Review of The Rock and Roll Marathon Raleigh 2014
Rock and Roll bring it on!
The training is over. I have made it past every obstacle injury free for the most part. I have survive three twenty mile runs in the rain, cold, and heat for my April 13, 2014 challenge against Raleigh Rock and Roll Marathon. I have never ran a marathon before and the excitement was building for the epic event that I had trained for four months to take on. I have for the last five years become a dedicated runner. At age 34, I am smashing all my PRs from my college days. I wasn't a distance runner in high school. I thought those mile and two mile runners were nuts. I thought that anything over the 800 meters was just too far. In college after putting on some weight, a few buddies and I got back into running but my PR was a 22min. 20sec. 5k. 10ks and half marathons were thought of crazy ideas that only people who were nuts would compete in. I then took several years off of running, and focused on my job. After getting married and again gaining back some weight, I decided to get back into the running game again in 2009. After four years of working my butt off, I have smashed my PR in the 5ks (19mins. 37secs), completed a 10k (45mins. 01secs), and completed a half marathon (1hour 52mins.17secs). After all that, I still felt hungry and incomplete at the same time. I think the marathon challenge began the morning of the half marathon run. My wife and I saw people we knew and they would ask, "Are you guys running the full marathon?" It really bothered me to keep saying, "Nope, just doing the half." How crazy is it that 13.1 miles can have the words, "just doing," in front of it. The goal at the beginning of training was to finish the marathon in under four hours. After several attempts at twenty mile training runs, I decided that the goal my be a little much for my first marathon so I decided on getting under 4 hours and 20mins. Well I guess that is enough back ground on me, let me tell you about my experience at the Rock and Roll Marathon April 13, 2014 in Raleigh.
The Expo was top notch!
My wife, a buddy of mine, and myself arrived in Raleigh on April 12 the Saturday before the race. We checked into our hotel and then headed off to the race expo. I had been to one expo before when I ran the half marathon the year before in Raleigh. The half marathon I ran was not a Rock and Roll event, so I was really excited to see what all was going to be at the expo. We walked into the convention center where the expo was located,and as we rode down the escalator (hey we were trying to save legs) the first thing I noticed was the enormous Rock and Roll Marathon Banner and the thousands of people everywhere. The half marathon I completed the year before had maybe three thousand people in it. This race had close to four times that amount. After we picked up our bib numbers, bags, and shirts (which were awesome) we headed into the expo. Brook's was the first vendor you saw and they did it up right. They had tons upon tons of clothes, shoes, socks, and other things to purchase at a fair price. Then they had this huge area that had games for kids and adults to participate in, a prize give away, and a gate analysis station. I didn't play any of the games, but I got a visor as a prize and did the gate analysis which was pretty neat. We then proceeded to the other area that was just a huge mass of hundreds of companies all which discounted and fair priced merchandise. I didn't buy a lot of stuff, but I found some nice tech shirts for five dollars, Rock and Roll Marathon 26.2 stickers, and features socks for ten bucks (at the local store they are 15). We then proceeded to get our parking information and after three hours of walking around and checking everything out that we had had enough and decided to head out to find some pasta before going back to the hotel for the night. All in all, I thought the expo was awesome. Everyone there was extremely helpful and it was very organized.
Race Day! The Start!
The alarm goes off at 4:30, but it doesn't matter I have been up since around 3:45. The excitement is oozing out of every pore in my body. I jump out of the bed and get in the shower to get ready. The race starts at 7:00a.m. so we head out the door around 5:30. We are only about ten minute away, but we want to give ourselves ample time to find a parking garage. We make it down town and park with absolutely no problem. We were so worried about finding a parking spot, but they had so many parking garages downtown that we had no problem. We didn't even pay for a spot we got one of the free ones. We had to walk maybe one or two blocks to get to where the race was going to start. We checked our bags and headed towards the start line. One of the best things about the way they had the race setup, was that they had absolutely tons of portable restrooms. We didn't have to wait in a huge line at all, which was so nice. The half marathon I ran in last year, I spent probably fifteen to twenty mins. waiting in line to use the bathroom. The race director did an excellent job of anticipating how many people were going to be there. After getting pictures at the start line and stretching it was time to head to our corrals. My friend and I were in coral 9, which was with the 4:15 pace group. My wife headed back to 16, which was the 5 hour pace group. At the start line, they had an the very funny and energetic British sounding D.J. He did a great job of firing everyone up before they took off. They staggered the start with each coral going approximately every five minutes. The music was blaring and everyone was getting crazy when my coral hit the start line. We had some people dancing, chest bumping, and giving everyone a high five as we waited for the horn to sound. When it did, I knew this was going to be one epic day.
