Thursday, June 16, 2011

Running the Rock 'n Roll Marathon series?

Almost four years ago I ran the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. This national series of races is advertised as fun with lots of live music and great courses.  I have to admit I was severely disappointed with Virginia Beach. I'm still looking for a fall race, and I've now added Savannah and San Antonio to my list of potential races.  My experience in Virginia Beach, however, makes me not extremely eager to jump into this series again.

It was my third half, so I wasn't entirely a race novice.  However this remains my worst half marathon time by about 30 minutes.  First off the timing is brutal - Labor Day weekend in southern Virginia is hot and humid, and this day did not disappoint.  I was extremely disappointed with the course and found it to be tedious and boring. There were many points where there were absolutely zero spectators and it was almost silent. Not exactly what I expected from a "rock 'n roll" race.

The website says there is a new course this year, and it looks much more appealing. In 2007 the race did end on the boardwalk, but the finish was very crowded and unorganized. Other than the last few miles it was surprisingly sedate.

On the boardwalk at the end of the VA Beach Half

One of the biggest complaints I had with this race was that water and Gatorade was warm. Not just a little warm but quite hot from sitting in the sun. I imagine this is a hard thing to monitor, but I've never had this happen at another race. 

my sister and me following the race

I've had several friends run the Nashville Rock 'n Roll race with disappointing experiences as well.  This brings me back to my original quandary: are Savannah and San Antonio worth being on the list? If you've done a race in the Rock 'n Roll series I'd love to hear your feedback.

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