So, late last year I saw something on Facebook about an inaugural 10K across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I have traveled that bridge many times and thought it would be a hoot so I signed up – and convinced one of my adventurous “not a runner (but secretly am)” friends to join me. And promptly forgot about it because it was over a year away!
Then the emails started rolling in. Boy, did they. Because it was the inaugural race and they were expecting 20,000 runners AND they were shutting down half of a major artery to the Eastern Shore, the race organizers were trying to be as careful and cautious with the planning as they could. The sent out more email blast than any other race I have ever done. A few times I thought I had my dates wrong because they were talking about the race-day details in mid-October! They even brought in Dave McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, to direct this race!
The onslaught of emails was a bit much but, apparently, needed as
everyone many individuals started panicking about parking and basically broke the race’s Facebook page… I, however, had purchased a parking pass ages ago and knew to pick it up when we got the packets and managed to stay sane. Sometimes being able to read and follow directions helps! Due to weekend conflicts, I asked my husband to pick up our packets for us. He was there right when it opened at noon on Friday and was in and out very quickly. He did not look around the expo very much so I have no insight there.
My friend and I were inexplicably placed in two different waves, even though we gave the same finishing time, so we decided to drop back to the later wave since it is a bit of a hike to Annapolis and a little more sleep is always good. We met up at 6:15 and hit the road. We decided to park at the second largest lot at Anne Arundel Community College. It was a good call that we chose AACC over the Army-Navy Stadium. I think things were more congested there. As it was, we pulled right in, quickly found a spot, donned our shark hats, and immediately boarded a waiting bus.
We were shocked by how easy the parking/shuttle was! The bus took us the 15 minutes to the starting area and we were dropped off in front of a huge group of portajohns. No lines! We quickly stopped (there were some short lines when we exited due to more buses arriving) and then made our way to the water. There was a photo op with the race sign and the bridge in the background but the morning sun was right behind us. I hope the professional photographer had better luck than the guy who took pictures with my phone!
We then decided to wander to the start, even though it was only 8:10 and we weren’t due to start until 8:30. The group moved up a bit and the next thing we knew we were going over the starting line! Whoops! That is the first time I have “accidentally” run a race!
There was a little 3/4 mile loop and then we were on the bridge and heading into our 2 mile hill. Honestly, it wasn’t that horrible, but I was glad to hit the top! We paused at the top to try to take a selfie but my camera crapped out 😦 We cruised at the top for a bit (and I swear mile 3 was long) and then started the slow descent to shore. There was one water stop with huge cisterns but it was a cupless race so I think a lot of people still had plenty and not many stopped. There were also portajohns and I thought about stopping, just for the novelty 😉
We hit land right before mile 5 and then ran on a side access road for a bit. It was pretty beat up in spots and my broken toe was not happy with that part – I apologize to my fellow races for dropping the F bomb 😦 We then ran across an overpass over Rt. 301 and we were done! I was dragging a bit by the end and didn’t really believe the support crew when they said the finish was “just around the corner” but, lo and behold, it was! And I was very happy to see it!
The finish was super well organized! We received our medals and then water and a space blanket before heading to the finisher area. They had bananas and bags of snacks that included Snyder’s pretzels, a bagel, and a Nature Valley granola bar. The finisher’s village had a ton of food and beverage stands – including hot coffee! – and they also had a live band playing and a “finisher’s” gear store. The line in the store was long and the merchandise didn’t really catch our eyes so we decided to head for the shuttle bus. We were expecting a long line but we walked right onto the bus and away we went! It took a while to cross back over the bridge due to one side being closed but it was fun to say “hey, we just ran this!”
Parking was super easy and only cost $10
The shuttles were numerous and clearly marked
Very organized finish
Cute shirts that run true to size
A TON of safety personnel on the course
The view was spectacular!
No sharks! 🙂
Areas for Improvement
It would have been nice if there had been some music on the course. If I had been running by myself, it would have been pretty dire.
I hope they consider a gear drop and/or allow for CamelBaks/backpacks next year. At lot of people bought shirts at the finish so they would have something dry to put on. The space blanket was nice but it would have been better if I could have just stuffed a shirt into my CamelBak and, bonus, not have to carry a handheld bottle for 6 miles.
Things I Did Wrong
I overdressed. I wore a long sleeve shirt and capris and I was regretting the shirt before mile 1.
I forgot my sunglasses and didn’t wear a visor. Duh! I was running east. In the morning. Over water. I’m very lucky I didn’t get a headache.
I forgot to take my electrolyte tablets and felt pretty pukey by mile 5. It was surprisingly warm.
I stopped to take a failed selfie and missed breaking an hour by 17 seconds. Gah!
So much fun! I would definitely do it again next year, if I can score a spot.
[Holy crow! I just looked at my detailed results and we passed 1017 runners and were only passed by 16! I’m in the top 25% for my age and 30% overall!!]