The Annapolis Running Classic: A challenging and scenic course

Posted at 10:32 AM, Nov 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 10:32:19-05

As I circled the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, approaching the first mile marker of the Annapolis Half Marathon, I noticed how gorgeous the sunrise was.

It was like something out of a postcard—orange and yellow bursting over the horizon and above Maryland’s State House.

I would have stopped to take a picture, but I was on my way to a half-marathon PR and I didn’t want to stop!

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The Annapolis Running Classic was held Saturday morning in Annapolis, and featured a half-marathon and a 10K race. This year was my third time running the half, and my first year as a race ambassador, helping to promote the event on social media and through this blog. The Annapolis Running Classic was the first half-marathon I ever ran, so it was very special to me to be able to represent this wonderful race in Maryland’s capital city, where I live, play and train. And my co-blogger, Kate Mills, ran the 10K race with two of her friends and said she enjoyed the experience as well.

See also: Running my first 10K

This half-marathon is for runners who want a challenge. Several months ago, I wrote about running the Annapolis Ten Mile Run, and how hilly that is.

RELATED: The Annapolis Ten Mile Run: A Naptown tradition

The Annapolis Half is very similar—just 3.1 miles longer, and with more hills! Runners cross the Naval Academy Bridge twice, as they do in the A10, but then the climb continues into the neighborhoods above the Severn River, and never actually levels out that much after that.

The entire second half of the race is all up and down, and really, it feels like more up than down! At least I’ll be prepared for the Turkey Trot 5K I run every year in my hilly hometown in southwestern Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving.

However, I’ve said this before, but you can’t beat Annapolis for on-the-run scenery. As I was running over the Naval Academy Bridge for the second time, I looked out over the river and saw how pretty the autumn trees looked. It was a welcome distraction for my quads!

One of the Annapolis Running Classic’s trademarks is its after party. Most races just give runners light beer at the finish. Not the Annapolis Running Classic. Finishers are treated to an oyster feast and tunes played by the Timmie Metz Band. And, of course, there was beer….. lots of it.

I grabbed some oysters and a beer afterwards and hung out for a while to just relax after the race. I clocked 1:41:01 (because I couldn’t run two seconds faster to finish in the 1:40s, I guess?) which is a PR for me. I was thrilled and surprised by that because the course is so difficult. I guess all my running through Annapolis, especially over the Naval Academy Bridge, paid off.

That was my last big race of the year—which means it’s officially time for me to begin training for the Charlottesville Marathon in Charlottesville, Virginia, on April 1. (Even though I swore I’d never again train for another marathon over the winter.) Keep following this blog for more of my adventures in marathon training!

What’s your next race? 

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