Runners stream down Light Street near the Pratt Street Pavilion and mile 9 in the 2012 Baltimore Running Festival.
Runners stream down Light Street near the Pratt Street Pavilion and mile 9 in the 2012 Baltimore Running Festival. (Kim Hairston / The Baltimore Sun)

When about 27,000 runners take over the streets Saturday for the 13th annual Baltimore Running Festival, they'll trust their training to get them through the day.

But just in case spectators, residents and other visitors to the city need a hand, here's a handful of things to keep in mind on race day.


When and where do the races begin?

The Baltimore Marathon and team relay begin at 8 a.m. near the intersection of South Paca Street and Camden Street, followed by the 5K at 8:15 a.m. At 9:45 a.m., the half-marathon begins near the corner of Conway Street and Light Street. If you're running, race officials recommend arriving 90 minutes prior to the start of your race.

Will there be road closures, and when will they begin and end?

Paca Street from Pratt to Lombard Streets will be closed from 5:30 a.m. until 9 a.m.; Russell Street from Lee to Pratt Streets will be closed 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Camden Street from Paca to Howard Streets will be closed 6:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; Russell Street at Hamburg Street will be closed 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Eutaw Street from Pratt to Camden Streets will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; Hamburg Street Bridge from Russell to Leadenhall Streets will be closed 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Key Highway from Cross to Light Streets will be closed 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and Light Street from Lombard Street to Key Highway will be closed 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Other streets are subject to parking restrictions and lane closures, and temporary traffic stops may occur to allow runners to pass.

Where can I park near the start or finish line?

Availability will be limited, but there will be free parking in several lots that surround M&T Bank Stadium, including Lots A, F, G, H, K, L, M, N, O, MM and NN. If you would rather park outside the city, light rail will run every 15 minutes coming south from Hunt Valley beginning at 6 a.m. and every 15 minutes coming north from Cromwell beginning at 5 a.m.

Where are the best places to see my friends and family who are running?

The start line will be crowded, but there's space further up Paca Street. Druid Hill Park offers some good spectating opportunities, and if you set up camp in the Inner Harbor — where the half-marathon begins and the marathon hits its halfway point — you can catch your runner and still make it over to the finish line in plenty of time. Spacious Patterson Park is another good viewing spot, near the intersection of Linwood and Eastern Avenues . You can see your favorite runner twice if you catch them going around Lake Montebello later in the race. If you want to see who wins the marathon, you better be at the finish line by 10 a.m.

What will the weather be like?

Early reports indicate the temperature will be the 60s with cloudy skies and light rain. To runners, that sounds almost too good to be true. Spectators may feel differently and should bring an umbrella. The race will be run rain or shine.