Even if you’re not lacing up for this year’s Baltimore Running Festival, the 22nd annual marathon’s 26.2-mile footprint throughout the city could create an obstacle course for residents this weekend.
The foot races scheduled for Saturday will wind through the Inner Harbor’s waterfront area and as far north as Druid Hill Park and Lake Montebello. The event is expected to attract even more people than last year. The Baltimore City Department of Transportation estimates more than 13,000 runners will hit the pavement on Saturday, up from more than 11,000 people in 2022.
From race times to road closures, here’s what you need to know to plan around Baltimore’s popular foot race.
When does the Baltimore Running Festival begin?
The Baltimore Running Festival takes place on Saturday and is composed of several races spanning various distances. The 5K race begins first at 7:30 a.m., followed by the marathon and 10K at 8 a.m. The half-marathon begins later in the morning at 9:45 a.m.
All courses are scheduled to close by 3 p.m.
Sure, the 7.5-hour race schedules don’t sound that long. However, be warned, road closures will begin as early as Thursday morning. More on that further down.
Where can I find the race routes?
The four race routes begin in different places and overlap in some spots. The 5K race begins at McKeldin Square near Light and Pratt streets while the marathon and 10K begin in front of the Brooks Robinson statue at Camden and Paca streets. The half-marathon begins later at Pratt and Calvert streets.
To help residents and visitors plan their commutes on race day, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation has created an interactive map. This map shows how all city neighborhoods will be affected by the races throughout the day.
What’s the best way to get around on race day?
Residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to use public transportation during this event. Notably, the Metro Subway operates below street level, meaning it will not be affected by the races and road closures.
However, the Charm City Circulator will not operate during the Baltimore Running Festival, ceasing operations Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Service will resume on race day from 4 p.m. until midnight.
A word of warning to motorists: Travel to and from the interior of the race borders will be very difficult on Saturday and will almost certainly involve significant delays. City officials say traffic stops will be implemented for the safety of race participants.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and allow additional travel time. Motorists should use alternate routes including roadways north of 33rd Street, south of McComas Street, west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and east of Highland Avenue. Don’t forget to bookmark this interactive map of all road closures if you do ending up driving on Saturday.
Transportation officials warn additional road closures, lane closures and other restrictions may be implemented throughout the day if needed.
Some race watchers may wish to use alternative forms of transportation, such as bikes or dockless vehicles. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the local rules and restrictions before you ride.
When will roads start closing?
City officials will start setting up several days ahead of the Baltimore Running Festival, with roads closing as early as Thursday morning and reopening as late as 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The left southbound lane of Light Street between Pratt and Conway will close at 10 a.m. Thursday. Pratt Street between Charles and Light streets will fully close by 9 p.m. Friday and remain closed until the event clears late Saturday afternoon.
Significant portions of roadways used for running routes — Russell, Camden, Eutaw, Paca streets and Key Highway — will close around 6 a.m. Saturday.
More closures will begin at 7 a.m. for portions of Lee, Charles, McCulloh, Russell, Howard, 28th, Calvert and Pratt streets as well as Beechwood, Mansion House and East drives within Druid Hill Park. Certain parts of Wyman Park Drive and Hamburg Street Bridge will also close beginning at 7 a.m.
Around 7:30 a.m., closures will impact portions of Druid Park Lake Drive, Lakeview Avenue, Mt. Royal Terrace, North Avenue (eastbound), Charles Street, Lafayette Avenue and southbound lanes of St. Paul and Light streets as well as Lombard Street.
By 8 a.m., city residents and visitors can expect closures along portions of Key Highway Extension, Light Street, President Street (southbound), Lancaster Street, Central Avenue as well as Point, Caroline, Aliceanna, Boston, O’Donnell streets, Lakewood and Linwood avenues, and southbound exits along the Jones Falls Expressway.
Madison, Washington and 33rd streets, Harford and Hillen roads and St. Lo Drive will close in some areas around 8:30 a.m. Whitman and Curran drives at Lake Montebello will also close around the same time.
The final batch of road closures will come at 9 a.m. for portions of Baltimore, 29th and Pratt streets as well as Patterson Park Avenue, Eastern Avenue, Guilford Avenue and Maryland Avenue, Cathedral Street, North Liberty Street and Hopkins Place.
A full list of all traffic modifications is posted on the Department of Transportation website.
What about parking?
Parking restrictions are just as involved as road closures. City officials will begin posting no parking event signs around 10 p.m. Friday and will remain in place through 6 p.m. Saturday. Vehicles parked in violation will be ticketed and towed.
Motorists with questions concerning the location of their vehicles should call 311. A list of parking restrictions is also posted on the Department of Transportation website.