So I know I already told you guys all about how the marathon experience went for me on Tuesday, but I also like doing a little review of races I participate in. One of the prominent themes of this blog is being on a tight budget, and registering for races gets really expensive. You want to make sure that the races you participate in are worth it! For reference, I have run one other Rock’n’Roll event (I ran the Inaugural Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon in November 2011). Here is a little re-cap of my pros and cons.
Got the picture HERE
- RNR races are HUGE and they adhere to a strict wave start. I personally like big races because the environment really fuels me. What I don’t like is crowds so overwhelming I can’t run my race. RNR assigns each runner a corral (this weekend there were I believe 35 corrals… I was assigned corral 16). They release each corral individually and wait a couple minutes between. I love this about their races. The field feels energetic but not hectic… perfection.
The bands… duh! I usually run with an iPod because I like some distraction noise in my ears. I know there is a lot of research that says you shouldn’t run with music, but I hate hearing myself breathe, it just drives me nuts! I did not use an iPod during this race and I didn’t feel like I needed it at all.
- The Expo totally rocks. RNR typically does a two day expo which is perfect and they are absolutely massive. They have a whole section of “official” RNR merchandise and then a general area of all other vendors. If I haven’t made it abundantly clear… I LOVE SHOPPING. From this expo I walked away with (in addition to my official race Brooks technical tee) a RNR Nashville Country Music Marathon technical shirt (don’t judge me I really wanted something that said 26.2 on it… I earned it), a picture frame, new headbands from Hippie Runner (my absolute favorite), and another geeky 26.2 tshirt from Run Girl Run. Also got a bunch of free stuff… score!
- Course Support is ample. This can be really tough when there are 35,000 people participating in an event so I give them a lot of credit here and you have to excuse the occasional water table that doesn’t have cups ready. The only times that happened were tables at the front of a stop and there were always plenty of ready cups waiting and tables slightly further down the line. There were ample water / gatorade stops, which was completely necessary with the heat. At a few water stops, volunteers were running hoses to let runners run through the mist and cool down… amazing. They also had tons of medical support handing on vaseline, salt, etc. I didn’t end up ever needing to use it but it definitely made me feel better to know it was there. My only con is that I’m not personally a huge fan of lemon-lime gatorade, but I won’t fault them for that 😉
- The residents of the city make the race. People get SO into these races and there’s nothing better than that!
- The races are a little pricey. I would do more Rock’n’Roll events if they were less expensive but I also completely understand that all of the amenities they provide come at a price. I end up having to pick one or two events in the year. They are really really excellent events, but if you have to economize you might pick a smaller, local race that will be less expensive.
- The Country Music Marathon might not be the perfect choice for a first time marathoner. That being said, I have no regrets about my experience. If you are considering a first time marathon, I might suggest looking for a course that is a little bit flatter and takes place when you have less chance for high temperatures.