- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
Oh the Baltimore Running Festival, race three in the King Crab Challenge series and second in the Maryland Double! I went into this race with a total relaxed attitude. My goal was to take it easy, get lots of video footage, and give high fives to as many spectators as possible! I'm happy to say that I did achieve this goal. :)
First up, the Expo held at the Convention Center. There was free parking available in certain lots, but we're not very familiar with downtown Baltimore so we pulled in the first parking garage we saw and paid a pretty penny. Live and learn. The expo itself was well-organized in a serpentine design with lots of vendors, freebies, and area for bib/shirt pick-up. We went on Friday night to find no crowds at all!
For race morning, we arrived VERY early despite the half marathon 9:30 start. One thing I do want to point out is how there were unofficial parking attendants trying to lure runners into a parking garage for $10.00. Be sure to not fall in that trap since parking is free. I was also disappointed to see that the port-o-pots at the stadium had not been cleaned since the last Raven's game. (My eyes still hurt from the foul things I saw!) This is not the fault of race officials, however.
The walk to the Inner Harbor was minimal and pleasant. Following other runners made this easy but I might have gotten lost on my own! Lines for the port-o-pots ranged ... some were very long and some were short so be sure to scope out the best ones. Bag drop off was a breeze and they also had a vendor there selling race gear. Runners were separated in five waves and it was mentioned in the race guide how they would be checking to make sure you started in the correct wave. I was in the last due to downgrading from the full but nobody checked. (Still, I like to follow the rules.)
As for the course ... LOVE IT!!!! It's so diverse and you see a ton of Baltimore ... the Maryland Zoo, Patterson Park, Clifton Park, and a spin around Lake Montebello. There are hills a plenty and I mean lots of them so keep that in mind while training. What REALLY makes this race amazing is the spectactors. Oh my gosh, the energy is AMAZING!! Tons of folks out there cheering on the runners with signs, snacks, mimosa and Natty Boh shots. (I did partake ... which I regretted but YOLO.) Many were in costume with music blaring and the finish ... I teared up in the most amazing way! Ending at the Inner Harbor was spectacular although I did miss Camden Yards and M&T Stadium.
The race support was also fantastic with stops for gels, chips, bananas, and more. I can't leave out Munchkin Mile where Dunkin Donuts gave out munchkins! The race medal was also fantastic and don't even get me started on the monster-sized King Crab Challenge medal. The sucker is HUGE!!!
All in all, I had the most amazing time running the Baltimore Half Marathon. Highly recommend this race. Blog and video recap is coming soon!