Tuesday, February 10, 2009

National Marathon Route to Change

The 4th Annual SunTrust National Marathon is scheduled for March 21st, where up to 3,000 marathon runners will traverse all four quadrants of the District on a 26.2 mile course. The route map has been set (click map below to see a larger version - from the national marathon website).

There's just one problem...the 9th Street Bridge is closed for a year due to reconstruction, so the event organizers at the Greater Washington Sports Alliance need to find an alternative route into Southwest. Representatives from the sports alliance were supposed to go before ANC 6D last night in order to get approval for street closures along 9th Street, Maine Avenue, P Street, and South Capitol Street, but now they need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new route. Time is not on their side, since the ANC doesn't meet again until March 9th and the race is supposed to be held 12 days after that meeting. The ANC's approval carries weight with the Mayor's Special Events Task Group, which has jurisdiction over special events held in the city, including the marathon. According to the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency's (HSEMA) website, event planners are supposed to meet with the Mayor's Special Events Task Group at least 90 days before an event. It's not clear if a change in the marathon route would mean the sports alliance would need to meet again with the task group. In addition, the event organizers need to get the route approved with the Traffic Control Plan from DDOT and complete an application within 15 business days of the event with MPD. The marathon will most likely still happen, but the course map will definitely have to change.

Update: Lou Holder from the Greater Washington Sports Alliance tells Southwest...TLQTC the following:

Our technical team is currently assessing the 9th St construction project and is devising several alternatives. We don’t anticipate any delays in our permit process as we are working closely with public safety officials to find a solution that works for everyone. Our goal has always been strong jurisdictional support, community engagement, and effective communication to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.

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