International Peace Marathon & Half Marathon

Saturday, September 14, 2024 • Washington, DC • Course Map

Planned as a memorial race in honor of the 184 people who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon as well as the thousands more who perished in New York and Pennsylvania, this race celebrates the memory of Ethiopan runner Abebe Bikila, who became the first black African to win an Olympic medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

The race added the 26.2-mile full marathon distance for the first time in 2013 — in past years, the race was run as a half marathon only, and open to up to 250 entrants. This year, the maximum number of entrants is 350.

Bikila — who won not just any medal but the gold medal in the marathon at the Games in Rome that year, on September 10, 1960 — would repeat his achievement four years later, winning the gold again at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

This race celebrates both his achievement and mourns the lives that were lost 20 years ago, and a memorial bell will be rung in their honor 184 times before the start of the race.

As for the race itself, the half marathon will take runners along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail (better known as the C&O Canal Trail) that winds alongside the waters of the Potomac between Fletcher’s Cove, where the race starts, and the Glen Echo neighborhood just to the northwest along the river.

There, runners will make the turnaround and head back along the route they’ve just run in the opposite direction, back to Georgetown for the race finish.

The terrain for the race is all unpaved gravel surfaces along the trail, which is flat and fast for the entire race, save for the occasional hill as runners are reaching the turnaround point.

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled along the Potomac River between northern Virginia and Maryland, Washington D.C. typically sees mild to moderately warm weather in September, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 36°F (in 1904) and as high as 104°F (in 1881).

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 8:00 AM – non-competitive start (for runners in the full marathon who need more than 5 hours to finish, or any runner who wants to take advantage of cooler temperatures)
  • 9:00 AM – competitive start


  • $60 and up for the half marathon & full marathon


To reserve your spot in the 2024 running of Washington’s Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Marathon or Half Marathon, register online at here.

Official Race Website


Ever run in the International Peace Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

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

3 comments… add one
  • Jay Keever May 30, 2016, 7:15 am

    I originally though this would be an important concept to support – international peace; right? Then when I read the description, I was flabbergasted that it honors “the first black African to win an Olympic medal” in the same vein as those who died in the SEP 11 attacks. Also, what does this accomplishment have to do with international peace. Won’t consider this one again!

  • nancy May 23, 2016, 9:54 am

    Is this marathon a boston qualifier?

    • Lynn mahan July 30, 2016, 9:53 pm

      Yes, bq.


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