The male runner who won the 2010 Baltimore Running Festival Marathon on October 16, 2010 completed the course in 2:13:11. The female winner finished in 2:32:17. The Half Marathon results were as follows: Male 1:14:51; Female 1:27:03.
I was not one of those runners. But I did finish the half-marathon and that is the biggest fitness accomplishment so far in my 51-year old life. It was an extremely exciting day and a very well organized event.
So how did I end up in this race? Believe it or not, my dentist signed me up. He is an avid half-marathoner as well as a friend and he decided that his wife and I should train for the race together. So far so good.
Being a fitness instructor and an active participant in outdoor sports, I am pretty fit, however, I have a chronic back problem that has caused me to change my lifestyle. I found out, after beginning to train for the half- marathon, that I am no longer able to run distances (or run at all for that matter). At first, I was depressed and gave up on the idea of the race but then realized that I could walk the 13.1 miles under the 5 ½ hour time limit without too much angst. Luckily my training partner said she would walk as well. We had fun training over the last eight months and I knew I could complete the race in under four hours without an issue.
Race day was gorgeous. Perfect weather and what a crowd. There were about 15,000 racers in the Marathon, Half, and 5k races plus the relay teams and the wheelchair race. What a spectacle. I arrived Friday night with my college friend who was running the 5k and his partner who is a bike racer (my 17 year old twin boys are bike racers as well). We got to the race in time to see the Marathoners start. There was lots of noise, cheering, confetti and about 3400 competitors. What a sight. I have been to a lot of bike races over the years but this was a completely different ball o’wax.
My race was great. There were so many supportive people along the route – neighborhoods came out to cheer and everyone was very positive even though we were near the back of the pack. Of course, five minutes of our time was taken up waiting for a port-a-john after a few miles but that’s just a fact of life. Some people were giving out candy (the candy corn was the best) along the route and it seemed to me that the timing of the feed zones was perfect.
The course was basically a walking tour of Baltimore and a 1.6 mile stretch was around Lake Montebello which was gorgeous. The winds were fairly high on Saturday so sometimes we had to bend from the waist to get through the blast. But with the sun shining and the sky a perfect blue, we had very little to complain about.
There were lots of characters running the race including a guy dressed in a green skin suit from top to bottom, a man in a full kilt, a 10-time marathoner in a tux with tails, women in tutus, and even Elvis.
Around the 11 mile mark I was about cooked and wanted the race to be over already. I am a glass half-empty person but luckily my friend and training partner is a glass half-full person so she got me through the last couple of miles. The bottoms of my feet hurt, my back hurt (we did run a little bit throughout the race which was not a good thing for me) and as we got closer to the finish line I really felt nauseous. But we crossed holding hands and beaming ear to ear. My husband and one of my sons were waiting for us at the finish along with some friends and after a few minutes I felt fine and ready to celebrate.
My time you ask? Even though it is not important at all (yeah, right) I finished in 3:16:34, 7592nd overall, 4375th in the female cat, and 188th in my age range (50-54). Not bad at all and I feel very good about myself!
Judy Brookes, Cabin John MD