Sole of the City

Sole of the City

Sole of the City

( 3 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Baltimore,
    United States
  • April
  • 6 miles/10K
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Katherine Ericson

Maryland, United States
7 3
"Charming Local Race With A Challenging Course"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Katherine Ericson's thoughts:

EXPO/PACKET PICKUP: The week of the race, runners have the option of traveling to a handful of Charm City Run locations to retrieve their packet. (For example, Annapolis on Tuesday, Columbia on Wednesday, Frederick on Thursday, ect). Otherwise, arrive early on race day and pick up your packet on-site. I opted for store pickup ahead of time, but I checked out the line on race morning. The line was long, but seemed to be moving at a good clip. If you plan to do the race day option, arrive about 20 minutes earlier than you would have otherwise.

PARKING: budget-friendly onsite parking available at Harbor Point, where the race starts. Emails sent prior to the race indicate this lot fills up early, and shortly after seven a.m., becomes inaccessible due to race-related road closures. Since the race started at 8:30, I had no desire to spend 90+ minutes bumming around in the cold, so I opted for off-site parking about a 10 minute walk from the start/finish. I paid only slightly more, booked in advance to guarantee a spot, and arrived on my own schedule.

START LINE LOGISTICS: Plenty of port-a-pots! There are a handful of toilets by the packet pickup table, but I skipped the line and went down to the stairs to the parking lot and walked right up to an available port-a-pot. Charm City Run has their race management down to a science, and everything is clearly labeled, including bag check. The race had about 2000 runners, and we were divided into four corrals. Again, these were well-marked, both on our bibs and at the start line. An announcer frequently reminded us of the time and told us when to line up. I was in the first corral, Corral A, and we went off at exactly 8:30a.m. Every two minutes, another corral crossed the start line. At no point did I feel the course was too crowded or congested.

THE COURSE: The course is the highlight and the reason I've done this race multiple times. The loop course begins at Harbor Point, winds around the water (offering beautiful views of boats and Baltimore's iconic red lighthouse), before heading into downtown. At about the halfway mark, the flat grade turns into a .75 mile long ascent toward Patterson Park. The grade gets pretty tough at times, and even among Corral A runners I noticed a few began to walk. I kept grinding as my pace slowed by a full thirty seconds, but I had a quite a sense of accomplishment when I reached Patterson Park. I took in the greenery and the city and thankfully, we had a downhill reprieve that allowed me to make up a little bit of the lost time. The course levels out as runners return to the city, and there is a final, brief uphill sprint to the finish line.

AID STATIONS: This course had two aid stations, which is pretty generous for a 10k. The first aid station was at about mile 2.5, in downtown, and the second aid station was at mile 4.5, at Patterson Park. After such a steep climb, I stopped at the second aid station for water. The volunteers had plenty of filled cups, so I didn't have to wait, and they also had Gatorade as an option.

FINISH LINE: The finish line has a fun, low-key energy by the water. After collecting my medal, I got a full-size, cold water bottle and a handful of snacks (bagged cookies, a fruit cup, and chips). The bananas were very green, and I thus noticed most runners were opting for other snacks. My race entry came with two complimentary beers, but I don't drink so those were of no use to me. The line for the booze, however, was already extremely long by the time I finished. There were plenty of benches to rest and spaces to stretch.

PREMIUM: In 2023, the race premium was a long sleeve Under Armour seamless running tee with the race logo printed on the back. The women's was a pretty light blue color. I ordered a size small, my true size for fitted shirts, and thought it fit perfectly. The medal was identical to the 2022 Sole of the City medal, except for the color, so while I loved the shirt, I'd say the medal was just average. CCR also provides FREE race photos to all runners, so that is a fun perk!

Sole of the City is my all-time favorite 10k. The course is phenomenal, the volunteers are enthusiastic, and the race management is top-notch. I 100% recommend this if you're in the Baltimore/D.C. area! April weather in the mid-Atlantic can get a little dicey, and it tends to be extra cold at the start due to winds coming off the water. Be sure to pack warm layers for before and after the race!

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