Monday, April 7, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Brigance Brigade 5.7k

Yesterday I had the privilege to run the inaugural Brigance Brigade 5.7k in Baltimore, MD. So, you might be thinking- why 5.7k? Here's the history- this race was hosted by the Brigance Brigade, a non-profit organization that supports people living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The founders of this non-profit are former NFL player OJ Brigance and his wife Chandra. In 2007, OJ  was diagnosed with ALS and has been working to help others with this disease through his foundation. When he played football, his number was 57, hence the 5.7k distance.

If you want to know OJ Brigance the football player, you can find his record-breaking statistics here. If you want to know OJ Brigance the humble and wonderful human being, start here.

So, to recap- an amazing cause/organization, a unique distance, and an inaugural race- an easy choice for me to run this race.

Matthew and I signed up a few months ago- I believe this race was $30 or $40 each. They kept us updated via email and social media about race details. Earlier this week, we got an email with our bib number and race day details- including where to park for free! In downtown Baltimore! :-)

On Saturday morning, we drove down to Canton Waterfront Park, easily parked the car, and walked over to the Runner's Village.

Lots of signage to get us to the right place.

Love running near the water.

We picked up our bibs- we wouldn't get shirts until the end of the race. We had about 20 minutes to kill so we walked around, went to the bathroom (plenty of port-o-potties), and took some pictures. A few minutes before the start, we walked over to the start/finish line.

Runner's know how beautiful this really is.
The beautiful medals we would receive.

Start line selfie.

Notice the Ravens logo on the bib :-)

Notice the Disney 1/2 Marathon shirt?

After a motivating speech by Chandra Brigance (this event raised over $100,000 for the Brigance Brigade!) and the Star Spangled Banner, we were off- starting up a huge hill is my favorite. Just kidding. But it was a killer hill.

This course basically ran about a half mile to Patterson Park, looped around and through the park, and then back down the hill to the finish line. I knew that Patterson Park was going to be hilly- we'd just done the New Year's Day Resolution Run there a few months ago.

The course itself was pretty fast despite being hilly. The weather was perfect- right around 48 degrees and sunny. I wore arm warmers, capris, compression socks, and a short sleeved shirt. I took the arm warmers off about a 1/2 mile in. I started to get hot around mile one. I probably overdressed a little. I'm still in winter mode for running wear I guess.

I ran this course without a watch. I read an article last week in Runner's World about running by effort and not time/pace so I wanted to try it out for this race. It went surprisingly well! I focused on my effort level, ran 2:30/1 intervals, and ended up pacing 10:53 minute miles. I would have a new 5k PR had this been a 5k! I think I'll be doing this more in the future.

5.7k in pictures:

A nice little incline to get your heart rate up.

Entering Patterson Park.

Patterson Park. 

I really liked these mile markers.

Patterson Park is crazy hilly.

The descent to the finish line!

I crossed the finish, got my beautiful spinner medal, and met up with Matthew and another friend Justin- I also saw him last week at the Mission 10 Miler and we'll see him again at Sole of the City 10k next week! Running friends are awesome.

Me, Matthew, and Justin.

Pretty sweet bling.

Yay for sunshine!

Map My Run stats.

After chatting with Justin, we made our way back to Canton Waterfront Park to pick up our shirts. I was amazed at the quality of the shirt. The premium shirt and the spinning medal really made this race feel special. We would be able to exchange shirts if needed but we'd have to wait about an hour until all the runners and walkers had finished the course. We didn't need to exchange so we took some pictures and headed back to the car.

Happy (and handsome!) finisher.

Just over an hour after the race had finished we received an email with our official results. This was just another example of how much attention to detail there was from the race organizers. Quality premiums, great organization, smooth logistics, no lines at all for shirts or bibs- it was everything you'd want in a race experience. There was also a kid zone with inflatables, different food trucks with food to purchase, and a band playing until early afternoon. It was a fantastic experience and I hope this race comes back as an annual event.

Women's cut shirt and spinner medal. 

QOTD: Do you have a favorite cause to run for? If so, why is it important to you?


  1. Great job (and write-up!) It looked like an excellent race, and for a great cause, one very close to our hearts (my uncle passed away from ALS 3 years ago). And you had perfect weather too -- what I'd give for 48 and sunny! During bridge repeats this past Saturday it was about 84 degrees by 7:30 in the morning... oy vey. So jealous... anyway, congrats again!

    1. Thanks! This race has inspired me to learn more about ALS and check out some other organizations I could get involved in/run with.

      And I would melt in 84 degree weather. That's a treadmill day for sure :-)

  2. Great post :) And well done!
    (Also, I love your skirt. I just had to say that, haha)

    1. Thanks! I love Sparkle Athletic skirts they make me feel pretty when I run :-)

  3. Sounds like an all around awesome race! Such a great shirt and medal, different from anything I've seen before. Free parking in Baltimore (gasp!) :)

    1. Anytime I run a race in a city, I'm always super appreciative of free and/or easy parking. I'm all about a no-stress race morning :-)