2015 Charles Street 12 Miler Race Recap

March 5, 2016

The third annual Charles Street 12 Miler aka Chuck12 was held in September…yes you will be seeing quite a few recaps over the next couple of weeks.  I have fond memories of Charles Street as my college sits along that corridor.  I’ve been wanting to sign up for this race for the past two years, but the August date always conflicted with other races or vacation. This year they moved the Chuck12 to the first weekend in September and I was free!

Packet Pickup

Charm City Run hosted packet pickup at their stores the week preceding the race.  I really like their stores, but driving from DC to Annapolis or the Baltimore suburbs was less than desirable.  Lucky for me they offered race day pickup at the starting area beginning at 6AM.  I left DC and made the quick (no one is on the road at 4:30AM) drive up to Baltimore.  Because the Chuck12 is a point to point race, I parked at the finish line at Power Plant Live

When I entered the city there were tons of buses lined up along Pratt Street to take the runners to the Shops at Kenilworth.  I caught the first bus at 5:30AM and took a little nap during the short ride to the start.  The registration fee includes a $5.00 bus fee as there is no parking available for runners (although I did see some people parked there).  If runners did not need the bus, the $5.00 was deducted from the registration fee. 

There were tents set up and I picked up bib and shirt – easy peasy when you are on the first bus to arrive. Under Armour provided the shirts – they were long sleeved with a thermal like feel to it.  Nice for winter…..too warm for race day.  I stowed mine with my bag drop, but I saw a few people running with them on and they did not look very comfortable.  September in Maryland = still humid!

The Chicago Marathon was a little over a month away and I had 14 miles scheduled for that weekend – I decided to run 2 miles ahead of the race.  Because I was not familiar with the area and it was dark out, I ran around the parking lot.  Afterwards I ran into Sarah and her fiancee Matthew and they reminded me that the course was net downhill…so be prepared for some rolling hills in the first half.  

Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)

Since this was a training run I wasn’t look to “race” this race + it was my first 12 miler so an auto PR it would be. 

  • A – Average 11:30 min/mile
  • B – Average 12:00 min/mile
  • C – Average 12:30 min/mile

Bonus Goal: Run up all the hills!

Charles Street 12 Miler

All smiles before the race! Not sure if you can see, but I was sporting my Maryland flag headband.

Lining up for the national anthem.  The people holding those huge signs were pace group leaders.

As I mentioned earlier, the Charles Street 12 Miler is a point to point race that starts at the Shops at Kenilworth and finishes at  Power Plant Live ….oh so many senior year memories.   Like the GW Parkway Classic, this is a net downhill race with several rolling hills. 

The race started at 7:30AM and the first mile included…what do you know….a hill!


  • Mile 1: 12:29 I owned that first hill!
  • Mile 2: 11:53 What goes up…must come down…yess
  • Mile 3: 12:35 Ughhh it is hot hot hot

Even though I was mentally prepared for the rolling hills, boy it still hurt! Running under the Towson Univeristy pedestrian bridge.  The first waterstop was to the right and I moved immediately to the left.  I had my own handheld and I did not want to get stuck behind the water jam.

The left turn I was waiting for…Charles Street!

Running along this stretch reminded me of college.  When I was in school I never ran this stretch of Charles Street, but in the neighborhoods surrounding my school. 

  • Mile 4: 12:15 Alright not bad, I got this.  Still running up those hills.
  • Mile 5: 12:04 Nice split, Jennifer
  • Mile 6: 12:22 Almost to my school…aww man, I don’t remember THIS hill

Right around mile 6 I started to run/walk the hills.  Finally we reached a section I was very familiar with….no not Notre Dame of Maryland University.

I glanced over to my right and there was my freshman dorm! Lower Courtyard 4530-D! Yes I have an odd memory like that. 

Freshmen-Junior years I would use to cross that bridge everyday to get to class.  See that building to the left? I had my 8:00AM calculus class in there. 

After I reached the top of that incline at Charles and Coldspring, I knew there would be a nice downhill to Johns Hopkins University.

  • Mile 7: 12:31 Its okay, just run walk it
  • Mile 8: 12:19 Yipee…downhill
  • Mile 9: 12:41 My quads, my quads 

Making a left turn by Hopkins. 

A quick shot of Homewood Field.  Loyola and Hopkins have a huge lacrosse rivalry dating back to 1921.  Their annual match is  referred to as the “Battle of Charles Street”.  Hopkins has more wins, but Loyola has won the past three years 😉 Go Hounds!  

We eventually got back to Charles Street and you could see the city skyline. So close..yet so far! It flattened out a bit, but my quads were trashed.

Downhill towards the other Washington Monument. Note: Cobblestone around the monument. 

I reached Federal Hill (a little out and back) and secretly wished this was a 10 miler.  It was humid!  Mile 11 was a bit of a low point for me, I think there was more walking than running that mile. Then I saw two pace leaders who started behind me (they no longer had a group) pass me. Well that lit a fire under me. 

  • Mile 10: 12:43 Only two more miles
  • Mile 11: 13:14 Man I don’t remember Federal Hill being this hilly <- on a normal day this portion is “flat”
  • Mile 12: 12:27 Pick it up Jen, you just had a lousy split

We made a right turn along the Inner Harbor and I picked it up – the pace leaders were the ones in bright yellow/green.  So happy to be on this stretch! The finish was less than a mile away. 

