Potomac River Run Marathon & Half
Safety And Health Foundation
611 South Ivy Street • Arlington Virginia 22204
racedirector@att.net • 703-927-4833 • www.SafetyAndHealthFoundation.org/marathon
Sunday, May 2, 2021 • World Laughter Day

Dear Potomac River Run Marathoner or Half-Marathoner:

Thank you for entering SHF's 18th annual Potomac River Run Marathon & Half. Thank you for joining us this weekend!

Welcome to our 18th annual Potomac River Run Marathon & Half, presented by Safety And Health Foundation (SHF), sponsored by ACE Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Institute, Boom Nutrition (makers of the best-tasting energy gel CarbBoom), Falls Road Running Store, Pacers Running Stores, Trader Joe's bananas, medals by Dan Kain Trophies, face masks by TD Bank and BJ's Wholesale Warehouse.

*** ACE-PT says, If it hurts, call ACE-PT first at 703-205-1233. They help you train hard and recover fast! ***

COVID-19 cautions: Please defer yourself to a future race if you are ill with the flu or a fever or any other COVID symptoms. We have plenty of races, but there's only one you, and we want you to stay healthy. Do not touch any common surfaces with your uncovered hands, wash hands thoroughly as often as possible, and deposit used paper cups and CarbBoom packets and banana peels in the trash bags all over the course. No high-fives, no hand-shaking, and please -- bring a face mask if you have one, plus we distribute them free, and wear it before the race and especially at the start and finish. Keep a safe distance from your nearest neighbor.

We thank our sponsors, our volunteers, and you -- our participants -- for rating our 2004-2019 races triple-five-star (top) on MarathonGuide.Com for course, organization, and fans.

Our goal is to make Potomac River Run the happiest marathon on earth, to celebrate the first Sunday in May, World Laughter Day, with 26 miles of smiles • on C&O Canal Towpath, starting and finishing at Fletcher's Cove, 4940 Canal Road NW, Washington DC.

Pre-race packet pick-up is Saturday, May 1, 11:00 AM-5:30 PM, at Pacers Running Stores, 3100 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington VA (703-248-6883). Get a colorful t-shirt, goodie bag full of stuff, and your bib number.

For the first time, this year we time the race with RFID chips. Please do not remove the small waterproof envelope stapled to the back of your bib number. Please do not lose or damage your bib number or your RFID tag. The RFID tag inside the transparent plastic envelope matches your bib number. At the end of the race, please pull the waterproof envelope off the back of your bib number and deposit it into the basket after the finish line. We trade it for yor finisher's medal.

Thus we don't have to pull tear-off tags at the bottoms of bib numbers as we have in past years -- another COVD precaution.

We also time the race manually, so please WEAR YOUR BIB NUMBER VISIBLY ON THE FRONT OF YOUR SHIRT, and DON'T REMOVE THE NAME TAG until after the race.

We invite you our annual pre-race dinner on Saturday, May 1, at 6:30 PM, featuring a presentation by Buy A Brick Foundation (www.buyabrickfoundation.com), building clinics in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), at Cosi Restaurant, 1801 North Lynn Street, Arlington VA, across Key Bridge from Georgetown. Dinner tickets are $10 in advance on-line, $15 at the door, all you can eat.

Race-day packet pick-up is Sunday, May 2, from 7:00 AM to 8:45 AM, on-site at Fletcher's Cove, 4940 Canal Road NW, Washington DC 20007.

Directions: From Georgetown, take M Street west. Bear left at Foxhall Road onto Canal Road. Continue west for about two miles to a gap on the field stone wall on the left. CAREFULLY turn left down the driveway and into the parking area. On the left at the bottom of the driveway is parking for about 80 cars. On the right is a tunnel under C&O Canal and Towpath to a riverside parking lot with parking for about 300 cars. If all the parking is taken, we post a marshal at the top of the driveway to direct you instead to turn RIGHT turn from the east or LEFT from the west onto Reservoir Road to overflow parking on V Street, Bending Lane, Hutchins Place, or MacArthur Boulevard.

Drivers: Please do not approach Fletcher's Cove from the west (e.g., Geln Echo, Chain Bridge) and then try to make a hairpin right turn to park at Fletcher's Cove. That right turn is just too sharp to be safe. Instead, wait for the stoplight, then turn left up Reservoir Road to free parking as above. You'll be glad you did.

