MCRRC Riley's Rumble Half Marathon

7 am,  Sunday,  August 5,  2012

South Germantown Regional Park - Maryland SoccerPlex
18031 Central Park Circle, Boyds, Maryland

Race #7 in the 2012 MCRRC Championship Series

Riley's Rumble is the evil half that your mother warned you about. Don't be seduced by the lush bucolic countryside of rural Montgomery County. This race will challenge the best runners. If you want the 3 H's (hills, heat, and humidity), this is the race for you. It is a good workout if you're preparing for a fall marathon but Riley's is not a good idea for your first half marathon. As an alternative, consider volunteering for Riley's and then running Parks Half Marathon (our 'better half') which takes place in early autumn when the weather is usually significantly cooler.

Smiling volunteers wait for people at the registration tables.
The race directors talk to the police before the race.  Watermelons await.
Water Stop
Brian holding umbrella
Trevor and daughters distribute M&M's along the course.
Guy directs people around the turn-around.
Volunteer distributes popsicles along the course.
Deer watching for runners to charge.
Water stop dwarfed by corn field.
Bill Morrison mans the time machines.
Kay Morrison and an unknown volunteer string stubs at the end of the chute.
Steve and Lyman cram everything back into the truck.
Men cleaning jugs.

Design, Text: Don Libes
Course Maps: Phil Quinn, Lyman Jordan
Elevation: Mark Zimmermann
Artwork: Kenna Libes
Photos: click individual photos for credits
© 2010-2012 MCRRC

Registration and Packet Pickup

MCRRC members: Register for free on race day. If you already have a club-issued bib and timing chip, wear them. Otherwise, you can pick them up at the registration tables. (If you have not picked up your chip yet, bring a $5 deposit.)

Non-members: Register online for $21.90 ($20 race fee + $1.90 online processing fee) through August 2. (You can register in person on race-day morning but, because there is no runner limit, you could be waiting in a lengthy line. Pre-registering also means we can't misread your handwritten entry or mistype it to the computer. We want your name spelled correctly in the results!) At the race site, you will be given a bib and timing chip. The chip must be returned immediately after the race.

Everyone: Registration and packet pickup open at 5:30am. Try to arrive no later than 6am to help us get everyone through registration and packet pickup.

Minimum Pace

Course and equipment logistics require that runners not exceed 15 minutes per mile. Do not attempt Riley's Rumble if you are not confident of completing the course at that pace.

Minimum Age

Runners must be at least 16 years old on race day.


The USATF-certified road course (scale map, elevation, certification map) starts as an out-and-back. If you miss the turnaround, you get to cool off in Little Seneca Lake. On the way back, there is a short out-and-back leg so you can burn off extra energy before the last 3 miles to the finish.


There are no awards. There are no finisher medals. You won't need a finisher medal to remember you have done Riley's.

Watermelon, cookies, and other food will be available at the finish.


We promise no t-shirts to clutter up your overflowing closet.

On-Course Support

Water, Gatorade, and ice will be provided approximately every two miles along the course and at the start/finish. Gels will be available at water stop #3 (mile 6 at the Taylor School). Popsicles will be provided just after the turnaround between mile 8 and 9. (Popsicle Protocol: Just before the turnaround, yell out your color preference and after the turnaround, the volunteers will have it ready for you!)

There are portapotties at the start/finish but not along the course. Beware of venturing off-road - poison ivy is rampant in the forest.


This race would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers. (See photos at left for just a hint of how crucial volunteers are. PS: Notice that they're all having a good time. This could be you!) Sign up as soon as possible using the volunteer signup form. SSL credit is available for middle and high school students.


Typically, Riley's weather is hot, humid, and sunny. Prepare accordingly. (Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after the race. Adjust your pace and expectations.) If it is raining, prepare to get wet.

In the event of dangerous conditions (lightning, excessive heat, etc.) the race may be delayed, canceled, or turned in to a fun run (i.e., times and places will not be recorded) at the discretion of the race directors. In the event of a cancellation, we will post updates to, our email hotline (mcrrc-alert), and our phone hotline (301-353-0200).

