The Baltimore Marathon is all grown up!
As part of the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival, now in its 7th year, the race has joined the club of well-run, well-established city marathons.
Posted Monday, 14 May, 2007
There is water and Gatorade Endurance along the course. PowerBar is another sponsor – so you shouldn’t run out of carbohydrates. Medical support is provided by Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine. If you need to pull over and get a full knee or hip replacement they can probably do it!
“The race itself was superb. Great course that's well-marked. … Organization and support were near-perfect on the course despite running three groups at once.”
As in previous years you get a great Under Armour technical shirt for entry. The local running specialty shops throw in a no-strings attached $15 gift certificate – so you can go buy a new pair of shoes to go with your new shirt. You get a bunch of stuff with this race and a case can certainly be made for value.
There is every conceivable combination of scoring and prizes from local runners, armed forces teams, first timer’s prize money and survivors. The Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival has left no one out. Inclusive is almost as understated a description as comprehensive…
Each year the course gets tweaked a little depending on construction and other things. In the last couple years a loop around the famous Ft. McHenry was added. You’ll be happy to know that the construction around Lake Montebello is complete and a loop around the lake will replace a hill at mile 20 this year. The course itself has some hilly bits to keep things interesting – but nothing overwhelming if you’ve trained well.
The course starts out from the Camden Yards complex northwest of the city for 7 or so miles with some elevation gain and parks before returning to the inner harbor. After a first tour of the inner harbor runners are treated to a circumnavigation of Ft. McHenry. The race course passes back through the city center, by the harbor for the half marathon mark. The course hugs the harbor to the east, out to the famous Fells Point area and heads north again for the final 10 miles.
The course has some climbs as it passes out to the north east of the city around Lake Montebello Park. You can see where the old Memorial Stadium stood around mile 23. Finally the race comes down hill into the city for a fast and inspirational finish through Camden Yards.
“Having the start and finish at Camden Yards is excellent - you can use the facilities at the Ravens' stadium, and you finish on Eutaw Street, out in right field of Oriole Park.”
The ½ marathon runs the same course and has a delayed start so that the two races merge in the late miles. The ½ marathoners are wearing a special bib on the back and front This way you know that fresh-as-a daisy person that streaks by you has only run half as far. This is a feature of the race to make the finish exciting for everyone. All the runners get to go across the ‘main’ finish line and experience the big thrill.
It is also a great course for spectators. Given the loops through the a common center, spectators will have multiple opportunities to cheer on their loved ones. Speaking from experience – cheering loved ones can make a difference! After all, your marathon performance is highly dependent on your mental state and friendly faces help.
It’s all right there – convenient!
The central location of all the events has become a theme for convenience at the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival. Not only is it good for the spectators – a big crowd comes each year – but it’s convenient to get to and easy to park. Baltimore is served by 3 major airports, bus, train and light rail. There are plenty of nice (and reasonable) hotels in the area. It is way more convenient than some of the other big city races.
The Expo is also right there at the Ravens Stadium complex. This year the Expo is being sponsored by the Elite Sports Club Network – a network of health clubs that is going to add many more interactive events for the runners.
“I greatly enjoyed all the food - you don't have to worry about water, Gatorade, or food along this course! The gummy bear man is the greatest! Sooo good! “
Of course the famous Baltimore post-race party is right there as well with the free beer, bands and Maryland Crab Soup! It’s all right there. Check out the web site for details. I’m not going to waste your time enumerating the parties, clinics, entertainment and dinners that surround the event – let’s just leave it at “If you are looking for something – they’ve got at least one on the schedule.”
The target audience for the races is simply “everyone”. Walkers are welcome and the course is kept open for them. There were over 10,000 participants last year in the events. The maturity of the organization has found a way to make it all work and keep everyone from the winning elites to the walking finishers happy and supported.
Give Baltimore a try – It’s all grown up!
Take advantage of the seven year itch and try the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival this year. Be on the receiving end of the experience a mature organization presents. Cuddle up to the warmth that a city comfortable with an event exudes. Celebrate with volunteers who want to share the love with you.
"Basically, the race delivers what it promises: a certified course, accurate mile markers, safe traffic crossings, water/gatorade, a good party with two free beers, and a challenging course. Everything else is window dressing."
Consider the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival as a nice alternative to try in 2007 for your fall marathon. They have been practicing and preparing for six years. They want you to come and are ready for you!