Image: Chessie Photo

Almost there, less than 200 meters!  This is what a tired Jen looks like!

Image: Chessie Photo

The finish line! I completed the race in 2:29:36 or 12:28 min/mile, meeting my “C” goal.  Next time I’ll get those hills 🙂

Once I crossed the finish line I received my medal and headed towards the finisher’s village.  It was definitely hopping! 

I got in line and was handed this box – a cookie (meh), apple (yum), and a veggie wrap (meh).  I gave away my beer vouchers.  I thought.. they only served veggie wraps…that is cool.  Apparently there were other types of wraps, but they were not marked or the volunteers did not know?

There was also a raffle, but I had to get back to DC in a jiffy because my friend Laurel was visiting.  First a picture!

Final Thoughts

    • It is, I repeat, it is….net downhill, but there nice stretches in which it is downhill. 
    • Need to work on those hills!
    • Transportation was easy and there seemed to be plenty of buses.
    • Nice swag and medal.
    • Parking downtown was pricey.  I did choose the parking garage closest to the finish line so that probably did it. I know there are less expensive (or free street parking) less than a mile away.
    • Plenty of water stops, but I learned my lessons before and will also bring my handheld when it is warm out.
    • Humid humid.
    • I enjoyed running past the colleges (Goucher, Towson, Notre Dame Maryland, Loyola, Hopkins) and along the Inner Harbor.
    • Thank you Baltimore City policy and all the volunteers for keeping the runners safe and fueled.
    • 12 miler = unique distance.
    • Seemed like everyone was having a great time after the race.
    • Close to downtown Baltimore for some more walking, touring or brunching!

I’ve participated in the Baltimore Running Festival four times (5K x 1, 13.1M x 3) and this was a nice change in scenery . It gave runners a chance to explore the northern portions of the city.  I would definitely run this race again and own those hills! Hopefully it will fit into my training schedule in 2016.


Share the Love Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone
Run Jenny Run
More about Run Jenny Run

    1. Great recap and your pictures are great. Tired Jennifer looks better running than “fresh Leeanne” looks. Nice way to own it!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Aww thanks! I saw you at the end of Clarendon – you looked great! Hope to see you soon 🙂

    1. Great job! 12 miles is no joke! I think downhills are actually harder for me than uphills, but any hilly race is hard to do! Did you run with your own water the whole time? What kind of bottle is it? I need a new one for long training runs and I like to hold it – have never used the belt kind~

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Barrie! I ran with a belt when I first started running, but switched to a hand held. This summer I would like to try the backpacks. If it is really warm and running more than 3 miles I will usually carry my own water (race or training).

        I have this for shorter runs / when I know I can refill it quickly

        I have this for longer runs and used it for my marathon

    1. How cool that the bus fare is included and deducted if you don’t need it!

      Great job on this race. I’m running a hilly half in a couple weeks and I’m really scared – I never train on hills and I know my legs will HATE me for this haha!

      I love how excited and happy you look in that pic!
      Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Feeling GoodMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Good luck, Ali, you can do it. The logistics ran smoothly, I was impressed.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Those unique distances are always fun. Whenever I run a half (and I should change my frame of thinking), whenever I get to 12, I think…to be done right now 🙂 I know my undergrad also hosts a memorial 5K for the lacrosse coach, but I haven’t had a chance to participate.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        The phone number, impressive!! I wonder if dorm rooms still have land lines, I guess they may for emergency purposes. Thanks, Jennifer 🙂

      1. Run Jenny Run

        It was nice running by my school, which was about halfway through the race.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Completely agree! It would have been fun if the race occurred during the school year, they could probably tie in a friendly competition among the schools.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thank Chaitali! I wish they had this race when I was in school.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks Deb! Hope you get to Baltimore one day! If they stay around the inner harbor most of the courses are flat, but if they go north there will be some hills. Hope to see you soon!

    1. Love your finisher photos ! I always LOVE LOVE LOVE going to / by my old university. Always brings back such great memories ! I would not like a down hill race. I love going up but do not like coming down.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        It does bring back nice memories. I like when a course has baby rolling hills – doesn’t hurt the quads too much. Thanks for the compliment, Karen!

    1. Anytime a race is hot and humid, it becomes difficult to maintain your goal pace. I think you did fabulous with hills and heat. It must have felt like old times when you passed your school (and lots of others). Your race photo near the finish line is fabulous, you always seem so happy at races!
      Pam recently posted…Weekly Workout Roundup: Mar 7thMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        This race brought back many memories. Even though I have driven the area several times during college, I forgot how hilly it was near the start. Thanks, Pam!

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Strange, just saw this Sharon 🙂 Thank you! I think that and 12K are the most unique distances I’ve run.

    1. thanks so much for the info. Best blog ever!

      I was debating if I should sign up for this race as a warmup race for Marine Corp Marathon.
      I have more motivations to sign up now.

      Are you running this 2016 race?

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Ivy, of course! Sorry saw this so late. Did you end up running the 12 miler? I ended up staying in DC for my long run that weekend. So exciting you are running MCM. I will be cheering with the Oiselle team during the race.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge