Thursday, June 26, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Baltimore Women's Classic

On Sunday, June 22, I had the privilege to run in the 38th annual Baltimore Women's Classic. This is the country's second oldest women's race- meaning only women are allowed to participate. After the 5k race, there is a co-ed fun run for children under the age of eight. Men are encouraged to cheer- loudly :-) With a little something for everyone, this race was a really great experience.

I signed up for this race online a few months ago. I believe it was around $40. Having heard rave reviews about the event, I was thrilled it fit into my race schedule this year. Because we had just come back from vacation, we utilized race-day packet pick-up. The race started at 8 am and we got there around 6:45. We had to pay for parking but the race partnered with Parking Panda so we were able to pre-purchase parking a little over a half mile from the start.

Once at the start, Matthew and I were both impressed by the amount of vendors set up. There were probably 20- 25 different companies there, all with women's focused merchandise for sale. After getting my bib and race shirt (super easy, by the way), we wandered over to the port-a-pots to use the restroom. There were tons of port-a-potties (always a plus) and there were tables with free "essentials" for participants: tampons, hair ties, hair spray, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer. Super cool.

We also ran into a former student of mine- Gigi- as she was there to cheer on the runners. That's another thing I loved about this race- lots of opportunities to catch up with running friends!

Thanks for thinking of everything, race directors!

The idea of wearing blue was to stand out so Matthew could easily find me... but the race shirts were blue so tons of ladies were wearing them. BWC- 1, Sarah- 0.

We walked around for a bit and collected lots of free stuff from the vendors. I bought a pair of Maryland Flag Arm Warmers- they are pretty bad-ass. Charm City Run (my favorite running store) was there as well as RUNtelligence. There really was a great selection of vendors to choose from.

Matthew and I eventually made our way towards the finish line to find a place to sit. Since we'd gotten there so early, we had time to kill. Which ended up being awesome because we got to meet up with a twitter friend- Meg! She ran the Mission 10 Miler earlier this year and she was volunteering for BWC. We chatted for a few minutes until we needed to head to the starting line.

It was really bizarre lining up without Matthew. We start almost every race together so it was a little weird having him be the spectator for the day. I gave him my camera, we said our goodbyes, and then I lined up near the 11-12 min/mile sign. There weren't corrals for this race; we all just lined up according to our pace. Strangely enough, I spotted Morgan in the crowd! I'd known she was racing and was so glad to see her!

My handsome spectator, goofing around.

Morgan and I ran the Princess Half Marathon together in 2012- she is one of the people who inspired me to train for a half marathon :-)

After a few announcements, we started the race. I really didn't have a goal for this 5k- just to enjoy the experience of my first all-women's race and to finish. The course itself was pretty flat. There were a few rolling hills but nothing major. There were TONS of photographers; more than I've ever seen for a 5k. With over 2,800 women participating, this was a pretty large race for the distance. And for a lot of women, this was their very first race. One of the things I love about this event is that Charm City Run offers a free 8 week training course for anyone signed up for the race- how cool is that? It's such a great way to encourage more women to start running or walking and it creates a great support system.

The legend.

The last little turn provided a great view of the city!

Matthew and I had been in communication during the race via text message so he knew where to look for me. I was able to see him at mile 2 and the finish. After crossing the finish line, the runners were truly pampered- we got a medal, a wet towel, and a rose! Awesomely enough, Meg got to hand me my finisher rose- super cool! I met up with Matthew and I scarfed down some watermelon. After cheering on some more participants, we took some pictures and started to head back to the parking garage. On our way there, we ran into with a friend from college- Lisa- who also ran the race pushing her eight month old daughter in a stroller. Lisa is another person who inspires me to run- I loved watching her journey to her first marathon (Baltimore 2012) on social media and it's really cool to see her getting her daughter involved with fitness from an early age.

Matthew's awesome pictures:

Matthew's a great photographer!

Waving at mile 2.

Finished! And checking my splits on my app!



Matthew and Gigi.

Yellow and blue were the colors of the day.

Love this city- and my Black-Eyed Susan medal! It's the state flower of Maryland.

I finished the race in 33:41 which put me as 873rd out of 2,890 overall and 152nd out of 458 in my age group (30-34). Not too bad. The weather was perfect- around 65 degrees and overcast. This race really was a great experience focused on women and running- what could be better than that? ;-) I have to again thank Matthew for being my cheerleader, photographer, and spectator. It was definitely a cool experience knowing I had someone waiting for me at the finish line. Thank you, BWC, for a fantastic race! I will be back next year for sure.

QOTD: Have you ever participated in a women's only or women's focused event? What did you think?


  1. That looks like fun! You've got some great photos! I have to laugh at the bathroom amenities all neatly put into the baskets. Within 20 minutes you know that stuff was all over the table and the ground! Very cute medal and really large for a 5K. If I was local to you, I'd totally do this run!

    1. Thanks, Jen! And yes, I'm sure it was a hot mess once all the runners got there :-)

  2. Great job Sarah! As usual, your outfit on race day was super cute. I have done two women's races, the Diva Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach and the Esprit de She race in Cary, NC. Both had exceptional post race goodies and the shirts for Esprit de she were Athleta brand.

    1. Oooooh, I've never heard of Espirit de She! That's sounds fun. I'm doing Divas in September and I'm really looking forward to the expo and all the race goodies :-)

  3. I love the BWC! This was my second year running it and I always have a great time. I think I saw you right after you crossed the finish line. Too bad it was so crowded, otherwise I would have said hi!

    1. Oh, sorry we missed each other!!! It really was a great race- can't wait for next year!

  4. Great job! Looks like a wonderful race. Do you use a camera for pictures during races, or your phone? They come out really well! I've done one women's focused event and loved it! It was just so nice to have products, goodie bags geared for us ladies :)

    1. I have to agree- women's focused was awesome! For this race, Matthew took a majority of the photos on my camera- I don't remember it's name but it's a middle-of-the-road camera. Most of the time, we use my phone; an HTC One. It takes pretty good pictures. Any shots during a race are usually taken with my phone.