Get Racy with Me! {The Friday Five}

And once again I choose a post title that will likely garner a lot of unwanted blog traffic. Sorry, creepies, not that kind of racy. On another note, I’m sure everyone will be not-shocked to hear that the pole dance post was my biggest hit this week. 

My vacation all kinds of threw me off from my regular blogging schedule. I missed me some DC Trifecta and the Friday Five.


In case you don’t know, that’s Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia. But chances are you DO know because it’s the best blog linkup around.

This week the prompt is all about 5 races we would recommend this year and being that I’m very much a hometown kind of gal, I want to tell you about 5 of the best races in beautiful, eclectic, somewhat dirty and dangerous Charm City.

Salt’s Top 5 Must-Run Baltimore Races

As with everything else in life, there are pros and cons to each. No one is perfect, right?

Sole of the City

Sole of the City is a Charm City Run race (aka: BEST running store!) and where I hold my 10K race PR. It is a fabulous foot tour through downtown Baltimore that begins in McHenry Row near Federal Hill, winds around the Harbor to Fells Point and then back again. I love this race and I’m sad that I’m missing out on it this year but I’m not planning on racing at all until New Jersey and it’s only like two weeks before that.

Pros: Flat by comparison to some other Baltimore events (save for a steady uphill at the end), a scenic, well planned course, I like 10Ks, fun crowd, good after party with lots of food, beer, and live music, and a great premium. I wear my Sole of the City Under Armour jacket regularly.

Cons: The weather can be a little dicey (I don’t trust early April around here) and for part of the course you have to run on busted-up cobblestone, which is arguably the worst surface EVER.


Sole of the City 2014

Charles Street 12

Another Charm City Run race and along with Sole of the City and the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5K, it makes up the B3 race series triple crown. (I’m not big on the St. Patrick’s Day Race…the party afterward was fun, but the run itself is a little bit too crowded for me, especially for the first mile.) Chuck 12 runs from Baltimore County down into the city and for someone like me it’s cool to run on streets that I have driven countless times in my life. Bonus: I got to hang out with Amber and Lisa! Both of them are so fun. I will be doing this one again this summer.

Pros: It’s a point to point, but easy to park at the finish and then take free buses to the start. Great course. Decent crowd support in some areas. Fun party afterward and awesome swag…I got another cool jacket and there’s also some bling involved.

Cons: This race is always advertised as being OMG DOWNHILL! Luckily before I ran it last year, I knew that this is an exaggeration. The overall net elevation is downhill, but really it’s 12 miles of rolling hills to flat. Still working with my bad foot in August this was my longest distance run since May and my legs almost unhinged right off my body when I got to the flat part. Oh yeah…and since it’s in August the potential is there for it to be really sweltering. (We had great race weather though.)

Post-race with some awesome bloggers! Amber of PB&PRs on my left and Lisa from Running Out of Wine on my right!

Post-race with some awesome bloggers! Amber of PB&PRs on my left and Lisa from Running Out of Wine on my right!

NCR Half Marathon

This small half marathon is held by my running club, but that’s not why I’m promoting it on here. It’s small, friendly, run through nature on the NCR Trail just north of Baltimore. It is held in late September (yay fall running!) and the weather this past year was positively gorgeous.

Pros: Inexpensive. It’s a club race and members only pay $2 while non-members pay $6. Where else can you run a half marathon for that price!? People are really friendly and they have nice food provided at the finish. The crush stone surface of the trail is easy on the legs and the course is flat and fast.

Cons: The bathroom situation. There are port-a-johns on the trail, but they are exactly as attractive as that sounds. Small club races for low prices = not so many bells and whistles. Really no crowd support if you’re into that kind of thing. The course is made up of two separate out and backs so if you don’t like out and backs it’s double the annoyance for you. I thought this would irritate me, but I ended up not minding it.

 Baltimore Running Festival

There’s something for everyone! The BRF consists of a 5k, half, relay and full marathon. I’ve done the half twice and despite a very challenging course, it is one of my favorite running events and the biggest one around here. The Baltimore half is the biggest race I’ve ever participated in. Nothing like running with thousands of friends! (I even got to meet up with Cynthia there!)

Pros: If you like big races, you’ll like this. So many people and such great crowd support. Challenging, scenic course. Cool entertainment on route. My shirts and both my medals are some of my favorites that I’ve ever gotten from a race. The festivities begin and end in the stadium complex downtown and it’s like one big celebration. At the end you even get to run through Camden Yards and with people wall-to-wall cheering for you from either side it’s the most epic feeling. Plus the race is in October so great running weather.

