that say “Medical”.


Need a place to stay? There are several hotels within just a few miles of the starting line at the Rockville Metro Station. All are listed under “Runner Info” at www.parkshalfmarathon.com .


We’re looking forward to presenting you with a great race, offering lucrative awards, and delivering some very nice premiums along with a fun and festive post race party. Of course none of this would be possible without the generous support of our sponsors which can all be viewed on our home page at http://www.parkshalfmarathon.com  . Please take a moment to view this page and give them your business when and where the opportunity arises.

We look forward to seeing you at the finish line on September 11th and hope you have a great race!

Please note that MCRRC donates proceeds from this race to several local charities as part of our contribution and mission to social values and responsibilities.

Have a great race!

Don Shulman,

Race Director, Parks Half Marathon