The Baltimore Road Runners Club's Layne Half-Marathon, until last year 9 3/4 loops around Lake Montebello, was changed into a 5K around the lake and two 5-mile loops through Herring Run Park for its last two runnings.
The club's intent was to make the Layne, now in its 19th year, a more interesting run.
Nevertheless, founder and sponsor Donn Layne says of the half-marathon: "It's the most boring race in the country. That's why it's so established."
BRRC president Willard Freeman may have been the lone dissenter when it came to changing the course. "I kind of liked the loop," Freeman said at Sunday's race, "but I know I was in the distinct minority."
Old course or new course didn't matter to James McCarthy, 31, a physician at the University of Maryland, whose work schedule doesn't allow him to run as much as he wold like.
"I try to get to as many as I can," said McCarthy, who finished in 22nd place in 1 hour, 23 minutes, 32 seconds. "My work commitment is such that I can't get to all of them, but I do get to about 20 a year."
McCarthy is from Melbourne, Australia, where he ran in the same club with Rob de Castella, former Commonwealth Games Marathon winner who ran a 2:07:51 at Boston in 1986.
"I used to do a bit of competitive running," McCarthy said. "It's [running is] a pretty big scene back at home, bigger than here."
Robert Yara and Stacey Nicholson won their divisions of the Layne Half-Marathon in 1:11:03 and 1:21:54.