Cherry Blossom race full of Sunday road closures

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run and 5K is underway Sunday morning and with this event come road closures.

WASHINGTON — The Cherry Blossom Festival is underway and to help celebrate these beautiful flowering, ornamental trees and gift from Japan, the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, 5K run/walk and 1/2 mile Kids’ run is Sunday morning. And with these running events come area road closures.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run begins and ends by the Washington Monument. Expect these road closures and plan alternate routes:

  • 15th Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues is closed until 11:30 a.m.
  • The Memorial Bridge is shutdown for the race.
  • Expect closures around the Tidal Basis and parts of Ohio Drive to be shutdown
  • Closures around the Lincoln Memorial.

The Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run began in 1973 as a precursor or training run for elite runners with their feet set on the Boston Marathon. Registration for the scenic running event often sells out annually in record time.

The 42nd annual race begins and ends by the Washington Monument with the course taking runners around the scenic Tidal Basin among other historic sites including Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial.

Kevin Lumpkin of Philadelphia is in town to run and race. “It’s my first Cherry Blossom,” he says adding but it’s taken him a few years to get here.

“Well, I’ve been trying to make it down here for about 10 or 15 years and I finally made it,” he says.

Lumpkin isn’t the only one who had good intentions to get here. It’s taken Wayne Jones years to do this race and he lives locally in Alexandria.

“You know it’s iconic for DC. So it’s been around for a long time. It’s a great course. You know, if you hit it right the Cherry Blossoms are out,” Jones says.

However, the Cherry Blossoms are not the most pressing thing on runners’ minds. “I’m going to run right pass them but I might stop and take a picture,” Lumpkin says.

When asked if the cherry blossoms were present enough for 78 year-old runner Alan Rider of Reston, he laughs and says, “I don’t know. They’re barely out.”

But when Rider and his friend George Yannakakis, who is 82 years-old, run a race they say they don’t pay any attention to the cherry blossoms or any other tourist sites.

Yannakakis has his head in the race rather as he is the defending champion of runners 80 year old and up for the Mid-Atlantic region and he’s currently ranked number one for his age group. Both of these friends have run this race 20 times or more.

Rider laughs and says, “I’m the young kid. He’s the old man. He looks a lot older than me too doesn’t he?”

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the WTOP Facebook page.