Parks Half Marathon

Sun September 26, 2021 Rockville, MD 20850 US Directions
The Course
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The race is run through an area of exceptional natural beauty. The Parks Half Marathon has been created to showcase that beauty, so please make use of the many trash bins along the course to deposit your used gel packs and water cups. Even tossing your cup to within a few feet of the trash bins will greatly assist the post-race cleanup effort.

  • Every mile will be clearly marked.
  • Fully staffed, and entertaining, aid stations are positioned every two miles on the course, within a few yards of each mile marker (… just so you can hit your split before grabbing a cup Gatorade or Drinkmore Water). 
  • Fluid stations will also be at the start and finish.
  • Medical Aid stations will be located at mile 4, 8 and 12. At mile 10, there will be a cooling vehicle is you do not feel well. This vehicle will take you to the finish at the end of the race. HAM Radio operators are all along the course and can summon medical help if needed via the use of a Gator from the local Rescue Squad.  In the event you need to drop out along the course, please have a cell phone with you to make arrangements for a friend or family member to come get you. Race officials and volunteers will not provide transportation to runners.
  • Aid stations will close based on a 12:36 minute-per-mile pace. Please refer to our Course Time Limit for more details.
  • Fluid stations will be at the start and finish, plus six fluid stations along the course every two miles. DrinkMore Water and Gatorade will be available at every fluid station.
  • Gatorade is offered at the first area of every fluid stop and then water is offered second.
  • Port-a-johns will be provided at the start and finish. They will also be available on the course at each Fluid station – roughly every 2 miles.
  • Use of headphones and cell phones during the race are strongly discouraged as the trail is narrow in parts and you will want to be aware of who is around you for safety reasons. Secondly, you will be running in the most scenic areas in this part of the country…Enjoy it!
  • Pets and wheeled vehicles (strollers) of any kind are prohibited from being on the course.

And now for the course information….

  • The race starts at the Metro overpass on Redland Rd. just north of Sommerville Ave.
  • Runners will turn onto Needwood Rd. and enter Needwood Park (mile 2) and proceed on the paved surface of the park until you reach the hiker/biker trail.
  • Runners will proceed all the way down the trail for approximately 12 miles before turning onto Beach Drive for the finish.
  • While the course offers a net downhill finish it also offers a mix of flat and fast and rolling hills.
  • The surface of the Rock Creek hiker/biker trail is asphalt. From the point when the course turns onto the hiker/biker trail, runners should run no more than two abreast in order to allow others to pass you.
  • 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! Some of the wooden bridge surfaces can be slick with rain of if there is an early morning dew. Take those turns with caution.
  • Enjoy your race and we look forward to seeing you at the finish!

** IMPORTANT FOR 2021** Finish Line/ Transportation Information

This past week, we were made aware that the Shady Grove Metro Station will be closed for repair work at the time of the Parks Half Marathon.

Here is what you need to know if you planned to take Metro back after finishing the race:

  • You may board Metro at the Grosvenor Station, as usual.
  • All trains will end at the Twinbrook Station.
  • Metro is offering shuttle busses from the Twinbrook Station back to Shady Grove.
  • In addition, the Parks Half Marathon will position private busses at the Twinbrook Station to supplement the Metro-provided busses.  Our busses will transport finishers back to Shady Grove.  Our busses will have "Parks Half Marathon - Official Vehicle" signs in the front window.

Between Metro & the Parks Half Marathon, we will get all finishers back as safely and quickly as possible.  Thank you for your patience & understanding.  More information is available here.

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