For runners, spring represents the start of racing season. Whether it’s running the Boston Marathon or just lacing up your favorite running shoes and heading outside for the first time since fall, there is so much promise in the air. And thanks to the cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring, our nation’s capital is a postcard-perfect place to get outside, stretch your legs and log some miles.
The ideal race to kick off the season is the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run — an annual race taking place in April to coincide with peak cherry blossom season in D.C. This year marks its 45th anniversary. The route takes runners past iconic landmarks from the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials to Arlington National Cemetery and Rock Creek Park.
According to 2017 data from the MapMyRun community, the fastest female and the fastest male came in neck in neck at 5:53- and 5:52-minute miles at the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, respectively. We also noticed that the most popular time to run is 9 a.m.
Whether you choose to race 10 miles or 10K, or you opt to run on your own, we’ve highlighted the top running routes — along with key stats — in Maryland and D.C. Happy running!
RUN THE WORLD: 9 TOP RUNNING ROUTES IN THE D.C. AREA
This 1.2-mile loop is a forested escape on an island in the middle of the Potomac River with views of the Kennedy Center — seemingly another world away.
This peninsula, known as Hains Point, is ideal for a run during cherry blossom season in the spring but is also an outdoorsy retreat year-round.
Few 5K distances are as beautiful or inspirational as running along the National Mall — surrounded by the Smithsonian museums, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol.
This mostly flat loop around the Naval Academy in Annapolis hugs the sea wall, naturally.
Not too far from the University of Maryland College Park campus, this forested 5.2-mile loop is the longest in the park and traces the perimeter.
This relatively flat, paved loop in Quiet Waters Park offers a scenic getaway along the South River, which leads to the Chesapeake Bay.
If you want to run along the Potomac River every step of the way — and hit two major monuments — this route, which includes two river crossings (via bridges), is the way to go.
For a monument-free run that’s a little off-the-beaten-path, this 4.2-mile loop around the Anacostia River is a prime candidate.
Starting in the heart of Annapolis, this route is a great way to explore Maryland’s state capital.