Rock and Roll Marathon Race Statistics
Male 2:38:57 Female 2:49:45
Half Marathon Runners
Male 1:09:32 Female 1:19:55
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We took off and there was a sea of people in front of us. As we ran over the rolling streets of Raleigh, it was crazy to see the masses of runners go up and down like they were an ocean. The streets were lined with thousands of people cheering, holding signs, and giving you a high five. It was an unbelievable atmosphere that I have no clue if it would be duplicated. We ran through the first mile and the band was ok, but nothing that was memorable. The second band was spectacular. They were on an overpass and we ran under them. The band was an energetic marching band that only had a few people. I am not sure what you call them, but they were playing and dancing and yelling, it was awesome. Out of all the bands that I saw that day, this was the only one that I can remember vividly. As the miles ticked off, we headed out of Raleigh. The next thing I can remember was running through a neighborhood that was absolutely nuts. They were the water stop and really put on a show. They had music blaring from cars and houses. They had signs all over the place, some were very funny other inspirational. It was like a huge block party at 9 in the morning. The miles began to tick off at a rapid pace and the crowd split and our numbers dwindled when the half marathoners turned left and we turned right. The next things I can remember is at mile ten when they must of had thousands of dollars in D.J. equipment. The entire mile had music. The speakers were wireless and the D.J. was awesome. She was yelling all the different runners giving the words of encouragement. It was awesome. The race continued and the enjoyment and excited of the race gave wave to pain. It started at mile 18. I had to walk through several of the next water stops, but continued to push myself for the remaining miles. They had another music mile (the entire mile had a D.J. like I said before) at mile 20 which really helped me get through it. At mile 23, they had a tribute to U.S. soldiers. The streets were lined with pictures of soldiers then there must of been fifty people holding American flags on both side of the road cheering you on. The pain was becoming worse, but I had to finish. When I entered the last mile and could see and hear the roar of the crowd near the finish line, the excitement began building. There were thousands of people lining the streets cheering all the runners on. It was amazing. I must of received five hundred high fives as I ran down the street to the finish line. They had camera people everywhere and I tried to take good pictures as I crossed the line. When I finished there were tons of stuff to drink and eat. It was fantastic. They took another picture of me with my finishers medal that was awesome and gave me a Gatorade. I then drank several bottles of water and chocolate milk. I had finished in 4 hours and 16 mins., which was fine with me. I could not of been happier.
Final thoughts on the race.
All in all, I feel like this race could not of been a better pick for my first marathon. My wife and I had a fantastic experience and enjoyed every minute of the race(except maybe for the pain). The concert afterwards was good as well. We didn't stay for the whole thing, but what we saw was very good. Raleigh put on a fantastic race, and I have already signed up for it next year. I applaud the race director for a wonderful job. Raleigh, is a wonderful town and they really showed it at this race. The support that was given to all the runners was amazing and if anyone is thinking about running a marathon, I would highly recommend this race. In closing,Raleigh put together an excellent atmosphere and race experience rivaled by none (excepted maybe New York and Boston). I hope everyone has enjoyed this review of the Rock and Roll Marathon in Raleigh.
Rock and Roll Marathon Raleigh Race Clip
Tell me about your experience at a marathon!
My marathon experience was fantastic. Please tell me about your race experiences. I would love to complete another marathon, but I am having a hard time choosing a different one. The Raleigh races so good that I am not sure I would pay the money to run in a different one. Please let me know if there is one in the U.S. that rivals this one. Thanks and I hope to hear from you guys soon.
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