Another beautiful day for a race across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis, Maryland. Given the logistic issues from last year’s race, I was a little apprehensive on how things would go this year, but this is another race that I’m vested in, and look forward to for the next several years.
The Expo – The ATB10K Expo was held in the Navy-Marine Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland and that is an awesome place to see. The organizers changed the expo layout up a bit this year so you didn’t have to walk all the way through the expo to pick up your t-shirt. I liked that the expo store was right after the shirt pick-up. The expo is tiny in comparison to the bigger races, but still fun.
Parking – Last year, I paid for a parking in a lot that I was unable to park in, fortunately I was able to find street parking. They also broadcasted the bus issues over the speakers so we were able to hear all of the problems. This year I was a little nervous not having pre-purchased a parking pass, however, they changed the process so the passes were for designated lots…much more efficient – though nobody actually checked the parking passes when I pulled in.
Race Day – Last year, I thought I left home in plenty of time, but it didn’t turn out well because of traffic and the filled parking lot. This year, I left home super early, made it to the parking lot in plenty of time and was able to take a quick nap as I waited for closer to my boarding time to get on the shuttle. It was GREAT!
The RACE – This race is definitely unique. Given the location, there are absolutely NO spectators allowed at the start or on the bridge so the only spectators are at the end. They do have a few “spectators” on the bridge, mostly police officers monitoring the situation and a volunteer every so often. If you rely on the cheers from crowds to motivate you, this is not the race for you.
The starting area was crowded and not particularly organized. I was unable to get out of the swell of bodies so I ended up in a corral ahead of mine (8 instead of 9), but no one checked and the crush of bodies prevented me from moving aside, but I noticed there were several with later corral numbers in the earlier corral as well.
It’s a cup-less race so you have to bring your own drinking devices with you, but there are plenty of water spots to fill up. Also with 20,000 or so people, the race does get very walker-crowded near the end. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a run/walker as well, but I was trying to get a faster time to use for a Disney race so I had to do a little running outside the barricades once off the bridge.
The finish – Great crowds at the end. They changed the off-chute set up this year so they actually had an exit path. The only problem is – nothing to drink but water, no electrolytes. We were handed a Halloween orange-colored swag bag. The bag contained a small bag of pretzels, a small container of apple sauce, a coupon and a handy-wipe. I think some people received a packet of single service crystal light lemonade mix. I didn’t.
I was smarter this time, instead of taking the long way around through the festival or stopping to use the port-o’s, I got on the very short line to the bus to head back across the bridge to the parking lot. Just a quick note, I may have stepped on the return bus at 10:30, due to traffic the bus didn’t get back to the lot until almost 12.
Overall, it was a good race! Definitely on my plans for next year.