The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series: Locations and Course Overviews
Run the Marathons and Half-Marathons All Over The United States
I love these events! The energy of thousands of runners -- tens of thousands in some cases -- really gets me going, not to mention the live music along the courses and the cheering bystanders.
I enjoy the fitness expos, too -- looking at all the cool gear and clothing, testing and collecting free samples, entering to win merchandise and other prizes.
And the post-race finish line activities and concerts provide a great opportunity to move around and keep those muscles from tightening up (sort of) after the run.
Yep, Rock 'n' Roll marathon and half-marathon events are FUN! I've run five of them so far -- four halves and one whole -- and am signed up for more.
Here, you'll find information on all events in the series as well as video course previews for many of the races.
Many of the Rock 'n' Roll events are benefits for charities as noted below. And many of the runners have raised money on their own for charities, such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of the Team in Training program. You can find out more about these organizations by following the links under each race location.
And what was your experience like?
You can answer the poll and then leave your comments in the guestbook at the bottom of the page.
Did you have fun and a good experience at a Rock 'n' Roll running event? Or was it not what you'd expected?
Have You Run in Any of these Events?
P.F. Chang Arizona Marathon & Half-Marathon
Phoenix, Arizona -- January
I've run Arizona's P.F. Chang half-marathon three times, in 2008, 2011, and 2012. It's an easy one for me to get to, living a couple of hours north in Flagstaff, so I'm sure I'll be running this one many more times.
The Arizona marathon and half-marathon courses are generally pretty flat and fast as they lead runners through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. January temperatures in this desert climate are cool at the start line -- around 40 degrees -- but usually warm up nicely, ranging from the mid 60s to about 70 degrees as the morning progresses. The courses, which were changed in 2012, both finish on Packard Drive between Arizona State University's Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadiums across from Tempe Town Lake.
Benefiting The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
**The Phoenix marathon and half-marathon courses have been modified since these videos were made. I'm on the lookout for updated videos.
Arizona Marathon Course Preview
Arizona Half-Marathon Course Preview
Mardi Gras Rock n Roll Marathon & Half-Marathon
New Orleans, Louisiana -- February
Beginning at Tchoupitoulas and Euterpe St., the courses wind their way through the Garden District before heading towards the French Quarter. Runners use historic Decatur St. to run through the French Quarter on their way to Esplanade and out towards the finish at City Park.
Benefiting the American Cancer Society
Mardi Gras Marathon Course Preview
Mardi Gras Half-Marathon Course Preview
Dallas, Texas -- March
The Dallas course is flat and fast. Temperatures in March average a high of 68 degrees and low of 47 degrees--perfect weather for a 13.1-mile run.
Benefiting Susan G. Komen For The Cure
Dallas Half-Marathon Course Preview
Rock n Roll Country Music Marathon & Half-Marathon
Nashville, Tennessee -- April
I loved this course! This was my first (and so far only) full marathon, with more than 30,000 of my closest friends on the two courses combined. The routes for the races begin at Centennial Park and stick together for 11 miles. Part of the combined route doubles back on itself for a while, so you get to see thousands of runners coming and going. The race courses take you through downtown Nashville, Music Row, along the river, and through Shelby Park, eventually ending at LP Field. And the post-race concert -- being in Nashville -- is usually headlined by a well-known country music act. It's Montgomery Gentry in 2011. When I ran in 2008, it was Lady Antebellum.
Country Music Marathon Course Preview
Country Music Half-Marathon Course Preview
Dodge Marathon and Half-Marathon
San Diego, California -- June
I'm running this half-marathon in June, 2011. It will be my third. The route includes a stretch along Mission Bay and passes through Balboa Park, passing San Diego Air & Space Museum. Both the marathoners and half-marathoners finish in South Shores Park.
Benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
San Diego Marathon Course Preview
San Diego Half-Marathon Course Preview
Another Dodge Rock n Roll Marathon & Half-Marathon
Seattle, Washington -- June
The Seattle Rock n Roll race courses share a starting location at Gateway Corporate Center and run the same route for more than 9 miles before parting ways. They come together again at the finish outside Qwest Field.
Benefiting the American Cancer Society
Seattle Marathon Course Preview
Seattle Half-Marathon Course Preview
Chicago, Illinois -- August
The Rock 'n' Roll Chicago race starts and finishes in the same place -- Grant park -- so it's really convenient for family and friends and other spectators who want to see both ends of the race. The course will be changing a bit for the 2011 event, incorporating more downtown city streets.
