(WJLA) - With just two days left until the running of the 38th Marine Corps Marathon, final preparations are underway.
Tens of thousands of runners will once again descend on the 26.2 mile course for the 38th annual race Sunday, which snakes through Arlington and the District of Columbia.
At a press briefing Friday morning, officials introduced the honorary starter, actress Maggie Q. They also discussed final safety measures being taken.
This is Jay Wind's 35th Marine Corps Marathon.
“I come in here with a little bit of confidence, a little chip on the shoulder. See it? It’s right there.”
And he’s helping rookie racer Chris Duncan prepare for the challenge ahead.
“I know I’m gonna start it, I know I’m gonna finish it. It’s what happens in between that hasn’t been written yet,” Duncan says.
For the 22,000 marathoners set to go, much of the course will look similar to years past. But a big change is happening from miles six through nine, where runners will now travel north on Rock Creek Parkway to Beach Drive, then turn around before moving toward downtown.
“We always wanted to come back. It’s such a pretty part of the course. It’s a much more gradual hill climb,” says race director Rick Nealis.
For the past six years, runners would cross the Key Bridge into Georgetown, turn left on Canal Road and run into the Palisades. Now they will turn right on M Street through the heart of Georgetown before heading to Rock Creek.
Another slight change happens along mile 19 near the Capitol, where runners will now run on 3rd Street to Constitution Avenue, then in front of the Capitol along 1st Street.
The race, as it stands, almost didn't happen because of the 16-day government shutdown. So much of the race's course lies on federal land that the marathon almost had to be canceled.
A number of roads in Arlington and Washington will be closed starting at about 4 a.m. Sunday to make way for the race. Most roads are expected to reopen by 1:30 p.m., while others will remain closed through the late afternoon. Those roads affected include:Marshall Drive from North Meade Street to Route 110 North Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Lynn Street Route 110 from I-66 to U.S. Highway 1/Jefferson Davis Highway Wilson Boulevard from North Nash Street to Route 110 Lynn Street from North Meade Street to Lee Highway Fort Myer Drive from North Meade Street to Lee Highway North Moore Street from Wilson Boulevard to Lee Highway 19th Street North from Lynn Street to North Nash Street Route 110 ramp from Washington Boulevard to Pentagon North parking Jefferson Drive SW from 3rd Street SW to 14th Street SW Madison Drive NW from 15th Street NW to 3rd Street NW Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW (northbound) to Beach Drive Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW (southbound) from Shoreham Drive NW Shoreham Drive NW (southbound) From Calvert Street to Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW Beach Drive NW from Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW to Calvert Street Lee Highway (eastbound) from Lynn Street to North Kirkwood Street Spout Run Parkway from Lee Highway to George Washington Memorial Parkway George Washington Memorial Parkway from Spout Run to Arlington Memorial Circle Drive Francis Scott Key Bridge (all lanes) 14th Street SW from Jefferson Drive to northbound I-395 HOV lanes 7th Street from Madison to Jefferson Drive I-395 HOV lanes from 14th Street SW to HOV ramp at South Eads Street South Eads Street from South Rotary Road to Army Navy Drive Army Navy Drive from South Fern to 12th Street South M Street NW from Canal Road NW to Wisconsin Avenue NW Wisconsin Avenue from M Street NW to K Street NW K Street NW from Wisconsin Avenue NW to Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW 27th Street NW from K Street NW to I Street NW I Street NW from 27th Street NW to Virginia Ave NW Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW from K Street NW to Independence Avenue Lincoln Circle from 23rd Street NW to 23rd Street SW Ohio Drive SW at West Potomac Park from Independence Avenue SW around East Potomac Park to Maine Avenue SW 15th Street South from Crystal Drive to Eads Street 12th Street from Army Navy Drive to Crystal Drive Crystal Drive from 12th Street to 23rd Street 23rd Street from Crystal Drive to North Clark Street South Clark Street from 23rd Street to 12th Street South Fern Street from Army Navy Drive to South Rotary Road South Rotary Road from South Fern Street to Columbia Pike Columbia Pike from South Rotary Road to Washington Blvd. on ramp Washington Blvd. from Columbia Pike to Route 110 off ramp Maine Avenue SW from East Basin Drive to Independence Avenue SW East Basin Drive from Maine Avenue to Ohio Drive Independence Avenue SW from Maine Avenue SW to Ohio Drive SW 15th Street NW/SW from Constitution Avenue NW to Maine Ave. SW 3rd Street; Pennsylvania Avenue to Maryland Avenue SW Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to E. Capitol Circle 1st Street; Pennsylvania NW to Maryland Avenue SW Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to East Capitol Circle 1st Street; Pennsylvania NW to Maryland Avenue SW Maryland Avenue SW from South Capitol Circle to 3rd Street