Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Marathon
07 September 2019
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 that fateful day in New York City and Pennsylvania, the International Peace Half Marathon also 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 adds 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 the lives that were lost 10 years ago, and a memorial bell will be rung in their honor 184 times before the start of the race. Starting time for the race is scheduled for 9:00 AM, following the memorial bell, which starts at 8:45 AM. The race is limited to the first 350 entrants, so runners are encouraged to sign up early to ensure they get a spot in the race.
The full marathon is out'n'back twice. 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 Georgetown, 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. The starting and finish line lies on the southern bank of the canal in Georgetown, just east of the Francis Scott Key Memorial, while the turnaround lies just past Glen Echo Park, near the Clara Barton Historic Site. Starting time for the race is scheduled for 9:00 AM, following the memorial bell, which starts at 8:45 AM. The race is limited to the first 350 entrants, so runners are encouraged to sign up early to ensure they get a spot in the race.
Race run alongside scenic C&O Canal Towpath.