August 27, 2015

What's Up Charm City?: Beginner's Guide to Baltimore City Running

I've been asked all the time about where are the best and safest places to run in Baltimore or what running groups are in the city. I figured since this blog often covers Baltimore running events and groups, I should make an unofficial mini guide with some resources for new runners in the city.  


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First of all you know I'm going to mention November Project Baltimore. It's not a running group or club but rather a free fitness movement. We do a lot of running, eat hills for breakfast, and chase PRs. It's some running, stairs, and body weight circuit exercises mixed in with sweaty hugs, high-fives, and laughter. If you don't know anything at all, November Project is an international free fitness workout group currently in 21 cities (and counting!).   


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november-project-baltimore-workout1NP-Baltimore meets at 6:30 AM on Wednesdays at Rash Field (there's a 5:30 AM group too!) and 6:30 AM on Fridays at Patterson Park for a hill running workout. It is weatherproof and goes on sun, rain, or snow! 

Check NP-Baltimore out on Facebook for updates and fun news. 




Running Clubs

Baltimore Road Runner's Club (BRRC) is an running club for both competitive and recreational runners that includes a paid annual membership and is sanctioned by the Road Runners Club of America.  Membership includes dirt cheap races, training programs, social outings, and volunteer opportunities. They have many events on road, track, or trails so there is something for everyone.

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Me running the 2015 Prettyboy Trail Race held by BRRC

Baltimore City Pacemakers are a group that rotates Saturday long runs through the Baltimore area as well as Wednesday morning workouts at the Gilman Track. 

List of Running Clubs (some I mentioned and some others) from Falls Road Running

Running Group Meetups

Federal Hill Runners is a free group that meets Monday nights at 6:30 PM in front of Federal Hill Fitness. 

Charm City Run-Baltimore holds a free fun run every Thursday night at 6:30 PM. It's a great run for the 8-11 minute crowd and sometimes features special events and wear test opportunities from shoe companies. You can also head right across the street to World of Beer right across the street for a free beer!

Shack Track and Field is a free run hosted the second Tuesday of every month at 7 PM starting at Charm City Run-Baltimore ending at the Shake Shack on Pratt St. The runs are posted as events on the Facebook page for each city. After the run you get a free beverage of your choice-I usually go for a milkshake!  


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Hopkins Marathon Team offers free group training runs targeting both Fall half and full marathons. 

Running Routes

This list of places to run in Baltimore from Charm City Run is a great guide to places to run in Baltimore and Maryland and includes some of my favorites. There are so many places to run so I've included my personal most common routes and favorites.  

My main running route is running along the Inner Harbor. If you hug the water you can run all the way from Canton through Fells Point to Locust Point and even make it to Fort McHenry and run that loop. There are usually lots of people walking or running so it's a pretty safe route.  


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I feel so lucky to run with this view almost everyday. 

Another great route is around Patterson Park, which is where November Project does its weekly hill workout.  It's a a nice loop which allows you to run a variety of distances.

Loch Raven Reservoir is a nice weekend route I ran a few times with the Charm City Run marathon training group. Part of it is closed to pedestrians on the weekends so it's a great place to get a long training run in on paved and off-road trails.   

The NCR Trail is a popular route for runners and cyclists alike which extends up to the MD-PA line.  

You can run all the way up Charles Street from the downtown to the county. A nice route is to take either Charles Street or Saint Paul Street up to Johns Hopkins University-Homewood area. You can run further and link up with the Robert E. Lee Park, around Roland Park, head towards Druid Hill Lake, or take 33rd street up to Lake Montebello.  

These are just some of my favorite and most common running routes but of course there are a ton of places to run! Another fun thing you can do is go on Strava or Map My Run and see what routes people have created and where most people run!

Running Resources

Charm City Run-Baltimore is my personal go-to running store, but they have locations all throughout the state.  They are the sponsor of many races, can help you get fitted for shoes, and run great training groups for anything from a 5K to an ultra-marathon. 

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Falls Road Running is another local running store in the northern part of the city that holds fun annual races such as the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler and Dreaded Druid Hills race as well as other events and running teams.   

Team That's What She Said is a great local running blog that also is a training group. Their blog offers great race recaps and Baltimore running community updates.   

Upcoming Races in Maryland from RunningintheUSA.com

Resources from Federal Hill Runners group


*Always run at your own risk. While most areas of Baltimore are safe for running, be smart and run with a group or friends, especially in an area you are unfamiliar with. If running alone I wear my Road ID, sometimes carry my cellphone, let someone know where I'm going, and even have a mini pepper spray wristband to wear.Baltimore is a wonderful city-just remember to be aware of your surroundings and be smart!

14 comments:

  1. Wow, really comprehensive list! I have got to get up to Baltimore for one of the races one day.

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    1. Thanks so much! There are so many great races in Baltimore-you could totally make an afternoon of it!

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  2. I really want to explore Loch Raven. Any suggestions for where to park/start your run up there?

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    1. When I ran with CCR they always had us park at the corner of Morgan Mill Road and Loch Raven Drive and just park along the road sides. That part of the trail/road is closed to traffic on the weekends!

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  3. I love how active Baltimore is! I wish there were more running groups/NP in my area.

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    1. I'm really lucky to have so many options of places and people to run with it!

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  4. Great post. Strava (as you pointed out) is useful resource. For visual folks, the running heat map shows where all the running hot spots are pretty clearly: http://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#13/-76.61918/39.29231/blue/run

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    1. Thanks! Strava has so many tools I haven't even utilized yet!

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  5. Wow! Looks like Baltimore has some great tools to get involved!

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    1. Definitely lots of fun ways to get involved with running!

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  6. Baltimore is such an active city! Once I graduate from college, one of the number one things I want in a city is for it to be active. Running groups, NOVEMBER PROJECT (!!), and just people active on a daily basis.

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    1. I'm sure you'll be able to! Living in an active city is awesome-there is always something going on.

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  7. I'm so glad I found this! I can't wait for long runs around Fort McHenry!

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