Results and Photography

Results and photography from the race will be available through the MCRRC home page. This sometimes takes several days to resolve any issues, so be patient. To contribute photos, contact or post them to our facebook wall.

Archives of earlier years are available through or by direct link (results, photos).

Location and Directions

The race start line is at the South Germantown Recreational Park - Maryland SoccerPlex, located at 18031 Central Park Circle, Boyds MD.

From I-270, take Exit 15B (Route 118 South) toward Germantown. Continue on Route 118 for 2.8 miles to Richter Farm Road and turn right. Take Richter Farm Road 1 mile to Schaeffer Road and turn left. The park entrance is 0.3 miles on the right.


There is plenty of free parking at the SoccerPlex. Nonetheless, we encourage carpooling to minimize parking hassles and to preserve our environment.


Headphones are allowed; however we strongly discourage them as the course remains open to cars, tractors, deer, and other runners and you must remain aware of them. We will disqualify and physically remove runners with headphones who do not respond to course marshal directions or who appear to be running unsafely in our judgment.



If you like Riley's Rumble, consider joining the MCRRC. Club membership entitles you to free entry into all of our low-key races (including Riley's Rumble). With over 20 races each year free to members as well as a lot of other activities, MCRRC membership is an incredible bargain.


PowerBar gel Schrier Physical Therapy logo
Potomac River Running logo


Riley's Rumble is named for Riley's Lock, itself named after John Riley who sawed Seneca sandstone and tended the lockhouse at Lock 24 along the C&O Canal from 1892 to 1924.

Originally called River Rumble, the race was a 20K that started and finished atop Riley's Lock after running southeast to Swain's Lock. In 1988, a mid-race downpour turned the course to mud. In reaction, the course was moved from the tow path to roads. To escape the heat, the date was moved to December. Both changes caused problems.

Icy rain became the new weather woe. Also, running along River Road was problematic due to speeders and hunters so the course was redesigned again - this time to cross River Road rather than stay on it. And the race moved to March in what would become another futile attempt to avoid the unpredictable extremes of weather in Montgomery County.

In 1995, the race was lengthened to a half marathon but moving it back to the summer turned out to make the race much more attractive. The last March race (1996) was attended by a mere 80 runners. In August the following year, attendance increased by over 300%. That same year also recorded the only first-place tie - between Mark Hoon and Jim Whitnah. Having learned that HMers love heat, Riley's has remained in the July-August timeframe ever since.

In 2000, the race was renamed Riley's Rumble. Participation soared to 714 and overflowed the parking lot at Riley's so the race moved to Poolesville High School. But after the new course was deemed not hilly enough, more parking was found back at Riley's Lock and the race returned there.

In 2002 and no longer a low-key race, online registration was used for the first time with different member/non-member rates and its own web page (which would be redesigned in 2007 and again in 2010 with the current design).

It was on the Riley's Lock course in 2006 that a deer (call him Blitzen) decided to take a more active role in the race and charged runner Nick Fernandez. Nick was knocked to the ground, landing head-first on the pavement. He suffered a skull fracture and brain contusion and had to be choppered out to a hospital. Nick has since recovered. Status of Blitzen is unknown.

In 2009, the course moved to its current location at the South Germantown Regional Park. In 2010, the heat index exceeded the level considered safe for Riley's as a competitive event so the timing devices were turned off and participants were allowed to run Riley's only as an untimed fun run with the adjective "fun" being highly debatable.

Through it all, Riley's has remained a very tough race that, despite no prizes and shirts, draws many of the best runners in the area to run for their own honor and become a part of history.


Feel free to write comments, post photos, and thank volunteers on our facebook wall.

To contact the Race Director or Assistant Race Director:
RD Joel Carrier <>
ARD George Tarrico <>

To report problems with this page, contact: Don Libes <>
To report general website problems, contact: <>