Baltimore Running Festival: “City Tradition Unlike Any Other”

Baltimore’s Largest Running Event Has Raised More than $14 Million for charity since 2001

BALTIMORE, MD —  Tens of thousands of people are expected in downtown Baltimore on Saturday for the Baltimore Running Festival. The festival, entering its 19th year, has become part of the sports fabric of the city, woven into Baltimore’s most storied sports traditions. However, the first running of the Baltimore Marathon came at an uncertain time for both the city and the country, held just one month following the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

“It was a challenging period of uncertainty for our city and country as people were unsure what to do,” said Dave Gell, Director of Communications for Corrigan Sports Enterprises. “That first edition eventually launched us down a road of tremendous local pride, and we’ve been able to build on that momentum every year.”

With up to 20,000 runners expected from across the United States, and 17 foreign countries, the event has grown into something much larger than a day of racing. “We host dozens of events throughout the year across the country, and the Baltimore Running Festival is our biggest event in terms of participants, scope and economic impact. This event has evolved into a city tradition unlike any other as we approach our 20th anniversary next year, and we’re thrilled to write the next chapter,” Gell added.

According to statistics provided by Corrigan Sports Enterprises, the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University reported that the Baltimore Running Festival generates an estimated annual economic impact of nearly $40 million dollars. Gell says that over the course of the entire weekend, past festivals have raised more than $1 million dollars annually for local charities, totaling more than $14 million dollars in charitable donations raised for various causes since 2001. 

On the Baltimore Running Festival website, there is an entire section called “Run for a Cause”. There, you can find a list of charitable organizations participating in the event this year, which includes the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and many more. “In addition to being the biggest day on the state’s and city’s running calendar, the Baltimore Running Festival changes lives through its charitable impact,” Gell said. 

As far as changing lives, Corrigan Sports has launched a series of videos as part of their #ThisIsMySole digital and social media campaign, sharing inspirational stories from past and current participants. One video, titled “Hudson the Heart Warrior” tells the story of Kayleigh Koehler, whose son, Hudson, had heart surgery at 3-months-old. Kayleigh talks about Hudson’s health challenges and shares why she is running in the 5K, for the second year in a row. Another video features 93-year-old Bob Gralley, who will be the oldest participant in the Baltimore Running Festival, running in the half marathon with his two sons and his granddaughter.

“The #ThisIsMySole campaign was created to help market the event via a runner’s first-hand perspective. Every runner has a story, and we wanted to share their ‘why,’” said Gell. “The running community is very tightly knit and participants draw inspirations from their fellow runners. At the end of the day, these inspirational stories and learning about how the Baltimore Running Festival impacts lives are what make this day unique for Charm City.” 

The Baltimore Running Festival truly has something for everyone, consisting of four separate races on Saturday: the Baltimore Marathon, the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Half-Marathon, Team Relay, and the Belcara 5K. For the overly enthusiastic runners, there is the BaltiMORON-a-thon, where participants have the opportunity to tackle the 5K and Half-Marathon on the same day. Runners who already participated in the half-marathon in the Frederick Running Festival and are competing in the half-marathon this weekend have a chance to earn the Maryland Double medal. For the truly dedicated runners, who raced in the Frederick Running Festival, Baltimore 10-Miler, and this weekend’s Baltimore Running Festival, they have the opportunity to take home the exclusive award for completing the King Crab Challenge. 

If long distance running isn’t your thing, but you still want to take part in the festivities, the Baltimore Running Festival kicks off with the .05K Presented by 98Rock on Thursday evening at Horseshoe Casino. Runners will take on a tolerable 162 feet course, with prizes given out for the best race costumes. Proceeds from the event will benefit the One Love Foundation

The Baltimore Running Festival kicks off with the Health and Fitness Expo on Thursday and Friday inside the Baltimore Convention Center. Free parking will be available in Lots F and G at M&T Bank Stadium, with courtesy shuttles running between 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and 11:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the Celebration Village will open with the Finish Line Party at the Inner Harbor and is free and open to the public. There will also be entertainment on the course with bands scheduled to perform at various locations around the city. 

“Putting on an event of this magnitude, that by definition covers 26.2 miles for only one of its race distances is never easy. There’s no substitute for the cumulative experience of our professional event management staff and our preparation,” said Gell. “We have a tremendous support squad of city services personnel to rely on as well, so we have a lot of resources and experiences to overcome any challenges that are thrown our way.”

“Baltimore is proud to be home to the annual Baltimore Running Festival. The streets of Baltimore come alive with over 16,000 runners from all over the world and the energy is palpable,” said Christina Ghani Smith, National Sales and Sports Manager for Visit Baltimore, adding, “There is no other event like it!”

“The Baltimore Running Festival serves as an opportunity to bridge the world of sports and health and wellness through the running community, sharing their passion and excitement with local residents and neighborhoods around the City of Baltimore,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of the Maryland Sports Commission. “When you start to look at the impact that the festival has on Baltimore, and how much money has been raised for local organizations and charities, you really have to commend the efforts of everyone who plays a role in executing this event, year in and year out,” Hasseltine added.

Gell says the Baltimore Running Festival has a tremendous reputation in the national running community. A big part of that popularity, Gell says, is the because of the involvement of city residents, “The civic pride on display throughout every neighborhood as residents cheer on runners is unlike any other Baltimore sporting experience.”

(Photo Credits: Corrigan Sports Enterprises & Baltimore Running Festival Facebook)


2019 Baltimore Running Festival:

What: Baltimore Marathon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Half-Marathon, Team Relay, Belcara Health 5K, Health and Wellness Expo

When: Thursday October 17 (Health and Wellness Expo) – Saturday October 19 (Races)

Where: Marathon, Team Relay: S. Paca & Camden Streets

5K, Half-Marathon: Light Street (Inner Harbor, near USS Constellation)

Health and Wellness Expo: Baltimore Convention Center

More information:

About Corrigan Sports Enterprises:

Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE) was established in 1991 with the goal of creating, managing and implementing sports and event marketing opportunities for the corporate community. In that time, CSE has grown into one of the strongest marketing organizations in the area. The addition of the Oakland (Ca.) Running Festival and the partnership with the IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association) not only enhanced CSE’s already impressive resume but has expanded CSE nationwide. These new events are added to the established properties owned by Corrigan Sports including the Baltimore Marathon & Running Festival,  the Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield Frederick Running Festival, the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic, STX Paradise Shootout, Pro Beach East Volleyball Series, the Baltimore Ten-Miler, the Baltimore Bike Jam, to name a few. 

About Maryland Sports: 

The mission of Maryland’s Sports Commission is to enhance Maryland’s economy, image and quality of life through the attraction, promotion, retention and development of regional, national and international sporting events.

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