OK, you started your post by warning that you may be hypercritical. That is an accurate statement. I read your whine festival about the Baltimore HM last year. And your lead off with 'No race day packet pick up."
And that would be different from most big races with an expo how? It's all about channeling you into the expo. But can you imagine 10000 people who couldn't be bothered to pick up their packet on Thurs/Friday crushing in on Saturday? Can you imagine the logistics of CSE having to transport 25000 race packets and shirts to various running stores around town for a week before the race? And what stores? Charm City? They wouldn't do it because CSE is a competitor. Falls Road? One store on a little road. Fleet Feet? Like they could handle it? Road Runner Sports? Or just make us all go to CSE HQ in Elkridge. That is the same problem as making us go to the expo.
The mass transit issue is equally silly. No one seems to have Mass Transit down for these things. There is a rush to use trains that even better systems like DC's Metro simply cannot handle and since Baltimore has one of the worst mass transit systems in the world .... that isn't CSE's fault.
The candy bars weren't opened. The fruit wasn't cut. Phillips was only handing out 1 oz samples (ok that was a little off-putting I admit, but I took as many as I wanted).
You had to walk a whole three-quarters of a mile to the Inner Harbor! Gasp! (Ichiro ran around home plate farther than that last night to avoid Wieters' tag in the first inning of last night's game and was still called safe!) I drove and I had to walk nearly a mile to Pickles Pub where the Full started. I considered it my warm up.
Your post made the Baltimore Running Festival sound like an unmitigated disaster on par with the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas or the (not actually in) DC Hot Chocolate (not quite) 15k. A double whammy of unmitigated disasters on the same day.
It was not.
I agree, I would rather see a split, simultaneous start. I don't like a 9:45 start. And if they did that, they could offer a choice of two half marathons ... one starting at Camden Yards and finishing at Harborplace; one starting at Harborplace and finishing at M&T Bank Stadium.
On balance, I thought it was well run. Of course it was my first major event. Second if I count the Columbia Celebration Triathlon ... which also had and expo only packet pick up. (And the the Fallston Duathlon also had a one day one location packet pickup.) I have a lot more experience in the last year and may find more things to pick at. But for me it's about the course ... challenging without being torture ... and the crowd support ... best of any race I have run except Rock 'n' Roll Savannah. (RnRAZ sucked in that category. Running through the city practically alone.)
Maybe I'll see you there. Anyplace/time you'd like to meet-up?
Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you will be doing the impossible -- St Francis of Assisi
Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin, Ireland, 8/5/2013 ie.competitor.com/dublin/