Closing the Door on 2017
As always we would like to thank everyone for their input during the survey process. We take your input very seriously and try to make our event a fantastic experience for all. For 17 years we have taken your thoughts and suggestions and made the necessary improvements. This year presented a new set of challenges with the finish line area being at the Inner Harbor. Spectacular yes; and a challenge for us, certainly. The good news is that we will be back at the Inner Harbor again next year and all of us will have a year under our belt in terms of how to best negotiate those challenges.
We have reviewed the survey results and recapped the day’s events and have come up with the following list of improvements that we are considering for 2018.
1) The Expo- Overall things went very well, however we did have some bad lines for the beer bracelets. We are looking into an entirely new process that will streamline this endeavor. Also, we are exploring ways to increase volunteer support, which can be difficult on the weekdays when our expo is held.
2) The Runner Only Compound – Obviously this was our first time utilizing McKeldin Square as our Runner Only Compound. No matter what venue we use, this area becomes very crowded at certain times during the day when the majority of runners are coming through. Our intent is to let our runners pass through this area and take as many refreshments as they can and then move on and enjoy the beautiful Inner Harbor area. One thing that surprised us was the fact that very few runners and spectators utilized the very nice green space on McKeldin Square that was outside the bike racked area. This area is available to you and we will look for ways to make it more accessible and inviting. Please remember that all finishers and returning relay runners can renter the Runner Only Compound, but have to enter through finish line side of Light and Pratt Streets. We do NOT want runners swimming upstream so to speak by entering from the Inner Harbor side.
3) The Celebration Village – Once again a brand-new area for all. Our vision was that runners would naturally spread themselves throughout the Inner Harbor area and celebrate with friends and family and for the most part, this was achieved. Rash Field was a vibrant area where we had all of our Charity Group tents and the Promenade and Westshore Park were lively all day as well. We will be making further adjustments to further encourage use of the entire space- some of which will occur naturally as people get more comfortable with the new location.
4) Alcohol Distribution – One challenge that we certainly recognize and will fix in 2018 is the beer and wine distribution area and process. It was mandated as part of our Inner Harbor permitting that we pour the canned beers into cups, which obviously slows the process. We will be working with the Baltimore Police Department and our beer sponsor to mutually agree on the best and quickest way to distribute the beer and where and how many distribution points we can have.
5) Bag Check Tent – Please recognize that there is simply not enough room to have Bag Check adjacent to the Runners Village, so in an attempt to spread the people out and make it accessible both in the morning before the race and again after crossing the finish line and allow our trucks to unload after shuttling the bags from the full-marathon start, we place it in this location within Celebration Village.
6) Relay Busses – One of the toughest tasks every year are the returning relay busses, despite our efforts to make this process fool proof for the drivers. We will continue to work with our bus company and demand that the drivers take our suggested routes back to the drop-off point which is Pratt Street and Howard right next to the convention center, 3 blocks from the finish and the runners village.
7) The Shoprite 5K – A brand new spectacular setting for the start and finish and beautiful flat course for sure. In 2018 look for wave starts, more signage and a clear corralling area with dividers and bike rack guiding runners to stage themselves straight up Calvert Street.
8) Some Other Important Items:
- More Porta Potties – Always a request and we will continue to up the ante here.
- Merge Point – We will continue to divide runners with bike rack all the way from Eastern Ave. to Baltimore St. We will also continue to remind runners at the end of that bike rack area to run 2 a breast at the most beyond that area.
- We will continue to work with our volunteer groups to make sure the water stops are properly staffed and consistent with their set up.
Once again, we thank you for your participation, support and feedback on the Baltimore Running Festival. We hope that we have shown you that your opinions and suggestions are a part of our yearly event improvement plan and that we are committed to creating a fun and friendly race for everyone that gets better each and every year. This year 94% of you who participated in the survey reported that you would recommend our event. We appreciate your vote of confidence.
We hope to see you again next year as we run the 18th Annual Baltimore Running Festival on October 20, 2018!