The Baltimore Women’s Classic is the second oldest women-only race in the country. This 5K had been on my radar for awhile (see my Maryland Race Bucket List here). I was excited that I could fit it into my schedule this year and saw it coincided with their 40th Anniversary – fun! My mom also signed up for the race, it was her first 5K! Funny since she has walked several half marathons.
The BWC is managed by Charm City Run. They offered two packet pickup options: in-store and race day. You all know which one I chose! My mom and I left for Baltimore around 5:45AM and arrived at 6:30AM. The 5K started at 8:00AM, but we wanted enough time to find parking and pickup our bibs. My friends from college use to live in the Federal Hill neighborhood, so I was pretty familiar with the parking situation there. We found plenty of (free) parking right next to the American Visionary Art Museum – which was covered with pretty mosaics! Note to self: I should visit one day.
We walked to Joseph H. Rash Memorial Park for packet pickup.
Passed by the Happy Birthday BWC sign at the pavilion.
It wasn’t crowded at all so I took advantage of the clean (for now) and plentiful porta-potties. There were tables with hand sanitizer, sunscreen, wipes and feminine products – a very nice touch.
We were emailed our bib numbers in advance and were given a tote bag (not pictured – nice for groceries), cotton shirt (on the softer side), and bib. Bag check was around the corner so we dropped off our shirt and tote instead of walking to the car. I am glad we arrived when we did, it got more crowded as we approached the start time.
The temperature was pretty mild so my mom and I took pictures in front of the Inner Harbor.
I warmed up about a 1/2 mile and stretched.
While my mom and I were taking pictures my friend and sophomore year roommate Alyssa texted me, “where are you?” I had sent Alyssa the race registration link a few months back, but never confirmed if she signed up. What a nice surprise! You may remember her from my 2013 Annapolis Half Marathon race recap here.
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
My best 5K time this year occurred in March at the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K with a time of 32:44 or 10:33 min/mile . The last 5K I raced was in April, the Crystal City Friday 5K – Race #2 . There I finished with a time of 32:59 or 10:36 min/mile. Based on those times (which I used to form my goals) and a huge absence of speedwork, I knew aiming for a PR (30:57) would be unrealistic.
- A – Break 31:04 (10:00 min/mile)
- B – Break 32:37 (10:30 min/mile)
- C – Break 34:10 (11:00 min/mile)
I also wanted to run consistent splits. During the Crystal City Friday 5K series I went out too fast for the first 2 miles and slowed down for the last mile (for both races).
Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K
Prior to the race, organizers led warm up exercises. Here is a view from the pavilion. I didn’t partake as I wanted to use the porta-potties one last time (lesson learned from St. Michaels).
We hopped over a little wall barrier for the start. There were no corrals, but there were pace signs along the way for self seeding.
Ran into Sarah, again! I saw her earlier in the morning and she gave me some course intel (small hill at the beginning).
Before the race started I was torn – should I run my own race? Try to stick with Alyssa (who is faster than I am)? Then I thought, this is silly we should use this time to catch up! I asked Alyssa if this plan was okay and she said “yes”.
The 5K starts along Key Highway and loops around the Federal Hill neighborhood, before returning to Key Highway and finishing at Rash Field. I took a picture before everyone arrived. The start was pretty much underneath the traffic light. It was pretty crowded at the start.
We ran past the American Visionary Art Museum (on the right) before climbing the small hill to Fed Hill (this is when runners started to spread out).
I wish I took some pictures while we were there! I’ve never run in this neighborhood before despite visiting it several times during my college and post-college years. Fun fact: Did you know Jenna Bush and her husband use to live there?
- Mile 1: 10:50 chatting away…is that the hill? okay no more talking until the top
- Mile 2: 10:33 the neighborhood is so cute! so much fun catching up
- Mile 3: 10:41 okay its hot and sunny, should have brought a visor
After exiting Fed Hill we followed Key Highway again before making a left onto the promenade. It was beautiful running along the Harbor. As we passed Mile 3, we both agreed to sprint to the finish….and sprint we did! We ran an 8:37 pace for that little nubbin .1 of a mile. Our final time was 33:12 or 10:43 min/mile. I was very happy with that time since I was able to comfortably chat with Alyssa the whole race (well except for the mini incline) and gave me a bit of a confidence boost. I thought… I could definitely go faster. Splits were consistent and I met my “C” goal.
Once we crossed the finish line we were given a medal, rose, water and directed to the finishers village. There were shops set up there and the best part…..watermelon!! Alyssa and I grabbed some food and our bags and went to the promenade area for photos. My mom finished with a time of 40:25 or 13:02 min/mile.
Post race picture with Alyssa. After not seeing her for about 6 months, I’ve seen Alyssa twice since the race.
Caught up with Mar! Alyssa and my mom learned that we love to talk about….running!
- I always appreciate multiple packet pickup locations + same day packet pickup.
- Easy to park. The race also advertised Parking Panda, which allows you to reserve/pay for a parking space at participating garages.
- Great race for beginners – runners or walkers! Stroller friendly as well.
- Pretty nice swag for a 5K! Female cut shirt as well.
- The race introduced finisher medals a couple years ago and have continued with it ever since.
- Beautiful location – the Inner Harbor is so nice plus it’s close to hotels, restaurants, and shops.
- There was a Kid’s Fun Run.
- Benefits Cancerve “Cancerve (formerly “Baltimore Women’s Classic, Inc” ) which provides support to female cancer patients and their families at their local hospital partners across the State of Maryland.
- Great course – pretty flat and awesome views of Fed Hill and the Inner Harbor.
Overall I had a great running experience. I would definitely participate in this race again and hopefully make it a yearly tradition.
Have you ever run in a female only or female-centric race?
Do you remember your first 5K?