Actor Sean Astin, famous for playing Rudy in “Rudy” and Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be among the tens of thousands of runners of the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday.
Preparations are currently underway for the race in Arlington. Astin and the estimated 30,000-plus runners — U.S. Marines and civilians — will also be joined by retired Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter.
Carpenter is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the armed services’ highest honor, for leaping in front of a grenade to protect a fellow Marine, and losing his right eye in the process. He was awarded the medal this June.
Carpenter will skydive into the race — which starts at 7:55 a.m. on Route 110 — along with 11 other jumpers, to deliver a 7,800-square-foot American flag before running in the 39th annual edition of the race, the U.S. Marine Corps said in a press release. The race is the third-biggest marathon in the country, in terms of participation, after the Boston and New York marathons.
The race will end, as always, at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn.
Runners will start on Route 110, travel through Rosslyn and up Lee Highway to Spout Run Parkway, before heading down the George Washington Parkway, over the Key Bridge and into Georgetown.
After about 15 miles in the District, the runners will cross the 14th Street Bridge before traveling through Crystal City and Pentagon City. From there, runners will pass Long Bridge Park and the Pentagon before traveling back up Route 110, past Arlington National Cemetery, for the race’s conclusion back in Rosslyn.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District is hosting a kid’s day for children in the area to have fun while the family takes in the race. At the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive, there will be “moon bounces, face painting, arts and crafts, cotton candy, balloon animals, circus activities, and more,” and admission is free.
Rosslyn will be hosting the race’s finish festival, featuring numerous post-race events and activities, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Many of the roads in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City will be shut down on Sunday to accommodate the race. The full list of closures in the county is provided by the Arlington County Police Department, but among the notable roadways that won’t be accessible are:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Nash Street to Route 110, from 4:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Route 110 from I-66 to Jefferson Davis Highway, from 4:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- George Washington Memorial Parkway, from Spout Run to Memorial Circle, from 7:00-10:00 a.m.
- Eastbound Lee Highway, from Kirkwood Road to N. Lynn Street, from 7:00-10:00 a.m.
- All lanes of the Key Bridge, from 7:00 a.m. to noon
- Crystal Drive from 12th to 23rd Streets S., from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Columbia Pike, from S. Rotary Road to the Washington Blvd ramp, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Washington Blvd, from Columbia Pike to the Route 110 off-ramp, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There will also be plenty of road closures in the District to accommodate the race, including in Georgetown and along the National Mall. Parking restrictions will be in place along the course in both Arlington and the District.
Several roads in Arlington, including some major arteries, will be closed to drivers for Independence Day celebrations tomorrow.
Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle will be closed all day, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. From 1:00 to 11:00 p.m., Marshall Drive will be closed from Route 110 to N. Meade Street, and Meade Street will be closed from Marshall Drive to 14th Street N.
The following closures are also planned in Arlington.
From 3:00 to 11:00 p.m.:
- N. Meade Street from Marshall Drive to Route 50
- Eastbound N. Fairfax Drive from N. Pierce Street to N. Fort Myer Drive
- The exit ramps from Route 50 to N. Lynn and Meade Streets in Rosslyn
- Long Bridge Drive from Boundary Channel Drive to 10th Street S.
From 8:30 to 11:00 p.m.:
- Eastbound Route 50 at N. Pershing Drive, with a detour at N. Barton Street or Washington Boulevard
- Columbia Pike between S. Orme Street and S. Joyce Street
- S. Joyce Street between Army Navy Drive and Columbia Pike
Sites in Arlington to view the National Mall fireworks include Long Bridge Park, the Air Force Memorial, Gateway Park, Gravelly Point, the Key Bridge, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the Pentagon Reservation and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Whipple Field.
Tomorrow at noon, at Whipple Field, members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment Presidential Salute Battery will fire its ceremonial 50-gun salute in honor of the country’s independence. The salute will involve a cannon firing every five seconds for five minutes.
