Race Report: Capitol Hill Classic 10K

Race Information

  • What? Capitol Hill Classic 10k
  • When? May 19, 2024
  • How Far? Supposed to be 10 km / 6.2 miles, but really 10.25 km / 6.37 miles
  • Where? Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
  • Website: https://www.capitolhillclassic.com/
  • Race Time: 1:00:57

Personal Background

The Capitol Hill Classic 10k begins less than a mile away from where I live, and for that reason alone, I’d do this race. However, even if I had to drive, this would probably still be my favorite race of the year because the route takes you through the heart of the nation’s capital, and because the race t-shirt is easily my favorite each year.

However, because the course is very narrow for long portions and because it runs long, I always approach this race as more of a fun run than anything else. This year, I was actually hoping to beat my personal best of 9:09 / mile on this course, but I ended up with a pace of 9:32 / mile. I think what happened was two things. First, I started too far back from the start line, which meant I was surrounded by slower runners. Second, I was running on a completely empty stomach, and I felt some serious hunger pangs beginning at mile 2. Still, I had fun and I’m happy with the result.


Part of what makes the Capitol Hill Classic such a fantastic race is because the course goes past iconic buildings like the Supreme Court and Capitol Building, along shaded streets, and through historic parks. Even the worst part of the course — running around one of the abandoned parking lots of RFK Stadium — isn’t that bad.

Besides being scenic, it’s also a very flat course, ranging from 10 to 90 feet above sea level. There’s only one prominent hill, which you run down at roughly mile 2.5 and back up at about mile 4.5, for the entirety of the race. Otherwise, there are some gradual elevation changes, but they’re so gradual that you’ll barely feel them.

That being said, it’s not a fast course, and that’s mainly because of the middle section that runs around the RFK parking lot. For this part of the race, which lasts for over a mile, you’re running on a portion of the Anacostia River Trail, which is only about 8 feet wide. Due to the narrowness of the trail, it’s very difficult to pass anyone (it’s an even worse idea to stop and walk at this point), and since there’s not a lot of room to maneuver, pretty much everyone is running at or near conversational pace. So, you’re stuck until the trail widens out again on East Capitol Street. Once there though, it’s smooth sailing.

One thing to also be mindful of is that the course runs long. A 10k is supposed to be 6.2 miles, but this was really a 10.25k, or 6.37 miles. I compared my distance to other runners, and everyone had about the same result, so it’s not a device issue. It’s also been the same each year I’ve done it.

Post-run Celebration and Swag

Afterwards, the post-run celebration is fairly basic, offering just bottled water, bananas, and oranges. That’s not bad, but I do wish they had more options available.

On the other hand, I really do like the t-shirt you get with registration. It’s always good quality, the logo always looks good, and there’s no obnoxious graphics / text. T-shirts from this race are always at the top of my running shirt rotation, and it’s very common to see other people wearing them too around Capitol Hill.


Just a fun, great race in a beautiful area with a great t-shirt. I think driving to it would be difficult due to lack of parking, but for anyone who lives within a couple miles, this is a must.


Nathan Caldwell


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