Across the Bay Bridge 10K, November 8, 2015 was a bucket list race for me. According to the website over 20,000 runners/walkers were registered for the 2nd annual run/walk across the bridge. Here is this grandma’s review:
Pre-race communication – A ton. The organizers made sure they kept us up-to-date with reminders and checklists. The pre-race communication was second-to-none.
Packet Pick-up: Extremely well-organized. The only issue is that you needed to know your bib number to get your packet. They did, however, have computer terminals set up so if you couldn’t use a cell phone to access the website, there were resources to help out.
On-course: The views from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge were majestic! It was a gorgeous day, in fact, even though the weather was supposed to be super cold, it turned out to be a gorgeous day for a run.
Cup less race: This one was new to me. They did not hand out water cups, but provided a way for you to refill your handheld container. They appeared to be big barrels with spigots, but I didn’t use them and didn’t get a close look. This could go two ways. No trash, which is always environmentally sound, but if you were going for a PR and you stopped to fill your container, well….
The not quite so great:
The traffic logistics – Poor small, picturesque town of Annapolis. My wave was supposed to start at 9:20 with a recommendation to board the shuttle by 8:20. I decided to leave my house at 5:45 to drive the 60+ miles. I got to the exit for the stadium to park at 7:00, it then took an hour and 45 minutes to creep along the two miles to the stadium lot only to find the lot was full. There was so much traffic that the school shuttle busses were making a right hand turn from a lane to my left and cutting me off so they could get to their destination.
Parking: Parking for one of five lots was $10 pre-pay. There was no guarantee of a particular lot, just a spot in one of them. Signs should have been placed on the main road stating that the lot was full because that was the only reason we went down this particular road. The volunteers at the lot said that they could not help or direct us as to where to go find parking. I had spent so much time getting to this lot, it was past my suggested shuttle time. I thought the race app was supposed to give data on the status of the lots, but I could have been wrong and I didn’t have time to recalibrate my GPS to find another lot. Fortunately, I pulled off on a side street and was able to park. The sign said “no parking during stadium events”, but technically it wasn’t a stadium event.
The shuttle: Poor bus drivers. They had their walkie-talkies turned way up, I was in the back of the bus, but heard every bit of confusion they were going through. They were instructed not take directions from the lady in blue standing on the corner. What?
I made it to the start line two minutes before my wave started. YAY!!!! Success, but I didn’t have time to relax. It was go time!
The finish line: I made it! Yes…they even announced my name which was very cool. I was walking through the offshoot and noticed a little activity to my left, but I was busy wondering when I was going to get a medal. Fortunately I heard one runner ask her friend did she get her medal. I had to back track and the volunteers were trying to unpack more medals. Mine was handed to me in little ball. I didn’t really care because it was a nice medal and I was happy to have finished.
Next I noticed there was a long line, I figured it must be to get the “goody bag” or post-race snacks, but no one at the end of the line really knew what they were standing on line for. I by-passed the line and saw there were two more tables with no lines. The volunteers were yanking something out of the bag and throwing it in a box. It was moldy bagels and then they tossed the bags back on the table – – a granola bar and a small bag of pretzels. A little further on they were handing out water, which was quite refreshing.
There was a lot going on at the finish line, but I was tired and having read another review about making sure to stop at a porta-potty before getting on the bus, I waited on the 20 minute line. There was more mass confusion about where to line up to get back to parking, but I made it on a bus. Not sure where the bus was headed, the bus driver pulled into a gas station so we were joking that maybe he had to go, but it turns out he was just making a U-turn. After that it was smooth sailing.
So what does this mean?
So after reading this review, you may get the impression that I didn’t like the race, quite the contrary. When I first posted a comment on the race Facebook page I had said I would not sign up for this race again, but like my first half, after some considerable thought I think that I actually may just do this again. I truly believe the race organizers are committed to making the race even better next year, by working on the logistical issues of a race with a dramatically, increased number of participants. Reading the Facebook comments, it seems that runners in the early waves had a really great experience, organizers just need some work on the tail end.
As for me, I wasn’t beat by the bridge, I’m not going to be beat by a few logistical issues. Across the Bay 10K for 2016, may just be go.