By completing both the Frederick Half (May 2103) and the Baltimore Half in one calendar year, I would also earn the Maryland Double Medal. If you know me at all, then you know I'm motivated by bling. So, adding a second medal by completing the Baltimore half was a no-brainer.
Now, Matthew and I also had 17 miles on the calendar for our Dopey Challenge training for this weekend. Naturally, when presented with the option to complete the 5k (8 am start time) and the half marathon (9:45 am start time) on Saturday, we jumped at the chance.
Spoiler alert- this race is the best non-Disney race I've ever participated in and I'll be back next year for sure, maybe even to run the full marathon :-)
***This post is long and could have been MUCH longer. If you have specific questions about the race(s), please comment and I'll answer as best I can! :-) ***
The Awesome & Amazing
Expo and Premiums- This expo was incredibly enjoyable. Free parking, well-organized, and lots of vendors including a few of my favorites- Hoka One One, yurbuds, and Charm City Run. We picked up our awesome premiums (see below), got some free under armour shoe laces, walked through the vendors and were on our way in less than 2 hours. Shirt exchange was convenient and well-stocked. The official merchandise was pretty amazing (there will be more available online later!) but I managed to get out of there with only a pair of feetures elite light cushion socks. More on them later.
|Short sleeve for the 5k, long sleeve for the half. Also, some pretty cool medals.|
|Just a sample of the official merchandise.|
Also, there was food provided at the 7.5 mile marker of the half. Not just gels, but actual food- bananas, chips, etc. which was much needed. It's important to note that the half marathon course joins with the marathon course at mile 3 of the half, mile 16 of the full. We were running with the full marathoners for their last 10 miles- so inspiring. Since I'll be running a full in just a few months, it was really motivating to be among people who were so close to completing their goal.
|The "M&T Merge Mile." Half marathoners on the left, marathoners on the right.|
|Running around Lake Montebello.|
|About .25 miles from the finish line!|
|"Boh knows you're thirsty."|
|"Stop whining. I'm tired too!"|
|"You're running better than our government"|
|"Eye of the Tiger"|
|Cupid and free beer.|
|"We're strangers but I'm so proud of you."|
Post-race- After finishing both races, the lines for food were insanely long. I grabbed my medal (from a pile on a table- more volunteers needed to hand out medals!), got a bottle of water, and walked out of the Runners Village to go find my friends. Also, we had to wait in line over in Celebration Village (vendors, bands, food, etc.) to get our Maryland Double medals and again, this was a ridiculously long line. Everything else about this race was so well-organized. Take a page from the run Disney handbook- pre-package the food so it's easy for runners to grab and make bibs for different races/challenges so different medals can be given out at the finish.
New socks- I know better than to try new things out on race day. However, as it was going to be a rainy half and I wanted to wear a thinner pair of socks, I bought a new pair of feetures at the expo. The result? Blisters. Ugh, at least they aren't TOO bad.
Half marathon start- After finishing the 5k, we had to walk about a quarter of a mile to the start line of the half, including crossing over the marathon course. Now, this is risky in any race to try and cross the course but with this many people, it was dangerous and (I think) rude. I hated having to run across the course to get to the half start. I don't know if it's always like this but I sure hope not.
If you are looking for the amenities of a large race with the feel of a local race, then you should run Baltimore. There is something for everyone and all runners/walkers are celebrated. Lots of entertainment, colorful locals, great medals/shirts, and excellent organization make this an event you don't want to miss.
"27,000 runners. One heartbeat."
PS- do yourself a favor and check out their facebook page. They are responsive, hilarious, and connected to the running community in a way that makes the race so much more than just one day.
|Before the 5k- just a light drizzle! The rain held off until we all finished the half- yay!|
|Team Sparkle skirts- much love for our Baltimore sports teams!|
|Done! With the bling to prove it!|
|Half, MD double, and 5k medal :-)|
|The perfect running photo: lots of port-a-potties in the background.|