Arlington County officials urge attendees to use public transportation. The Orange Line’s Rosslyn Metro stop is approximately 5 blocks north of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, and the Pentagon City Metro station is near the Air Force Memorial. Shuttle buses to Long Bridge Park from the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations will be available.
ART buses 41 and 51 will run on Sunday schedules, but all other ART buses will not be running. The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, courts, community centers and libraries will be closed Friday. Trash and recycling collection will occur as scheduled, but parking across the county will not be enforced.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Lingering Campaign Signs Annoy Arlington Dems — Uncollected campaign signs from the June 10 Democratic congressional primary are irking local Democratic leadership. Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Kip Malinosky says the party has contacted certain candidates multiple times to let them know their signs were still cluttering up local medians. By Arlington ordinance, signs can only be removed by those who put them up. [InsideNova]
Blue Line Crunch Coming — When the Silver Line opens next month, the average headway for rush hour Blue Line trains will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. Metro says Blue Line riders can consider taking buses instead of trains to, in some cases, speed up their trip. [PlanItMetro]
Sietsema Reviews Mazagan — Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema has reviewed Mazagan, the new Moroccan eatery and hookah bar on Columbia Pike, next to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. Sietsema gave the restaurant 1.5 stars, saying the music was too loud and the dishes hit-or-miss. [Washington Post]
New Iwo Jima Bikeshare Station — A new Capital Bikeshare station near the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial, has been enjoying heavy use. The station can hold nineteen bikes but only three were parked there Wednesday morning. [Ode Street Tribune]
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) Seven U.S. Marines, one member of the U.S. Navy and one civilian are in the middle of running the 684 miles from Atlanta to Arlington to raise awareness for traumatic brain injuries among veterans.
The crew left Atlanta Monday morning, according to organizer and the lone civilian runner, Travis Ellis. They plan to conclude their journey at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn Sunday at noon.
The group calls themselves “Shepherd’s Men,” after the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga., which houses the SHARE Military Initiative, a privately owned facility that treats veterans for traumatic brain injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Ellis said it’s the only private facility in the country focused on veterans’ brain injuries, a status quo he hopes to change.
“It’s estimated that approximately 300,000 of those deployed in the last 13 years have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury,” Ellis told ARLnow.com while taking a break from running to Lynchburg, Va., this afternoon. “Every 65 minutes, a veteran or active duty member takes his or her own life. More needs to be done to help serve them and lift them up when they return home.”
While the Shepherd’s Men are running, they hope to raise $100,000, which would fund the SHARE program for a full month, he said. His hope is that more private programs serving veterans will arise as a result of increased awaress; the SHARE program only has capacity to serve 40 patients a year.
Each of the nine runners is covering about 13 miles per day, Ellis said, with each runner covering four miles on Sunday for their final leg from Manassas to the Iwo Jima memorial.
The seven-day endurance challenge has been in planning since January, Ellis said, with all the runners undergoing rigorous training programs to prepare them (although that didn’t prevent some nasty blisters). That their cause aligns with the growing scandal surrounding patient care at VA hospitals is coincidental.
“It’s purely coincidence,” Ellis said. “Everything related to that just serves as example for the need for private institutions with the ability and capacity for these services.”
Photo via Facebook
Trash cans have been removed from the Iwo Jima memorial and a number of other National Park Service properties in the area, including Netherlands Carillon, Roosevelt Island, LBJ Memorial Grove, and the Roaches Run waterfowl sanctuary.
The trash cans were removed following the Boston Marathon bombing — when there were incorrect rumors of the bombs being placed in trash cans — but the timing is coincidental. The removal was actually done as part of a larger “Trash Free Park” campaign, and timed to coincide with Earth Day.
“It is a solid waste management strategy of removing trash receptacles from all or sections of a park,” NPS’ George Washington Memorial Parkway branch wrote in a fact sheet last month. “Visitors are expected to carry out the refuse they generate and dispose of it properly at home or at another appropriate destination.”
National and local parks around the country have been getting rid of trash cans as a way to save money and discourage visitors from generating trash at parks to begin with. According to NPS, benefits of a “trash free park” include:
- Fostering a partnership between visitors and the park by encouraging people to take an active role in maintaining a trash-free park.
