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.
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 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.