My Favorite Loop: The Bladensburg Bridge

I save this run for special days, when I know it won’t be too hot, or rainy, because I don’t want anything to mar my favorite loop. One mid-June day in 2017, we were blessed with uncharacteristicly dry weather, and I relished one of my few summer runs out here.

It’s a mix of some wide sidwalks on Bladensburg Road, a little loop through Colmar Manor Park and back to my office on the newer part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. My favorite parts are passing a building that collapsed right as a fire engine drove by, the footbridge over the Anacostia River at the Blandensburg Waterfront and the point where you emerge from the woods into Kenilworth Park. In a few years, there will be a bridge from Kenilworth over to the National Arboretum.

I don’t remember how I put all of these pieces together, but I started running some form of this loop, earlier using West Virginia Avenue for a while, in December 2016, shortly after the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail extension was finished.

There are some wetlands that really catch the light the right way in the evening, right around seven miles.

The boardwalk south of Bladensburg can get slippery sometimes.

You have to slow down to get around the Jersey barriers at the end of Deane Street, but then there’s about a quarter mile stretch until you get back on the riverwalk trail that seems delightfully out of place.

Right when I get close to 10 miles, I start wondering how I ran the tangents and how my GPS is reading, and I take note of where I cross the 10-mile mark, usually in the middle of a footbridge.

I’ve tried running it in reverse, but going clockwise doesn’t have the same…narrative structure? It’s just not as satisfying.

In regular times, when it’s open, I like to stop at Sol (1251 H Street NE) to get a burrito to carry back over the last mile. Sometimes I stop at Pacers (600 H Street NE) to pick up some new socks. When I hit 13 miles on the Hopscotch Bridge, I stop, and start eating that burrito.

-Charlie Ban, Washington, D.C.

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