Thursday, June 5, 2014

Race Recap & Review: The Bel Air Town Run

The Bel Air Town Run has been running- literally- for 33 years. I first ran it in 2011 and then returned in 2012. I wasn't able to make it in 2013 so I put it on my calendar for 2014 fairly early. It's always the first Sunday in June and it's always a blast- there's a lot to love about a local race!

Bel Air, MD is my beloved hometown. It's where I spent the majority of my childhood and early adulthood. There are a few other 5ks in the area, but the Bel Air Town Run is the only one that runs down Main Street. Even though there's no castle waiting at the end, it's still pretty cool.

So, there are a lot of reasons why I love running this race in particular:

1. Cost- $15 gets you a 5k race, t-shirt, and lots of food at the finish.

I love the reflective quality of this year's shirt- and that the "RUN" and "2014" are the same text.

2. Course- I love this course. The first half is pretty much downhill. The second half has some challenging hills- including the last .1. Gotta love a course that ends with an uphill :-)

The end is near!

3. Spectators- Because this race has been running for so long and goes through so many neighborhoods, there are a lot of people out (especially for a 5k) cheering you on. There is one house where they actually hang all the shirts from previous years across the front yard- it's a nice distraction :-)

This is also right at the mile 1 marker. 

Loved the little girls on the left cheering for the runners!

4. Friends- Because this is my hometown, I usually see a lot of people from my childhood running the race. This year, I got to meet up with Jen and Laura- both friends from high school.

Jen is an amazing Dopey Challenge finisher; Laura crushed the Marine Corps Marathon this year- her first!

5. Focus on family and fun- As I've found with most local races, there are lots of first-timers, kids, and families running this course. It is so inspiring to watch little kids running, even as they are beating me :-)

Loved this mom and daughter duo with the tutus! Reminded me of the We Run Disney gals!

I think I should have titled this recap "Ode to the Local Race." :-)

So, how did this year go for me?

In a word, AWESOME! I brought home a shiny new PR- 32:44! I'll take it. Knowing the course helped tremendously. Because I knew the hills were coming, I was able to conserve some energy for the second half of the course. 

As always, this race is organized and efficient. At the finish, there were orange slices, bananas, bagels, water, etc. There was also a well-staffed water station at the 1.5 mile marker. Overall, this is a great race and should you ever find yourself in Bel Air, MD during the first weekend of June, you should check it out. 

Oh yeah, one more reason why I love this race- it was my first race EVER! This was the race that started the obsession. I hope I'm able to always get back home to run this every year and honor my "runniversary" in a fun way :-)

Some things never change- I always have a goofy smile at the end of a race :-)

QOTD: Do you have a favorite local race? What makes it special?


  1. Congrats on the PR! I think you've inspired me to run my 1st 5k race again this year!

    1. Yay! That's awesome, Jennifer! Good luck :-)

  2. Way to go Sarah! Local races are just as great as the big name races for the reasons you mentioned, especially for the crowd support. And I love being able to repeat a race and thoroughly know the course.

    As usual, you looked adorable in your race day outfit, and I absolutely love your mother-daughter photo and shout out to Pam and Christine.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! And those tutus were just too cute!

  3. That is an awesome price for a race like that. It looks like a lovely racing tradition to have!

  4. We had to bag the race this year :( Mike's brother got married in NY and we realized too late that it was the day after the wedding. We COULD have been crazy and got up super early to drive back in time to make the race- but I couldn't run anyways due to my foot issue. Just wasn't in the cards. Looks like a beautiful morning though! Perfect weather! (and I love the T-shirt banner! very creative!)

    1. The t-shirt banner is something I always look forward to seeing! Sorry you missed it this year- hopefully next year! :-)

  5. Congrats on yet another PR! You are crushing these 5ks, girl :) What a great price for what sounds like an amazing race/amenities. You're right about local races, they can be so special. Another reason I like them? I don't have to wake up as early ;)

    1. Thanks, Heather! And yes, local races are just the best :-) Especially because you can "sleep in!"