A little behind in the blogging world….after 3 years of running the Baltimore Half Marathon + a 2 year hiatus, I ran the ShopRite 5K last month on October 12, 2013.
The Baltimore Running Festival (BRF) is located in downtown Baltimore, about an hour away from Washington, D.C. The festival begins/ends by Ravens Stadium/Camden Yards and the Saturday event draws thousands of runners to the marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, and 5K distances. This will be the first year that Under Armour is not the title sponsor, but they will continue to provide the technical tees for the next few festivals.
The last time I ran in the BRF packet pickup was held in the club level of Ravens Stadium. This year pickup was moved from Ravens Stadium to the Baltimore Convention Center-yes!! I always felt holding the expo at the stadium’s club level was too small and congested. My friend Em (running the half) was staying in Baltimore Friday night, so she was able to pick up my packet for me-Thanks Em!
You know it’s fall in Baltimore when you start seeing these banners all over the city!
Race morning I drove from D.C to Baltimore with an English muffin and almond butter in hand. I arrived around 5:30am and slept in the car for about an hour. Lot G (free parking at Ravens Stadium) did not fill up until 6:30-7:00am. I walked to Em’s hotel to get my bib/packet and dropped off some bananas. It was good to warm up a bit and it gave me a chance to assess the weather (it was calling for rain). I went to bag drop off (easy) and headed to the start line.
The 5K began 15 minutes after the marathon start. It was nice to see the marathoners off outside of Camden Yards.
The first 1.5 miles were uphill, I actually did not mind them at all (again?!). Perhaps I like hills-maybe mentally I know there will be a nice downhill reward afterwards. I was quite proud of myself and ran 99% of the incline. After mile 2 (water stop) it was all downhill. You passed Lexington Market and could see the stadium. This is the same route the marathoners and half-marthoners take to the finish line. I felt awesome! I ran my best 5K time in years, although not a PR I was really happy with the results.
This year ShopRite was the 5K sponsor and provided all finishers with a medal.
After the race I skipped the food line (it was sooooo long), grabbed my bag, and headed to my car. I was meeting my friends Mike and Kathleen (who also ran the 5K) for brunch in Canton, MD. Note: there were a TON of road closures, so I ended up taking the tunnel (toll) to the other side of the city.
- Perfect for beginners, however I found myself weaving in and out for the first 2 miles or so.
- There were TONS of kids running the 5K-great for them, however I did not want to run them over.
- Fees are pretty reasonable, next year I believe it is $40 through August 2014 and you get an UA technical tee + a medal (if they continue to do so).
- Easy parking and after 10+ years, I think they got logistics right.
- 5K shirt was really nice-a highlighter blue…. the 13.1 and 26.2 shirts not so much (I’ve been lucky, my 3 half marathon shirts have been blue as well).
- I did like the finishers chute pushed back some, however the food line was very long.
- I noticed that 5K runners were taking the aluminum heat blankets -which are normally reserved for the marathoners (and in some races 1/2 marathoners), and used them as picnic blankets to eat on. I learned that some of the marathoners did not receive them, perhaps BRF can educate new 5K runners or stow those sheets away until the 5K is complete.
Would I run this again? Sure, why not. Will it be every year? Probably not (October has so many running festivals!) I may go back to the half distance next time I enter another Baltimore Running Festival event, maybe even both!