Because of the many road closures necessitated by the nature of the Parks Half Marathon course, many points on the course will be hard to reach during the race, especially by car. Here are the best places from which to watch the race:
The starting line is located near the Rockville Metro Station just pass the Viers Mill bridges on South Stonestreet. There is parking is the areas surrounding the Regal Theater near the intersection of E. Middle Lane and N. Washington Street. Note however that traffic on Park Road will be blocked at N. Stonestreet and that auto traffic will not be permitted to reach the starting area. Spectators will need to walk to starting area.
Veirs Mill Road:
Runners head southeast on Veirs Mill Road from the starting line, remaining on Viers Mill Road until reaching the Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail at the intersection of Viers Mill and Aspen Hill Roads. This is a great spot to see the runners as they enter the trail and head towards Bethesda, but spectators will need to park at Aspen Hill Park off Baltic Ave and then walk to the intersection of Viers Mill and Aspen Hill. The right southbound lane of Viers Mill Road will be closed to traffic but all other lanes will remain open.
Runners will cross Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase just before mile 12. Starbuck’s Coffee and Einstein Bros Bagels are located side-by-side just a few yards from the trail crossing. About one mile north on Connecticut Avenue is another trail crossing (through a tunnel under Connecticut Ave) near mile 7, so spectators can walk from one to the other. However, the road will be closed between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., so if you intend to drive there, plan to arrive before 8:00 and to stay until after 9:30. (If you are coming from the start, take Route 355 – Wisconsin Avenue – south to Jones Bridge Road, left on Jones Bridge to Connecticut. Do not take Randolph Road or Viers Mill Road, as they will be closed.) Alternatively, you can use the trail itself to walk to/from this point from/to downtown Bethesda, but please yield to the runners and remember that they will already have run 12 miles and will not be looking for obstacles.
Runners will reach the finish line in Elm Street Park from the Georgetown Branch Trail and Air Rights Tunnel. The park is located at Willow Lane and Wisconsin Avenue with parking located just off of Willow Lane. The finish line is on 47th Street adjacent to the park.
A Final Important Note:
Finally, wherever you choose to spectate, please give the runners a clear berth. As a courtesy to the runners and for everyone’s safety, we ask that you pay close attention to instructions by Course Marshals and Police and, please, yield to the runners at all times. Above all, have fun out there! If you have fun, the runners will, too!