Getting to the Race

Getting to the Race

In 2021 the Staging Area for the 10 mile will return to the 15th St. side of the Washington Monument Grounds. The exact location will be determined by whatever construction projects are taking place in the area and by restrictions of the Washington Monument grounds. The exact location will be noted here once the determination is made. Click Here to see a tentative map of the 2021 Staging Area.

Due to exorbitant fees being charged by Metro and shortened hours for early opening on race day (please express your displeasure directly to WMATA), Metro Service will not be available on race day. This means Metro transportation to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 5K Run Walk will not be available between 5:00 A.M. and 8:00 A.M. on Sunday, September 12. Runners are encouraged to plan alternative arrangements for getting to the race. (Metro now opens at 8 A.M. on Sundays, making it extremely unlikely that 5K runners can take Metro to the start either). Metro will be available for returning from the race.

Below are some suggestions on how to get to the race. During Cherry Blossom season, parking is always at a premium and streets that are part of the race course will be closed. We suggest that you consider other alternatives to driving to the race, but if you decide to drive, arrive early.

  • We recommend booking convenient and affordable parking in advance through SpotHero, the nation’s leading parking reservation app.

New to SpotHero? Click here to download the SpotHero app.

Need to Cancel Your SpotHero Reservation?

For any attendees who pre-booked parking with SpotHero, here are instructions on how to cancel your reservation.

SpotHero offers a full refund of your parking reservation up to the minute your reservation begins! To cancel, click the “Cancel Reservation” button on your parking pass.

Need help canceling your reservation? Give SpotHero a call at (312) 566-7768, or email – for assistance.

  • The Ronald Reagan Building parking lot is open 24/7  and is very close to the race site:  The cost is $17 on the weekend. Note: This lot has a security check point for car entry, as well as re-entry into the building. Be aware of this because it may mean that it will take a little more time than you had planned on.
  • Click Here for a map that shows all of the metered DC parking in the city.  Please note that meter parking is controlled by the city and this can change at any time.
  • Here is link to some general parking information in DC:
  • Use Uber or Lyft.  To ease congestion, we ask that people coming from Maryland or DC program in “17th and Constitution Ave., NW” as their destination. People coming from the south (Virginia) should program in 17th and Independence Ave., SW. ( Please note that 15th St. will be closed between Constitution Ave. and Independence Ave. starting at 1 a.m. on Sunday, September 12.) Other streets on the course will start to shut down at 7:00 a.m. So, please plan to arrive early.
  • Plan to bike  Two Wheel Valet will provide a bike valet service on race day on the Washington Monument grounds. You may drop off your bike starting at 6:00 A.M. and retrieve it after the race, or leave it and enjoy the cherry blossoms, then retrieve it later in the morning. This service is free to participants. NOTE: The bike parking area will close at 11:30 a.m. on race day, September 12, so please be sure to retrieve your bike by then! You may NOT leave any belongings attached to your bike. If you want to leave any belongings, you will need to place them in the clear plastic bag you will be given at packet pickup and then take it to the bag check area on race morning.
  • WMATA has an app and trip planner. If you plan to bus:

Plan on arriving early! Remember that Metro will be open for your return trip home.

Why Can’t We Move the Starting Time Later?

Many people have asked why we cannot move our 7:30 A.M. starting time later like the Marine Corps Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. (Note that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon starts at 7:00 A.M. so getting to this race by Metro is not an option. The half marathon can start at 8:30 a.m. because the streets are already permitted to be closed for the entire marathon  — so the half marathon can start later and still finish before the streets reopen after the marathon.) We, however, are under stringent time regulations set by the National Park Service. The needs of our runners must be balanced with the needs of tourists from around the world who want to visit the Memorials.

Getting to the 5K Starting Area

The 5K Run-Walk staging area and start-finish line are located on Independence Ave., SW about 200 yards east of the intersection of 17th and Independence Ave., SW. There will be easy access to the 5K Run-Walk starting line from the staging area on the 17th St. of the Washington Monument Grounds. Signs will direct 5K Run-Walk participants in the 10 mile staging area to the 5K Run-Walk staging area.

With the 5K Run-Walk starting at 9:00 A.M. and Metro opening at 8 A.M. 5K Run-Walk participants may be able to use the Metro to get to the start if you are coming from one of the close-in stops to the Smithsonian stop on the Blue, Orange and Silver Lines. Visit to find a trip time calculator. Be forewarned that there may be long wait times between trains on Sunday mornings. Careful advance study and extreme caution are advised if considering Metro to get to the 5K Run-Walk start. There are no refunds for individuals because they opted to take Metro and missed the start.

Getting to the starting line of the 5K Run-Walk will take a bit of planning and timing.

If you are approaching the Washington Monument Grounds from the East (that’s the side where the Smithsonian Metro stop is located), turn and walk toward the Washington Monument. Bear to the left as you approach the Monument (the ten milers will be heading to the right) and head towards the intersection of 15th and Independence Ave. This is where you want to cross 15th St. You will proceed down Independence Ave.,SW for approximately 1/4 mile to the start line close to the intersection of Independence Ave. and 17th St.

Prior to the start of the 10 mile at 7:30 A.M. you will be able to cross this intersection without delay (except for a brief pause while our 40 elite women start at 7:18 A.M.). Once the first wave of the 10 mile starts at 7:30 A.M. through the final wave at 8:00 A.M., you will be able to cross only during the short gaps between each wave of the ten mile. Uniformed US Park Police officers and marshals will “open and close” this intersection in between the waves for the safety of our 5K Run-Walkersto-be and our 10 milers heading out. There will only be about 10 minutes between when the last 10 miler heads out and when the top 10 milers return between about 8:00 a.m and 8:10 a.m. After 8:10 a.m., U.S.. Park Police officers and volunteers will continue to allow 5K participants to cross during gaps in the flow of the 10 milers. However once the stream of finishers becomes more dense, these opportunities will diminish. If you want to avoid the wait, you can head north on 15th St. toward Constitution Ave. and cross over between Madison Dr. and Constitution Ave. and circle around the Washington Monument on the Lincoln Memorial side. We cannot delay the start of the 5K Run-Walk from the 9:00 A.M. start for runners who have not been able to cross 15th St.

If you are approaching from the north (White House side) or west (Lincoln Memorial side), you can head to the 10 mile staging area on the Constitution Ave. side of the Washington Monument and look for signs pointing you down 17th St. toward the 5K Run-Walk start.

If you are approaching from the south (Tidal Basin side) head towards 17th and Independence Ave.

Confused? The various limitations put upon us by the National Park Service and the layout of the roadways near the magnificent Washington Monument Grounds, make direct access to the 5K staging area a bit challenging. The bottom line is it is best to make sure you are at the start line of the 5K Run-Walk before 8:30 A.M. The 5K Run-Walk starts at 9:00 A.M.