Cons:  Expensive, but aren’t all big races? Hilly if you aren’t into that sort of thing and it’s tough to get around the city if you’re coming or going that morning. Public trans is the way to go.

Hanging with Cynthia of You Signed Up for What? just before the start!

Hanging with Cynthia of You Signed Up for What? just before the start!

Zoo Zoom

Zoo Zoom is really pushing it as far as good race weather is concerned, but I still love it enough to have run it twice. It is an 8K that winds around and through the Maryland Zoo. This includes some of the “dreaded Druid Hills”. Mar and Sara can vouch for the dreaded-ness.

Pros: If you like hills, you will love this race. It’s a challenging, fun course. Cute race shirt. Plenty of parking and real working toilets if you don’t mind waiting in line for them, which I don’t. You have the opportunity to see animals while you’re running and there are yummy post-race treats (catering by Corner Bakery!) Then you get to hang out in the zoo as long as you want to following the race.

Cons: If you hate hills, you will hate this race. And about those animals…I didn’t see a single one last year although the previous year I ran past the cheetah stalking around which was pretty cool. Zoo Zoom is in late November so chances are that it will be very cold. I ended up sick both times I ran it.

Sara (Sweaty Mess Mama), Mar (Mar on the Run) and me post-race!

Sara (Sweaty Mess Mama), Mar (Mar on the Run) and me post-race! You love my whiskers.

So there you have it! My top 5 favorite races in Baltimore. Now who is coming for a run with me in 2015!?

Which of these races sounds the most awesome to you? What is your favorite race in the city where you live?

Happy Friday, everyone, and I hope you stay warm this weekend! I’m unapologetically married to the treadmill right now and looking forward to my longest run yet on one tomorrow morning. This chick does not hang outside with negative windchills.




57 thoughts on “Get Racy with Me! {The Friday Five}

  1. Mar on the Run! says:

    Love Baltimore running festival! I signed up for the 5k this year but ending up skipping because of those doggone orioles 😉 love this list and Zoo Zoom was awesome! I’m definitely signing up for Boordy 5k, because wine (yes I know it’s not on your list)

    • runsaltrun says:

      The NCR is just a nice place to run anyway. 🙂 I used to do one trail run per week on lunch when I worked over in Hunt Valley. I miss not having such easy access to it now!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t run the Sole of the City this year either, and I’m very disappointed, it was one of my favorites last year. I want to do the Zoo Zoom so badly. I don’t remember what happened last year that I couldn’t fit it in but I definitely need to add it to my list for 2015

  3. sarahdudek80 says:

    These look so fun. It’s funny how you have to balance out that “you get what you pay for.” I honestly like the benefits of both. I love doing low budget races for just that reason. More races if you pay less. And then I love to throw in a pricey one here or there to enjoy the plushiness that you get….cause sometimes a girl wants a bathroom, a beer and a medal!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Also with the smaller club races, I love the family atmosphere. Everyone knows each other and it’s just like a fun run with friends. Those were the reason I got to race so much last year too! I would have been broke without them!

      I will gladly pay for clean bathrooms from time to time though. 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      Definitely do and if you have any other questions about races while you’re here, ask away! We have a lot more than just these 5. These just happen to be some of my top faves. 🙂

  4. Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles says:

    These all look like so much fun, but I think the zoo zoom would be the one I’d want to do most (but I wish they would move it to a warmer time!!) Running in a zoo with animals? Yes please! I can’t rock the cheetah pants like you can though–I am just not cool enough for that!

  5. Running 'N' Reading says:

    I want to come run with y’all; these races look like so much fun! Thanks for sharing your list, Salt; hope you have a great weekend and that you don’t get too many gross comments about your “racy” post – ha! 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      We do have some good ones around here, that’s for sure! I feel really fortunate that we have Charm City Run. They always put on a great event! I hope you have a great weekend too!

  6. Karen says:

    your first sentence made me laugh out loud.
    I’ve never been to Baltimore, but I’ll keep these races in mind if I ever find myself there!
    The NCR half sounds the best to me. My favorite races are the low-key ones

  7. Sun says:

    Wow, I can’t believe the prices for that local half marathon – amazing!

