This year brought me back to Annapolis for the 4th time running in the Annapolis Running Classic. This was also my second year of being part of the A-Team, which is a group of ambassadors for the race. This race was a game time decision for me being that it was only a week after the Richmond Marathon but the amazing weather forecast and knowing my sister was running made it hard to pass up, even if it did require a 4:00 am wake up call.
Yes waking up at 4:00 am to drive 2 hours to go run a race seemed kind of silly but knowing how great the race already was made it a pretty easy decision plus the weather… every year I had run this race it has been cold and windy but with a forecast of upper 50’s-60, sunshine and no wind made me know I would regret not running it!
The drive in was easy and only a little congested right outside of the Navy Stadium where they have plenty of race day parking. I arrived in Annapolis around 6:15 for the 7:00 am start. I was able to quickly use the bathroom and hang out in the heated tent until my sister and Teen arrived. Shortly after meeting with them we headed over to the start line to start the race!
The first 5 miles of the race are my favorite. The race takes you by the Capital Building and down the cobblestone roads near the docks in Downtown Annapolis. The sun is always rising right as we run these parts of the race and it just breath taking. Courtney and I stopped at the mile 4 water stop to take off our long sleeve tops and snap this picture on the dock. As usual the picture does it no justice- it was a beautiful morning!
The bridge brings the first real test of this half marathon. The incline of this bridge is no joke but the views make up for the struggle it brings most runners. The only other happy about the bridge, besides the views is that you get an equal part down hill. For me downhills hurt my knees so it does not make it “easier” but more enjoyable then the uphills.
After you cross the bridge you run more hills. This part of the race is really the hardest each year for me. It is around this time I question why I continue to run this race because dang-it is hard! Just when I swear off the race and say I will never do it again unless I run the less hilly 10k, you come back to the bridge and you get the most beautiful view ever of the Naval Academy with the Capital building in the background- it is then that I realize I can push out 2 more miles and will probably find myself in the same situation next year.
Once you make it back over the bridge the race is just about done. You do have to run around the Navy Stadium parking lot which is annoying but at least it is flat (once you get in the parking lot anyway). As you cross the finish line you are promptly handed a beautiful medal and a bottle of water and you can head over to the finisher’s area for the post race party and premium.
We met up with Teen after Courtney and I finished and we went over to claim our premium. As we walked over we saw a VERY long line which ended up being for Oysters- one of the many post race perks of this race. The line was WAY to long for us so we headed straight over to grab our premiums-which this year was a really nice hoody! I was very excited for the new premium which came in white and grey. This area was super crazy and kind of confusing but we all three got our premiums moved on. Courtney and Teen went in to enjoy some of the other post race festivities and I jumped back in the car to head straight to the boardwalk. With the temps now soaring to the 70’s I knew I was not going to miss a family fun day on the boardwalk!
Being the 4th year I have run this race and half marathon #19, I realized this is definitely one of the harder halves I have run, along with Baltimore. Living in a super flat area makes these hilly runs hard and makes the finish line even sweeter sometimes. Each year the scenic views, awesome premium and fun after party keeps bringing me back!
Have you ever gotten up extremely early to run a race? Did you run in the Annapolis Running Classic this year? Which has been your favorite race premium they have given out?