- Encouraging people to adopt a carry in, carry out Leave No Trace principle.
- Encouraging people to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Reducing odors in the picnic area.
- Increasing visitor safety by reducing the number of stinging insects, rodents, and other wildlife in the picnic area.
- Allowing staff time and funds spent on trash collection to be applied to other projects and improvements within the park. (These projects include facility and grounds maintenance, and resource preservation.)
- Reducing the amount of litter in the park.
- Establishing a commitment to park sustainability and responsible park use that will carry on to future generations.
When Fairfax County considered going trash free at county parks in 2010, the annual savings was estimated at $1.8 million.
Not everybody thinks it’s a good idea, though. Some say it’s confusing visitors and resulting in trash being left on the ground, including one recent visitor to the Iwo Jima memorial.
“I watched a war veteran (as indicated by his baseball hat) look for a garbage can to place his empty coffee cup… not finding one he placed it next to another discarded coffee cup,” local resident Lindsey Paola said in an email to ARLnow.com.
The Marine Corps War Memorial will host a movie screening on Friday and a ranger-guided history lesson on Sunday.
On Friday, May 3, the memorial will host a screening of the 1949 film Sands of Iwo Jima, starring John Wayne (see movie trailer, above). The public is invited to bring a lawn chair to the reviewing stand to watch the film, which will start at 8:00 p.m.
On Sunday, May 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., park rangers will give talks about little-known secrets of the statue.
According to a press release: “Rangers will host activities and offer short talks on the contents of the memorial’s cornerstone, graffiti inside the memorial’s base, and the amazing process by which workers climbed inside the memorial’s figures to piece them together in 1954.”
The events are part of the “Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend.” Partners in Preservation, a partnership between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is currently hosting a contest that lets members of the public vote to direct $1 million worth of preservation funding to historic places in the D.C. area.
The Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington House are both in the running. At the moment, however, they’re in 21st and 20th place respectively, out of a total of 24 entrants. The Memorial is seeking funding for a thorough cleaning and waxing.
“The Marine Corps War Memorial will compete for funds to carefully clean, wax, and re-gild the large outdoor sculpture at its center,” said a press release. “Each of the six giant bronze figures accumulates dirt, pollution, bird droppings, pollen, and natural weathering residues that must be removed with specialized pressure washing equipment. Because the statue is depicted with photographic realism, workers will need scaffolding and lifts to reach every angle and crevice of clothing and muscle, from the base of the memorial to its top 60 feet above the ground.”
ARLnow.com readers have spoken, and the photo above — “Morning Coffee at Iwo Jima” by Kevin Wolf — has been chosen as the best of the best in our pre-Memorial Day Summer Photo Contest.
The winning photo received 226 votes. “Fourth of July Fireworks from the Netherlands Carillon” by Clint Farrell was a close second with 210 votes, while our third place winner, “Douglas Park Fire Station” by Mary Troyan, received 183 votes.
Kevin, Clint and Mary will receive $100, $50 and $25 gift cards, respectively, to Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse (2350 Clarendon Blvd). Kevin will also receive a ARLnow.com tote bag. Thank you to Fire Works for sponsoring our contest and helping to give us give us some summer scenes to look forward to as we counted down the hours to Memorial Day weekend.
Here’s wishing you and yours a great holiday weekend, Arlington.
Tens of thousands of runners hit the streets on Sunday for the 36th Marine Corps Marathon and MCM 10K. Both events start at 8:00 a.m. on Route 110 and take runners through Northern Virginia and Washington, DC.
This year the MCM sold out of all of its 30,000 spots in a record breaking 28 hours. There are an additional 10,000 people signed up for the MCM 10K.
In 2009, the MCM became the fourth largest marathon in the United States, and the eighth largest in the world. It’s currently the largest marathon not to offer prize money to winners.
More than 400 service members overseas will participate in “MCM Forward” during which they run the 26.2 miles in conjunction with Sunday’s race in Virginia and DC. This event began in 2006 in Iraq.