    My favorite local race is Race for the Bacon 5k. It’s an evening race that is really more about the bacon bash after the race. It’s usually hot and humid since it’s in July but no one seems to mind since soon they will be scarfing bacon and sipping a beer 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      I have yet to find a cheaper one! That alone has me signing up again this year!
      I remember reading your post about the Bacon race! I don’t even like bacon, but it still sounded like so much fun!

  8. Sweaty Mess says:

    I’m already signed up for 3 of those 5. Will probably do Zoo Zoom again…that’s a fun race! Can’t wait for Sole of the City, Charles Street, & my return to Baltimore Running Fest!

  9. Corinne says:

    Ever since you told me about the Charles Street 12 over a year ago, I’ve wanted to do it. I used to drive down Charles Street every single day to get to and from work since I lived a block over from it. So scenic and it would be nice to see those sites NOT from a moving vehicle!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Zoo Zoom is really fun. I’m hoping this year will be unseasonably warm like it ended up being for a couple random days in November and December. There are so many great races around here that it’s hard to pick!

  10. alsoranagain says:

    I’m most intrigued by Sole of the City because it’s flat, scenic, and I like the sounds of that party!

    My favorite race in Tacoma is the Tacoma City Turkey Trot 5K because I’ve run it every year since it began, I love Thanksgiving, and I have always taken home a ribbon. 🙂

    And heck yeah I’ll run with you in 2015I I’ll be in Charm City and DC in late March/early April. Let’s plan a meetup!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ahhh yeah I forgot you are coming over here!! We definitely need to meet up for a run! I wasn’t planning on racing around that time, but if you are in Baltimore and something good is right around then I will do it and take it easy. 🙂 That’s so exciting!

  11. Karen G says:

    I know I’ve said it before, but I really need to get up to Baltimore for a race! The marathon is definitely on my “must run’ list! And a half for so little?! I could travel up there, run, and still pay less than a local 5k… and I do appreciate more miles for my $. 😉

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yes you do! All the club races are super inexpensive like that which is how I ended up racing so much last year. I would have been completely broke otherwise! Anyway, there’s lots to choose from if you ever want to come for a visit!

  12. wendyistakingthelongwayhome says:

    Sorry, Lauren, but I’m not married to the mill…speedwork is one thing but I’ve got a long run on tap for tomorrow and I’m taking it outside.

    Love your comment about the racy posts. I’m even reluctant to post racy words or swears in my post, so as not to attract creepos…

    • runsaltrun says:

      You are seriously superwoman with your outdoor running. I just can’t do it. Temps in the teens are doable at this point, but I’m drawing the line at single digits. 🙂 I hope your run goes fabulously!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I have plenty more suggestions if you need, but you should come up for the NCR half this year! It’s a great race! I really want to run the full after reading about your experience this past year and getting to know more about it through my club. I’m toying with the idea of doing it this year…at the very least I will probably do the relay!

  13. Jennifer LE (@runningwithpugs) says:

    Oh, I love the idea of the Zoo Zoom! That sounds so cute. But for the hills LOL.

    My favorite local race is the GATE River Run 15K. It’s the largest 15K in the country and boasts two incredibly challenging bridges, including the Green Monster around the last mile. Good times. It’s a great race with awesome spectator support and I can’t wait to tackle it.

  14. Hailey @ Striding Strong says:

    That $6.00 half marathon sounds good to me! That way I could spent my money doing fun stuff while you take me on a tour ha ;). That zoo one sounds super fun too! My favorite race here was the Women’s Running half, before they took it away, I really hope they bring it back because it was so much fun :).

  15. ambertherunner says:

    Love love love the Chuck 12 & BRF. I’m undecided if I should sign up for the BRF half this fall or not…still figuring out what I want my goal race to be.
    I’d add the Baltimore 10 miler to the list. Super hilly & in June, but still so much fun 🙂

  16. Nicole@TheGirlWhoRanEverywhere says:

    These all sound so fun! 🙂 The 12 miler especially intrigues me! 🙂

    I also would love to do a zoo race…there is one in RI and I have my eye on it for this upcoming fall! 🙂 And YES, whenyou did that race–> I did love your adorb whiskers, you cute cat you! 🙂

    GOOD LUCK on the mill…I ran outside three times this week..>THREEE!!! I felt like i hit the weather jackpot but in reality, I couldn’t stomach the mill for ONE MORE DAY!!!!

  17. Debbie @ Deb Runs says:

    The Zoo Zooma sounds fun, but it’s a long drive for me for an 8K. ;-( We have a lot of local races I enjoy, but the Marine Corps Marathon will always hold the dearest place in my heart!

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