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 [1]). 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.)

MileLat.Long. ^z Comments
1039:06:2277:07:30on Southlawn Lane just east of Rock Creek Trail (RCT)
1139:05:4577:07:06nice forested area of RCT north of Norbeck Road overpass
1239:05:0477:06:34caution, many tricky branches join and leave trail
1339:04:1677:06:17on driveway entrance/exit to Aspen Hill Park, north of Veirs Mill Road
1439:03:4377:05:56after Parklawn cemetery, back on RCT in the woods; deer zone
1539:03:0977:05:25south of RCT's Randolph Road crossing
1639:02:2677:05:15on RCT south of Garrett Park Road; beware rabbits
1739:01:2877:05:36still on RCT south of Strathmore/Knowles
1839:01:1477:05:54before RCT crossing of Beach Drive
1939:00:3977:05:20just past Cedar Lane crossing on RCT
2039:00:3777:04:30RCT just before Kensington Parkway
2139:00:4677:04:26loop into Kensington residential neighborhood (9619 Kingston Road)
2239:00:4377:03:51RCT just before Beltway overpass, downhill from Mormon Temple
2338:59:5877:03:45north of dramatic Georgetown Branch Trail (GBT) railroad trestle
2438:59:4877:03:53on residential side street (3208 Coquelin Terrace) loop
2538:59:3377:04:50GBT within Columbia Country Club golf course, near 15th tee
2638:58:5877:05:34underground, long GBT pedestrian/biker tunnel
Finish38:58:5477:05:45surfacing in downtown Bethesda, at sidewalk café across from bookstore

TopicScience - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicRunning - 2002-05-19

(correlates: MarathonCoordinates, WhyThis, RockCreekTrail, ...)