Packet pickup is at the picnic tables across a footbridge from the upper parking area. Restrooms and portable toilets are also near the upper parking area. We have 3 Don's Johns at Fletcher's Cove, plus a permanent washroom building, and we have a portable toilet at Lock 5.

We offer race-day clothing check-in on-site, but please, no backpacks or duffel bags. Place your stuff in the plain paper bag we provide and write your bib number on the outside. You can leave your personal belongings in your car if you drive to the race.

When you pick up your bib number, please verify all the data. If you want to change your event between the 8:00 AM FULL marathon to the 9:00 AM HALF marathon, please tell the registrar to correct the roster. The 8:00 AM start is a qualifier for Boston 2022 and both events can be used to qualify for Olympic Trials Marathon (that would be amazing!) or Chicago, Houston, or New York City Marathons, or other events with qualifying times.

We offer competitive awards in the 8:00 AM full marathon -- $250 for 1st M/F, $150 for 2nd M/F, $100 for 3rd M/F. We offer very nice SHF wooly hats and sweatshirts for top 3 M/F in age groups in the marathon and half marathon.

Our aid stations are set up in time for the 8:00 AM start. Please stay outside the starting area until five minutes before your start so you don't obstruct the Towpath.

Before both starts, at 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM, certified laughter leader Diane Cohen leads a laughing warm-up to celebrate World Laughter Day.

At 7:45 AM, 16-time Potomac River Run Marathon finisher Michael Creadon, trumpeter, plays the National Anthem, followed by race director's final instructions. If you aim to qualify for Boston Marathon or Olympic Trials, please step to the front of the starting line.

To order Carb Boom! on-line, see www.boomnutrition.com • Use discount code BESTTASTING for 20% off

Official Course Map

  • Robert Thurston re-measured and re-mapped the course for immediate submission to USATF so it's a Boston Marathon-qualifying race.
  • The new map is at www.safetyandhealthfoundation.org/marathon/DC21005RT.jpg
  • We will have a few copies at packet pick-up

    Course diagram

    | Parking and picnic tables / before & after race
    | Fletcher's Cove, 4940 Canal Road NW, Washington DC (0, 13.1, and 26.2 miles)
    | Lock 5 aid station staffed by Marathon Charity Cooperation (www.mc-coop.org) (2, 11.1, 15.1, and 24.1 miles out)
    | Lock 7 aid station staffed by Buy A Brick Foundation (4, 9.1, 17.1, and 22.1 miles out)
    | Lock 10 aid station staffer by DC Capital Striders (6, 7.1, 18.1, and 20.1 miles out)
    | Turnaround point (6.55 miles and 19.55 miles out)
    Source: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6428296

    Each aid station has water jugs, Gatorade and pre-sterilized stir sticks, sterile food handling gloves, one tent, one or two tables, two chairs, 2000 paper cups, trash bags and boxes, first aid kit, and extra car in case you need transportation back to the finish, and a cell phone if you need emergency transportation.

    Aid station staff members pour out plenty of water and Gatorade in advance from you. Once you handle a paper cup, please deposit it properly in a trash bag or trash box near the aid station. Please do not litter the Towpath -- we can't clean up safely.

    Course Description: C&O Canal Towpath starts in Georgetown and continues 183 miles west with milestones at every mile. The Towpath is 12 feet wide, so please be cautious and stay away from the edges near the water. Fletcher's Cove is two miles west of Key Bridge, about 100 meters west of Milestone 3. The start / marathon midpoint / finish is at the footbridge across C&O Canal. The course runs west for 6.55 miles, past Milestones 4 (the DC/Maryland state line), 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, turns around 0.3 miles past I-495 Capital Beltway overpass, and comes back. If Saturday's weather is nice, we post markers at each mile. Please also note Towpath's brown milestones, in case we can't put out our markers.

    The half marathon is out'n'back once; the full marathon is out'n'back twice. In the half marathon, when you return to Fletcher's Cove, bear right and finish into the chute marked with colorful flagging.

