Survival of the fittest

How to avoid those pesky runners during the Dallas Marathon

How to avoid those pesky runners during the Dallas Marathon

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The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon begins downtown at 8:05 am Sunday, December 9, and ends at the Dallas Convention Center. Photo via Dallas White Rock Marathon Tips
Dallas Marathon 2012 Route
The marathon goes across Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in West Dallas before heading over to White Rock Lake.  Photo courtesy of Dallas Marathon / Facebook
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Dallas Marathon 2012 Route

Unlike Eric, I think the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon is a lovely name that truly encompasses the spirit of the event far better than the Dallas White Rock Marathon ever did — though I especially enjoy the “Prince” level of labeling on the top of the website.

But with the marathon (the what?) taking to the streets on Sunday, December 9, there is one thing I’m not too thrilled about: how all of these runners will be clogging up the city with their athleticism.

Here now are the nine areas to avoid while the marathon runs its course:

1. Downtown
It’s best to avoid downtown completely on Sunday — or at least until after 3:30 pm. The marathon starts and ends downtown, meaning that it’ll be just the worst all day. Not only that, but you’re also dealing with the half-marathoners returning, so there’s really no down time.

If you have to head to the area, use Woodall Rodgers Freeway or Interstate 35 E to get around the closures. Avoid Harry Hines and know that no matter what you do, downtown will not be friendly to drivers.

2. West Dallas Loop
They’re running on the bridge! More specifically, they’re running on the bridge between the estimated times of 8:20 and 9:45 am. The West Dallas loop is the first leg of the marathon, going west on Commerce Street, then north on Sylvan Avenue before heading down the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

All told, they should be done by 10 am at the latest, but returning half-marathoners might muck up Riverfront Boulevard as late as noon.

3. Design District
The runners should be out of here by 10:45 am, so it shouldn’t be terrible getting around after that. Avoid the congestion during that time by taking the Dallas North Tollway or Interstate 35 E. Dragon Street will be particularly chaotic.

4. Oak Lawn/Uptown
The middle of Oak Lawn and Uptown is going to be lousy with half-marathoners. The return leg runs right next to the outgoing leg, and the turnaround is just a hop and a skip north of the area.

Avoid Cedar Springs (or don’t, if you want a good view of running shorts during brunch) until as late as noon. Of course, with all the construction going on at Cedar Springs and Routh, this might just be the perfect storm.

5. Highland Park
In all honesty, the trail becomes less harried as the half-marathoners are gone and we’re out of the one-way streets and narrow lanes of downtown/Uptown/Oak Lawn. Avoid Armstrong Avenue, Byron Avenue, Beverly Drive and McCommas Boulevard from 8:30 am to noon.

Mockingbird Lane, Preston/Oak Lawn and Central Expressway will get you around.

6. M Streets
Stay off Ellsworth Avenue from 9 am to 12:15 pm. Simple, right?

7. White Rock
Officials are claiming that Mockingbird Lane will be open to east/west traffic on the east side of Abrams Road approaching White Rock Lake, but that’s also the exact path the marathon is taking. Exercise caution from 9 am to a little after 1 pm, when they'll be running around the lake.

8. Lakewood
The longer a marathon goes, the longer the actual line of marathoners becomes. Not everyone is going to run a three-hour marathon, and some might not even run it in four-and-a-half-hours (*looks in mirror*).

Runners will come down Garland Road to Winstead Drive and over to Tokalon Drive and Lakewood Boulevard before getting down to Swiss Avenue. Expect delays anywhere between 9:45 am and 3 pm. Yes, really. Just take Interstate 30 and Highway 75 to get around it.

9. Junius Heights/East Dallas
As noted above, Swiss Avenue will be the main route to avoid from 10 am to 3 pm, as well as Haskell Avenue for a stretch before running into Main Street. From there, the marathon will hit Young Street for the sprint to the finish line at the Dallas Convention Center.

All in all, it’s not too bad outside of downtown. The best way to avoid headaches is to stay on highways as much as possible and, most important, stay away from downtown. Take DART if you have to go down there. Or run, if you’re feeling foolish.