Running in Washington, D.C.



Running is one of the best ways to see the city, and several scenic uninterrupted trails wend through Downtown Washington and nearby northern Virginia (including the Mount Vernon Trail). It can be dangerous to run at night on the trails of Rock Creek Park or along the C&O Canal and other remote areas or on the Mall, although the streets are fairly well lighted. Even in daylight, it's best to run in pairs when venturing beyond public areas or heavily used sections of trails.

National Mall and Memorial Parks. The most popular running route in Washington is the 4½-mile loop on the Mall. At any time of day hundreds of runners and speed walkers make their way along the gravel pathways. There's relatively little car traffic and, as they travel from the Lincoln Memorial all the way up to the Capitol and back, they can take in some of Washington's finest landmarks, such as the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool, and the Smithsonian's many museums. For a longer run, veer south of the Mall on either side of the Tidal Basin and head for the Jefferson Memorial and East Potomac Park, the site of many races. Bounded by Constutution and Independence Aves., The Mall, Washington, DC.

Information and Organizations

For low-key group runs, check the D.C. Road Runners' website ( Pacers (, a popular running-store chain, has weekly group runs at its six locations. Information on weekend races around Washington and comprehensive listings of running and walking events are posted online by a local publication, the Washington Running Report (

Fleet Feet Sports Shop. Most Sunday mornings this shop sponsors informal runs through Rock Creek Park and other areas. Runners gather at the store just before 9 am to embark on 5-mile Fun Run along the streets and into Rock Creek Park. 1841 Columbia Rd. NW, Adams-Morgan, Washington, DC, 20009. 202/387–3888. Woodley Park/Zoo.


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