Chicago Half-Marathon Course Preview
Providence Rock n Roll Half-Marathon
Providence, Rhode Island -- August
2011 was the inaugural year for the Providence Rock n Roll event.
I'm happy to see my home state of little Rhode Island is now part of the Rock n Roll running series. The bayside city of Providence has changed a lot since I grew up about 20 minutes south of there, now with a really nice riverfront area and a vibrant downtown and cultural scene, making it much more of a destination than it was 20-some-odd years ago. This race is definitely on my list; although, I won't be able to make it for it's maiden run.
(And Another) Dodge Half-Marathon
Virginia Beach, Virginia -- September
The Virginia Beach seaside course takes runners begins adjacent to the Virginia Beach Convention Center, continues through the resort area and Camp Pendleton, and finishes to the north on the Boardwalk.
Virginia Beach Half-Marathon Course Preview
ING Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- September
The Philadelphia course begins at Benjamin Franklin Parkway and finishes in front of the art museum on Martin Luther King Drive, not far from the starting line. The course almost makes a complete loop.
Philadelphia Half-Marathon Course Preview
San Jose Half-Marathon
San Jose, California -- October
The starting line is located at W. Santa Clara St. and Almaden Blvd., and the finish is at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose.
Denver Rock n Roll Marathon & Half-Marathon
Denver, Colorado -- October
This scenic, USAT&F-certified course is a Boston Marathon-qualifier, starting and finishing downtown in front of the City & County Building on Bannock Street. Runners will pass many of Denver's major landmarks such as the Colorado Convention Center and Larimer Square, the Pepsi Center, Union Station, and Coors Field. The course then winds through City Park, Cheesman Park, and Washington Park and their neighborhoods.
Los Angeles Rock n Roll Half-Marathon
Los Angeles, California -- October
The L.A. Rock n Roll course starts in Griffith Park near the Los Angeles Zoo, continues past the Silverlake Reservoir, down Sunset Boulevard, along the edge of Echo Park Lake, and finishes downtown at L.A. LIVE.
Solutia Marathon & Half-Marathon
St. Louis, Missouri -- October
2011 was the inaugural year for the St. Louis event.
Benefiting Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK)
Savannah Rock n Roll Marathon & Half-Marathon
Savannah, Georgia -- November
2011 was also the inaugural year for the Savannah Rock n Roll marathon and half-marathon. The series is growing!
San Antonio Marathon & Half-Marathon
San Antonio, Texas -- November
This event is definitely on my "to-do" list. Some of the notable attractions along the route (not that I'd be stopping mid-race to check them out) are the Alamo, San Pedro Park, King William District, Southtown Arts District, Mission ConcepciÃ³n, Mission San JosÃ©, Mission San Juan Capistrano, and Tower of the America. The course is described as flat and scenic.
Benefiting Susan G. Komen For The Cure
Humana Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon & Half-Marathon
Las Vegas, Nevada -- December
Cruise the Las Vegas Strip on foot. The full half-marathon course will both include the Strip and the marathon runners share that same course for nearly eleven miles. Both races start on Las Vegas Boulevard near Mandalay Bay and finish in the Mandalay Bay parking lot, so the two ends are very close together, which is convenient for friends, family and other spectators who want to see both.
The average temperature in Las Vegas at the beginning of December is around 50 degrees, so it'll be chillier at the start (in the 40s) and maybe get up into the 60s by the time you cross the finish line -- perfect running weather, if you ask me.
UPDATE: I ran this half marathon in December, 2011, which was the first time it was held as a night race -- the largest nighttime running event in the world, apparently, with 44,000 runners. It was really cool running the Strip at night, and I generally had a good time, but there were a lot of logistical problems with this race this year, and there are a LOT of complaints online and in the news. Hopefully, the organizers will take all of those complaints and real problems into serious consideration -- which they say they are -- and improve things drastically for next year.
Oh, and it was REALLY cold this year, colder than usual. So if you run this one, especially if it's a night race again, be prepared to suddenly be very cold when you finish. Mylar was handed out, but there weren't enough to go around. So if you carry a little pouch and can scrunch up a space blanket of your own in there, that might be a good idea.
Benefiting Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
Las Vegas Marathon Course Preview
Las Vegas Half-Marathon Course Preview
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Deb Kingsbury