The Baltimore Running Festival is perhaps the most spectator-friendly venue of all major marathons for casual walkers in the United States.
Here is how I do it by foot:
A) The start – The starting line is very crowded, and very difficult to pick out a face in the crowd. In order to allow the runners to get some separation, I walk up Paca Street to Fayette. This allows the runners to get some separation. I recommend standing on the east side of Paca and planning for your runner to run on the right hand side of the crowd. This will increase your chances of spotting them.
B) The coffee – There are several restaurants within a one block area at Eutaw and Fayette. After the marathon crowd passes I go over and grab a cup of coffee.
C) The 5K – Then it is back to Paca Street. The 5K starts 30 minutes BEFORE the marathon and runs up Paca Street as well. The leaders will be flying. After watching the parade of runners going north, you can then walk back over to Eutaw Street just in time to catch the leaders heading south. Cross over to the east side of the street as soon as possible, because in a very few minutes you will want to continue heading east over to St. Paul Street. It is about a five block walk.
D) The marathon again! – As you arrive at St Paul Street the marathoners will be heading south back to the Inner Harbor. You can walk south toward the Inner Harbor while looking for your runner. Again, try to cross over to the east side of the street.
E) The marathon half-way point and Half-marathon start: By this time, regular runners are still heading down Light Street while the elite runners have completed the five mile tour of Federal Hill, UnderArmour HQ in Locust Point, and Fort McHenry. If your runner has not passed you headed south yet, you can wait on the triangular traffic island at Light and Pratt Street. As soon as they pass, you can walk across the island to Calvert Street and watch the faster marathoners heading up to Pratt Street. One hour and forty-five minutes after the marathon has started, the half-marathon will start in waves. It will probably take fifteen minutes for the ten thousand half-marathoners to clear the start area. In the meantime, full marathoners are still running up the bike lane on Calvert Street.
F) The finish line: The finish line is essentially a continuation of Eutaw Street through Camden Yards into the parking area between the two stadiums. The marathon winners generally run between two hours and ten minutes and two hours and fifteen minutes. It is about a six block walk from Light and Pratt back to the finish. If you leave at ten o’clock you will probably arrive at the finish line in time to watch the winner break the tape. The women’s winner will probably finish about fifteen minutes later and then it will be a constant parade of runners for the next three hours.