Some people accumulate art, others books; some hoard coins, some stamps; some gather bottlecaps; some fill scrapbooks with newspaper clippings. I've recently begun to collect latitudes and longitudes. When I go out jogging I sporadically carry along an old GPS receiver. (see GlobalPositioningSystemRuns, 16 Feb 2002) If the satellites are in a good configuration and I can get a decently accurate reading I try to record some of the locations where I've been.
In particular, I've developed quite a fixation (pun intended) on finding and capturing coordinates of mile indicators for the Marathon in the Parks route; it fortuitously passes near my home (see ). Many of these markers appear as small, easy-to-overlook spray-painted, numbered lines on the asphalt. During the past couple of months I've tracked (pun intended) down #10 through #26 and also have pinpointed the finish line, 26 miles 385 yards from the start.
Most of the course follows Rock Creek, wandering from side to side through gently rolling wooded terrain, intermittently emerging into open meadows. It's an extraordinarily pleasant ramble, if one doesn't mind pausing to avoid sudden death at major road intersections. I have a silly little ritual that I follow whenever I step over a marathon mile marker: I say ping! quietly to myself. It's part of a fantasy I have about running the entire distance some day ....
To within a second or two of arc, the Marathon in the Parks landmarks are as follows. (Note that the route wiggles and winds, with occasional diversions onto side streets to add distance or avoid obstacles. Obviously, all latitudes are North of the equator and longitudes are West of Greenwich.)
|10||39:06:22||77:07:30||on Southlawn Lane just east of Rock Creek Trail (RCT)|
|11||39:05:45||77:07:06||nice forested area of RCT north of Norbeck Road overpass|
|12||39:05:04||77:06:34||caution, many tricky branches join and leave trail|
|13||39:04:16||77:06:17||on driveway entrance/exit to Aspen Hill Park, north of Veirs Mill Road|
|14||39:03:43||77:05:56||after Parklawn cemetery, back on RCT in the woods; deer zone|
|15||39:03:09||77:05:25||south of RCT's Randolph Road crossing|
|16||39:02:26||77:05:15||on RCT south of Garrett Park Road; beware rabbits|
|17||39:01:28||77:05:36||still on RCT south of Strathmore/Knowles|
|18||39:01:14||77:05:54||before RCT crossing of Beach Drive|
|19||39:00:39||77:05:20||just past Cedar Lane crossing on RCT|
|20||39:00:37||77:04:30||RCT just before Kensington Parkway|
|21||39:00:46||77:04:26||loop into Kensington residential neighborhood (9619 Kingston Road)|
|22||39:00:43||77:03:51||RCT just before Beltway overpass, downhill from Mormon Temple|
|23||38:59:58||77:03:45||north of dramatic Georgetown Branch Trail (GBT) railroad trestle|
|24||38:59:48||77:03:53||on residential side street (3208 Coquelin Terrace) loop|
|25||38:59:33||77:04:50||GBT within Columbia Country Club golf course, near 15th tee|
|26||38:58:58||77:05:34||underground, long GBT pedestrian/biker tunnel|
|Finish||38:58:54||77:05:45||surfacing in downtown Bethesda, at sidewalk café across from bookstore|