On Saturday, October 20th, 2018, my friend Paul and I “took a crack at” the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon. Get it? The medal is a crab, and we took a crack at it. Har har. (I can’t take credit for that one, it says that on the medal… but a punny medal makes me extra happy).
This was a fun race overall, particularly for the company. It was my friend’s first half marathon, and that’s always a joy to be a part of. Plus, he’s pretty delightful when it comes to photo opps.
The weather was nice enough, starting in the mid-fifties — which was a wonderful shift from the humid seventies that I spent all of September suffering through in South Carolina. But! One of this race’s quirks is an exceptionally late start by my standards: 9:45 am. So, it was fairly warm and sunny by the time we crossed the finish line around 12:30 pm.
The late start is because the half marathon joins the marathoners in the latter 13 miles — which is real weird. For any non-runner readers, typically the two races start together and the full splits off somewhere down the course.
My body was kind of confused about why we were running so late in the day. It wasn’t terrible, but I also wasn’t a big fan. I’d much rather get going between 7:00 and 8:00 am.
As usual, Garmin and Strava disagree about the elevation. And, as usual, I’m more inclined to believe Strava since it says there’s more elevation gain overall. Which is always what it feels like.
In addition to Paul’s chipper company, the crowd support was pretty good. What I think I remember most is all the dogs. There were many cute ones on the sidelines, including a very portly bulldog perched in a lawn chair. That fellow made me quite happy.
The scenery… was a mixed bag. The half course doesn’t get to run by the inner harbor, and we went through a fair number of… homely neighborhoods. Some cute/cool neighborhoods, too. But, overall, it’s not one of the prettier courses I’ve run.
Thankfully, the sweet medal makes up for a lot of that! And I dig the shirt, too. So swag-wise, I’m pretty happy.
Overall Assessment: Would Run Again
Time of year: Mid-Late October (10/20/2018)
Start time: 9:45 am
Temperature: 55° F
Size of field: around 8,000 (for the half), though actual cap is 11,000
Elevation gain: 536 ft (Garmin) or 644 ft (Strava)
- Killer medal. Seriously – one of the most unique/cool ones in my collection.
- Good course support: plenty of water, and Gu’s at mile 7.
- Decent crowd support: dogs, especially.
- Pretty good time of year for weather.
- Lots of parking. Don’t believe the race packet! Since you can park at the Raven’s stadium, there’s waaaaay more than enough spaces.
- Free race photos! I almost forgot about this, since I normally don’t care and they didn’t get any remotely good pictures of me… But! It’s a neat thing for people who do care! They got some good ones of Paul.
- Weirdly late start time. My body didn’t like it.
- Not very scenic. See some nice parts of Baltimore, but also run through some not so nice parts.
- On the hilly side for my taste. Though it wasn’t too bad, I opt for flat whenever I can get it.