    In the full marathon, when you return to Fletcher's Cove, you are at the 13.1-mile midpoint. Stay to the RIGHT of the refreshments table, turn LEFT around the table, and continue out for another 6.55 miles out'n'back.

    When you return to Fletcher's Cove the second time, bear right and finish into the chute. Please, do NOT wear earphones at the start, turnarounds, or finish.

    Our course marshals at the turnaround and the midpoint record bib numbers on old-fashioned clipboards and report back to the finish line by cell phone, so we can verify that everyone runs the whole distance.

    We thank our aid station volunteers: Buy a Brick Foundation (www.BuyaBrickFoundation.org) at the start / midpoint / finish and at Lock 7, Ethio-American Athletic Association at Lock 5, and DC Capital Striders (www.DCCapitalStriders.com) at Lock 10.

    At start / midpoint / finish, we offer water, Carb Boom!, Gatorade, and Simone Super Energy.

    At aid stations, we offer water and Gatorade.

    Please use trash bags near aid stations for paper cups and other refuse to keep the trail 100% clean.

    Spectators can watch at Fletcher's Cove, Chain Bridge, Lock 5 (unmarked from Clara Barton Parkway), Lock 6, Lock 7, Canal Center, Lock 8, Lock 9, or Lock 10. Chain Bridge is accessible from Canal Road going both ways, but all locks are accessible ONLY from eastbound Clara Barton Parkway.

    The course is flat and unpaved, except for brief paved 20-foot rises at Lock 5 and under I-495 Capital Beltway to prevent erosion. With no hills, no turns, no cross streets, and soft surface for 26.2 miles, you can focus on running and have a really good time. The surface is rough gravel, however, so don't wear thin-soled shoes. I generally wear thick socks when I run on the Towpath. In early morning, you see great blue herons, deer, other runners, cyclists, and trail users. Please always stay to the right and be courteous to other trail users. We care about each runner's safety. If you drop out, an aid station is always less than a mile away, and the volunteers at all aid stations have cell phones, extra vehicles, and space blankets. Please tell another runner to tell us you stopped so we can send someone to pick you up.

    Post-race: Immediately after you finish the marathon -- no waiting -- at the finish line, we present cash awards to the top 3 males and females in the 8:00 AM full marathon for $250, $150, and $100 and awards to the top 3 by 10-year age group (19 & under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 & over) in the 8:00 AM full marathon and 9:00 AM half marathon as soon as possible. About a week after the race, we mail any awards unclaimed on race day, also we send colorful finisher certificates via PDF to all who request them. Awards include SHF wooly weatherproof hats and sweatshirts.

    When you finish, enter the chute, peel off the waterproof envelope containing your RFID tag, drop it in the collection basket, and receive your medal by Dan Kain Trophies. We offer water, Gatorade, Simone Super Energy, and Trader Joe's bananas. [In prior years, we offered Dunkin Donuts bagels Mario's Pizza, and King Zachary's Royal Barbeque at our generous post-race picnic, but alas, we can't offer those goodies this year, to avoid areas where illness can be transmitted. We hope to be back to full operation at our marathons in September and October and next year.]

    Our official photographer at Lock 7 is Charlie Milsop of Chessie Photo. Charlie takes GREAT action shots! To see and buy your professional photos, please see www.chessiephoto.com after Wednesday, May 5. [For past years' examples, please see

    Past years' albums:

  • www.chessiephoto.com/p648943289
  • www.chessiephoto.com/p996402187
  • www.chessiephoto.com/p752879902
  • www.chessiephoto.com/p798974334

    If you take additional photos, please share them via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/groups/PotomacRiverRun

    Sponsors: Please sponsor us! It's not too late! See www.safetyandhealthfoundation.org/marathon, please call me at 703-927-4833, or please write to me at racedirector@att.net.

    One last bit: Many of you know that I wrote a book about runners who thwart a terrorist threat the night before Marine Corps Marathon. Every copy is lovingly hand-printed and hand-bound. It's "The Man Who Stole The Sun," on-line at www.ArlingonSunrise.com and for sale at packet pick-up for $10.00, autographed.

    -- Thank you
    -- Run with Laughter, Safety, and Good Health!
    -- Jay Jacob Wind, Director,
    -- Safety And Health Foundation
    -- racedirector@att.net