Race Review: Rock’n’Roll Nashville Country Music Marathon

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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 😉
  5. The residents of the city make the race. People get SO into these races and there’s nothing better than that!
  1.  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.
  2. 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.
In synopsis… a Rock’n’Roll race is WELL worth the experience. They are all over the United States so if they come near your home town do not miss out. They are also in great cities for destination races. Where should I go next??


One response

  1. […] can benefit from a little help! You can read examples of my other races reviews here, here, or here (just a sampling). Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler is put on by the racing company J&A Races.  They put […]

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