On Sunday, June 7, a group of WRC runners ventured onto the Potomac Heritage Trail for a 10-ish mile run. It was a first for everyone – truly unmarked territory, another trail to check off the list of must-do runs in DC.
Except this isn’t like many of the other runs in the area.
The Potomac Heritage Trail, which starts just under the ramp to Roosevelt Island, is less than a mile from WRC HQ at 33rd and M Street in Georgetown. Within a few minutes, you feel like you’re a world away. You’re running at literally river-level, crossing bridges, jumping over rocks to cross streams, and slowing your run down to a climb to conquer boulder-laden trails complete with almost vertical climbs.
WRC took the Roosevelt Island to Chain Bridge challenge, which is commonly known as the first segment of the trail. The majority of the trail was runnable with the occasional steam crossing. However, it quickly turned to a full body workout, complete with rock scrambles and even vertical climbs. Rumor has it that the trail becomes more runnable, and even more beautiful, after the Chain Bridge, but since many folks are ramping up their fall marathon training, we crossed the Chain Bridge onto the C&O Canal and headed back to Georgetown. It’s fair say that after the challenging terrain leading up to the Chain Bridge, the flat, non-technical Canal was a welcome sight.
All in all, the Potomac Heritage Trail proved to be a fun adventure and a welcome change for WRC. The terrain allowed for a slower, conversational pace, allowing us to chat and get to know visiting runners Simon and Carel from the UK. However, it will probably be saved for down-time from our regular training cycles since a consistent pace just isn’t possible. We may even look into additional routes to avoid the rock scramble leading up to the Chain Bridge.
The bottom line? Take the Potomac Heritage Trail challenge when you need a break from your normal running routes, pounding the pavement, or city life (or all of the above). It promises peace and quiet, beautiful views, and a unique experience just steps outside of the bustling city life. Save it for the days when you just want to run without the stress of pace or distance, the days when you want to remember why you started running in the first place.