Potomac River Run Marathon & Half Marathon

Saturday, November 14, 2015 and Sunday, May 1, 2016 • Washington, DC • Course Map

active-reg-buttonSet for its 13th annual running along the C&O Canal Towpath that unfolds alongside the river that gives the race its name, the Potomac River Run Marathon & Half Marathon is actually run twice each year — there’s this springtime race and another run in the fall, which will be the “12 1/2” annual Potomac River Run.

This race — which bills itself as the “easiest marathon and half marathon in America” — is part of a group of running events that take place each year on the C&O Canal Towpath trail, which runs alongside the 184-mile-long Chesapeake & Ohio Canal that stretches all the way from the tidal basin in Washington, D.C. to the mountains of western Maryland.

As advertised, the race is easy largely because it’s virtually all flat the entire way. Don’t let the elevation profile on the course map page fool you — the course rises some 70 feet between the starting line and the half-way turnaround point, but the rise is so gradual over the course of those 6.55 miles that it’s likely you’ll barely notice it.

Runners start the race at Fletchers Cove, an inlet on the river that lies just off the Potomac Palisades Parkway and Canal Road. From there, the race heads onto the C&O Canal trail, which runners will follow northwest as it curves along the river.

They’ll run all the way to the half-way turnaround just past Interstate 495 near the Clara Barton Parkway, and then retrace their steps all the way back to Fletchers Cove for the race finish.

The half marathon makes this out-and-back stretch once, while runners in the full marathon will run it twice to complete their 26.2 miles. Organizers say the course is flat, shaded, tree-lined and scenic, and you’ll be running through a piece of early American history as you run along the trail.

You’ll have 6 hours to complete your run, and the race is open to a total of 350 entrants. It’s also run in conjunction with World Laughter Day, and the course for both races is USATF-certified.

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled along the winding Potomac River that separates Maryland and Virginia, Washington, D.C. typically sees its mildest (and rainiest) weather of the year in May, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 33 degrees (in 1906) and as high as 99 degrees (in 1991).

On race day (May 1), the average low is 51ºF and the average high is 72ºF.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Potomac River Run Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 7:00 AM – non-competitive start
  • 8:00 AM – competitive start


  • $70 if registered by November 30, 2014
  • $80 between December 1 – 31
  • $90 between January 1 – 31, 2015
  • $95 between February 1 – April 30
  • $100 between May 1 – 2


To reserve your spot in the 2016 running of the Potomac River Run Marathon or Half Marathon, register online at Active.com here.


Official Race Website


Facebook Conversations

Ever run in the Potomac River Run? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: May, Washington D.C.

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