News & Community

Running On Empty

Daniel Broh-Kahn, 10-time Baltimore Running Festival marathoner.

“The truth is, I really don’t like running. I just like the way I feel when I’m done.

I am 48 years old. I have been running, basically, since I met my
wife a little more than 25 years ago. She was a runner, and if I wanted
to keep up with her, I had to run.

I’ve been doing the Baltimore Running Festival every year for the
past 10 years—since it began. I was already running marathons, so I
said, ‘Here I am in Baltimore, might as well run the Baltimore marathon
as well.’

I’m supposed to run five days a week. I know what I’ve got to do and I have training regimens to do it; I just don’t do it.

I’m definitely more of a morning runner. I run on the NCR trail and I
also run around the Loch Raven Reservoir to get some hill action. To
me, the whole key to finishing 26.2 miles is you’ve got to run three
20-mile races before the marathon date. If you don’t run three 20s, then
you’re not going to be prepared.

The marathon is a fantastic tour of the city. The best way to see any
city is running through the streets: You see neighborhoods. You see
offices. You see where people shop. You see where people drink coffee.
You see parts of the city that you can’t see from driving through it.
The thing I enjoy the most is running through Fort McHenry. I would just
say that is truly inspiring.

I would not run these races if not for the citizens of Baltimore.
Baltimore’s residents have gone from ‘I hate those blasted runners for
shutting down the city streets’ to ‘This is an inconvenience’ to ‘Well,
here come those crazy runners again. . . . We might as well cheer them
on!’ Their support is great and much appreciated.

I think my best finishing time was 4:45. I follow a pacer for the
first half, and then I slack off. I try to do a reverse-split, which is
where you go faster the second half than the first, but I’ve never been
able to do that because I get tired. I always have a great half
marathon, and then at mile 13, I’m like, ‘Oh God, I’ve still got to run
another 13 miles.’

The key is to start in your appointed time. If you’re a 10-minute
mile person, don’t start with the three-hour marathoners, because what’s
going to happen is they’re going to pull away and then you’re going to
have 2,000 people trying to pass you.

I guess the craziest thing I’ve seen are lots of people going to the
bathroom in bushes. The worst thing I’ve seen is when the organizers ran
out of water a couple years ago because someone stole the water during
the race. Somebody had driven behind the delivery truck and stolen all
of the water, so the people who were running slow, when they got to the
water stop, there was no water, and that really pissed a lot of us off.

I hate going by relay stations because you’re chugging along, and
then these guys bolt out like it’s a horse race and shoot by you, and
it’s very discouraging.

The worst part is when people double back on you. So, if I’m coming
down mile nine and they’re going past [in the other direction] at mile
13, they’re four miles ahead of me. It’s like, ‘Oh, crap.’

When I’m running, I’m really just thinking about the finish, thinking
about getting it over with and done. Eye on the prize. I get the
adrenaline rush toward the end, when you come down Eutaw Street, through
Camden Yards. That’s pretty neat because you’re running along the
cobblestone, you can see the finish, everyone’s screaming and yelling
and cheering, and you’re almost done.

My first thought when I finish is, ‘Where’s the beer?’ I’ll tell you
why, because when I finish, the water’s been sitting out there for six
hours, the Gatorade’s been sitting out there for six hours, it’s a hot
day, and the only thing cold is the beer. The best beer I’ve ever had in
my life was after finishing a race.

The best feeling I’ve ever had, personally, in my life is the first
time I finished a marathon. There’s no feeling quite like that. I’ve
spent hundreds of hours preparing for this, and now I’m done. But the
flip side is that I’m exhausted. I go home and take a nap.

I get stiffer and stiffer after all the long runs. You get old, your
body starts to ache, but when you see 70- and 80-year-olds crossing the
finish line, I think, ‘Well if they can do it, I can do it.’”