Preparations are going on now along the running course, particularly around the Marine Corps Memorial. One of the marines helping to set up near the memorial this morning said everything is very organized and on schedule, but there is still a fair amount of work to be done before Sunday.
“We’ll be out here today until the job is done,” he said. “Hopefully that means by mid-afternoon.”
Runners are encouraged to use Metro, which will open two hours early at 5:00 a.m. Many heavily traveled routes throughout Arlington will be affected, so drivers should take the following closures into consideration:
- 4:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Eastbound Washington Boulevard will be closed at I-395 toward Memorial Bridge
- 4:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.: Route 110 will be closed in both directions to all traffic. North Meade Street will be closed from Fairfax Drive to Marshall Drive. There will be no access to Lynn Street or Meade Street from Route 50. North Lynn Street, from Route 50 to North 19th Street, will be closed. Ft. Myer Drive will be closed from 19th Street to Route 50. North Moore Street, from 19th Street to Wilson Boulevard, will be closed. Wilson Boulevard will be closed east of North Nash Street.
- 4:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Westbound Washington Boulevard from Memorial Circle to I-395 will be closed.
- 7:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.: Eastbound Lee Highway, from Kirkwood Road to North Lynn Street, will be closed. Westbound Lee Highway, from North Scott street to Kirkwood Road will be closed to through traffic (local traffic will have egress by taking Scott Street to Veitch Street. Citizens leaving the area can use Westbound Lee Highway to Spout Run and exit the area via the George Washington Parkway).
- 7:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: The Key Bridge will be closed.
- 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.: The southbound I-395 HOV lanes from Washington, DC will be closed.
- 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: 12th Street South from Eads Street to Crystal Drive will experience intermittent closures (local traffic is permitted in one lane from Eads Street to Army Navy Drive). Use South 15th Street to access hotels. Crystal Drive will be closed from 12th Street to 23rd Street. Rotary Road will be closed throughout Pentagon South parking. Columbia Pike will be closed at Joyce Street (access Pentagon via Boundary Channel).
- 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Army Navy Drive will be closed from Fern Street to South 12th Street.
Iwo Jima Memorial Revamp Planned — One of the most memorable sights in Arlington may be getting a face lift. The 56-year-old Iwo Jima memorial is in need of a refurbishment and more frequent flag replacements, supporters say. A group, the Marine Corps War Memorial Foundation, also wants to add a volunteer-staffed reception center with permanent restrooms, replacing the plastic portable toilets currently on site. [USA Today]
George Allen Wants His Senate Seat Back – Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) says he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and formerly held by himself. The 2012 race will also feature a challenge on Allen’s right during the primary. Some fellow Republicans wasted no time portraying Allen, once thought of as a possible presidential candidate, as “one of the biggest government guys out there” and “a part of the Washington establishment.” [Washington Post]
The Planetarium Booster — Meet Alice Monet, president of the Friends of Arlington’s Donald M. Brown Planetarium group. The retired Naval Observatory astronomer and Washington-Lee grad is helping to raise money to upgrade the planetarium and keep it open for future generations. [Washington Examiner]
Yorktown High Wins Theater Award — Yorktown High School took first place at the National District One-Act Play Festival for the third time running. The competition, held in Fairfax over the weekend, showcases D.C. area theater talent. “Yorktown’s show Bottom’s Dream, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will advance to the Northern Region One Act Play Festival [on] Feb. 5,” a parent tells us. “Yorktown will hold an encore performance of the show at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at Yorktown High, 5200 Yorktown Boulevard.”
Flickr pool photo by Shannon Field
Don’t be alarmed if you hear loud horns or a test message being broadcast in the Rosslyn/Iwo Jima Memorial area this morning.
Arlington County’s Office of Emergency Management says it will be testing its outdoor warning system speakers between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
OEM conducted a similar test in Courthouse last week.
At a ceremony on the grounds of the Iwo Jima memorial this morning, some 50 wounded warriors will receive brand new Segway personal transport vehicles, the reward for “graduating” from a training program sponsored by the military charity Segs4Vets.
