FYI – this recap will be a lot less bloody than the last one.
As I mentioned many times, I have never run a marathon, and I have no desire to run a marathon. Not an entire marathon – but I have always wanted to run a team relay marathon. And that is exactly what I did on Saturday at the Baltimore Running Festival.
There were twelve runners from my Galloway running group who signed up, four to a team. We registered as women’s teams, since we are all women, but at the last minute one woman dropped out, and a man took her place. We were hoping no one would notice, and it doesn’t seem as though anyone did, but I suppose if we had won the race, there might have been some complaining.
He makes a nice looking woman, doesn’t he?
The day started dark and early at 5:15am with a drive to the outskirts of Baltimore where we got onto a train which took us into the city. The race started at the M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens. It had been raining for three days prior to the race, and we were all crossing our fingers that the rain would stop. It seemed to work, because the rain held off, except for a couple of minutes of drizzle, for the entire race.
We wore tutus and visors with our team names, and Team CASA shirts, and colorful shoelaces.
I was running the third leg of the race, which meant I could walk to my exchange point. The runners doing legs 2 and 4 had to take buses to their exchange locations. The problem with a team marathon is that there is a lot of waiting around, especially if the team is slow, as ours are. The leg 2 runners had to be on the bus at 7:30, but didn’t start running until 9:15, and the leg 4 runners were on the bus at 8:30 and started running at noon.
I had some time to wander around and check out the festivities.
It was like a fair – pit beef, french fries, candy apples, funnel cakes and donuts.
There are two things we are proud of in Maryland – crabs and our flag. It is a cool flag.
I didn’t really understand this – the world’s largest bowl of applesauce. I like applesauce, but a huge bowl of it is kind of disgusting. This little stunt got them into the Guinness book of world records apparently. Congrats!
I liked this place – they were giving away samples of cereal.
Outside of Camden Yards.
I was able to watch the start of both the marathon and the 5K before I walked to my exchange point, where I waited for about 2 hours. I did get to see the wheelchair racers and the marathon runners at the front of the pack though. There were no elite runners in this race, since there is no prize money (which seems strange for a Boston qualifying race), but the first place runner sure looked elite to me. No one was even close to him.
I have to say that I was a little leery of standing at the starting line. I was all the way up at the railing, and there was a strong police presence, and lots of security people, but I know that anyone could have planted an explosive anywhere in the area and there would have been nothing anyone could have done about it. I can see how the backpacks at the Boston Marathon were ignored, because no one is looking for that, all of the attention is focused on the runners. I didn’t see any police milling around amongst the spectators, they were all in the road. Luckily, there were no problems.
Although I did hear that at about 3:00PM an ambulance accidently ran into and knocked down the finish line structure. I’m not sure what that was all about.
So after standing around for a few hours, I was so happy to finally start running my leg of the race. I started at about mile 12.75 and I was fresh as a daisy, while the marathoners were only about half done with the race. As I made my way to mile 19 I could see that the marathoners were really dragging. I could tell who the relay racers were, because we had the timing tags on velcro bands around our wrists, and a couple of us said that we felt like jerks running with the marathoners. The spectators were cheering for the relayers and marathoners equally and we relayers didn’t feel like we deserved any of their enthusiasm. When I mentioned to a spectator that I was only running 6.3 miles rather than 26.2, she told me that I was the smartest one there. Ha!
My team ended up running faster than we expected, and I showed up at my exchange point before our leg 4 runner was ready. She wasn’t standing in the designated place for the hand off, and I kind of wandered around until she saw me and called my name. She seemed really surprised to see me. That was kind of funny. In the end our total team time was 5:11:03, with a pace of 11:51. I was happy with my leg of the race, it was hilly, but I was so happy to be moving, and I loved the marathon atmosphere. Most of my leg of the race was in Baltimore neighborhoods and lots of people were out cheering and holding up signs.
It was one of the most fun experiences I have had, and I’d love to do a marathon this way again.
And I got the sticker.
My next race is Sunday – the Army 10 Miler. More race recaps to come.