- 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
This was my first year running the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon. I ran the Zooma 10K earlier this year and had a great time, so I was really excited about coming back to Annapolis in the fall.
Since I live in Philly, getting my race bib was a bit of a hassle. There were various pick up locations for bibs - maybe too many - and when City Sports was announced to go out of business, the organizers changed all the locations to a different running store. My sister lives in MD and she was kind enough to pick up the bib for me, but it really was a hassle. Then I found out that morning that we could've picked up the bib on race day, so that wasn't communicated well...
The race was on a perfect Saturday morning. It was chilly, but I knew that it would warm up around 50 - great running weather! The race doesn't have corrals, which really threw me off because I wasn't sure how to line up and I didn't want to start too fast. Unfortunately, even though I was apparently behind the 2:20 pace group, everyone was flying and I got caught up.
The race is actually quite beautiful - downtown Annapolis is very scenic, so the first 6 miles of the race are awesome. Things start to change after you go up the Navy Memorial Bridge...which is a HUGE bridge! I have to admit by the time I got to the top, I was beat. But then once you were off the bridge you encountered hill after hill after hill...and none of them were easy.
I knew about the hills but knowing about them isn't the same as running them in real life! I really struggled. The fuel stations were adequate along the couse, but the mile markers were NOT. There were not markers for every mile, and the ones I did see where 0.4 miles behind my watching - this makes things even tougher mentally.
The other thing about the hills is that they are out and back....so you're going over these hills twice. It's just a boring part of the course and drags on way too long. I had nothing to look at to distract myself. Thankfully a friend found me and helped me push through the course.
Protip: When you get to the stadium, you're not done yet - you have to run all away around the parking lot to get to the finish. Torture!
After the race I made my way to the after party, which had delicious tomato soup, bananas, bagels, oysters, and beers. Half marathon finishers get a really nice long-sleeved 1/4 zip top. There was a live band and I really enjoyed my (alcoholic) cider and grilled oysters.
All in all, it was a good race - but it's not for the faint of heart! I thought that the organizers could have done a better job communicating how to line up with the pacers (somehow the 2:20 group finished before me even though I finished 2:15), bib pickup, and signage of mile markers. I'd give it 3.5 stars.