Although two such graduation ceremonies have taken place here every year for the past couple of years, this is the first in which the Arlington Police Department is playing an integral part.
ACPD, which has 12 officers trained to operate the department’s six Segways, helped train today’s recipients, and helped assemble and transport the 51 Segways that are being given away. County motorcycle officers are also helping to escort the group between the ceremony and meals at Army Navy Country Club today.
It’s a partnership that Segs4Vets and the police department hope to extend.
“Here was a way to reach out to the community,” said Capt. David Herbstreet, one of the overseers of the department’s Segway program. “How can you say no? This is an awesome cause and we’re humbled and honored to do it.”
The officers involved in the training all volunteered for the program.
“It’s a wonderful relationship that we’re really excited about,” said Mike Kelly, who serves on Segs4Vet’s advisory board.
Segs4Vets has given away 525 Segways to severely injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans nationwide since 2005. The organization says the device gives wounded vets an additional degree of freedom and mobility while not drawing attention to their disability.
Arlington Joins Region-Wide HOV Enforcement Effort Today — Today Arlington police will be joining Virginia State Police and other local law enforcement agencies in an effort to crack down on HOV violators. During the morning and evening rush hours, police will step up HOV patrols on I-66, I-395 and other local highways. More from WaPo’s Dr. Gridlock.
Injured Vets Stop at Iwo Jima Memorial on Cross-County Bike Ride — A group of 18 bicyclists, many of them wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stopped in Arlington last night on their way from San Francisco to Virginia Beach. The vets stopped at the Marine Corps Memorial to see the retiring of the colors ceremony. More from the Associated Press.
Moran’s Cash Advantage Over Murray Nearly 20:1 — Talk about an incumbent advantage. In the latest disclosure period, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) reported nearly twenty times as much cash on hand as his Republican challenger, Patrick Murray. Murray has $29,890 to Moran’s $581,829. The Sun Gazette reports that Murray’s congressional campaign also has $35,000 in unpaid debt.
Annual Twilight 5K Returns to Crystal City Saturday — Now in its third year, the Crystal City Twilighter 5K will once again wind its way through the streets of Crystal City as the sun sets Saturday night. The race will get underway around 8:00 p.m. on Crystal Drive between 20th Street and 23rd Street. The Twilighter features medals for the top three finishers in 16 age groups, cash prizes for the top five finishers, and a killer after party. Online registration for the race ends Friday.
Sunset Parade Draws Big Crowd — A good-sized crowd was on hand at the Iwo Jima Memorial last night (see photo above) for the Marine Corps’ first Sunset Parade of the summer.
I-66 Widening Begins Next Week — Dr. Gridlock reports that construction is expected to begin on I-66 next week. VDOT will be widening I-66 between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street in Arlington County. Expect an almost nightly lane closure through July, which could tie up traffic at times from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. The project is expected to take 18 months.
Bike Safety Expenditures Detailed — Arlington is planning to spend $1,000,000 per year on bicycle and pedestrian safety projects. People-Powered Arlington has a breakdown of how and where the money will be spent in, complete with a handy map.
Tax Credits Provide $10 Million for Pike Housing Project — An allocation of tax credits from the state will allow a low-income housing development in Arlington to move forward. The 111-unit Buchanan Garden Apartments, on the western end of Columbia Pike, will be undergoing a $30 million renovation project. The tax credits will provide $10 million for the construction, with another $11.4 million contributed by the county’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund. The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is spearheading the project, which will modernize aging apartments and add extra bedrooms for families.
The Marine Corps’ first Sunset Parade of the year starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The hour-long performance features the music of “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Corps Band and a silent precision drill team.
The parade is free and open to the public. Plus there’s plenty of room on the grounds to lay out a blanket for a picnic before or even during the performance.
The Sunset Parades began in 1956, two years after the unveiling of the memorial. The parades are meant as a “tribute to those whose ‘Uncommon valor was a common virtue.’”
The performances will continue every Tuesday though August 17.
Marine Corps photo.