Out of all of the races I have done in 2014, this event is the first I have chosen to not recommend. I will say that many people whose opinions I respect spoke highly of this event, so it may have just been a case of increased numbers surprising organizers this year.
The event certainly seemed to have more than it's fair share of logistical problems, so I will start there and then move on to the positives. My biggest issue was the value - 40 dollars for a 5km is a bit steep, but not altogether unheard of these days. However, there was no t-shirt included, no mention of the cost supporting a specific cause or charity and the finishing medal was pretty generic. There was a towel included (although some people did not even get the towel) and a couple of other small things in the race kit, but nothing of particular note.
Another issue was that the organizers ran out of bibs, meaning that some racers received plain white bibs with their number written on with a sharpie marker. This seemed to be more of an issue for those running the half marathon event, but was still unusual to see at an event of several hundred people.
A third issue was how the separate events were started. For some unusual reason, the half marathon runners began 200 m ahead of the 5k and 10 k runners. What this meant is that the quicker 5k/10k runners very quickly found themselves weaving in and out of all of the slower half marathon runners. It was particularly annoying given that most of the course was an open course, meaning vehicles were in play. Inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. There was also a bridge as part of the course - 5k runners (300 of us) were told to confine ourselves to the sidewalk and run in single file. Having the turn around in such narrow confines made NO sense at all.
My last issue was the bag/key check. As you would expect, this was near the start line at the local civic centre. What wasn't communicated to runners was that everything that was checked would then be transported to the finish line, about 1 km away. After finishing my race, I walked back to the civic centre where I was told that my car keys were back at the finish. I have never done a race where the drop off point is not the pick up point. It's not that it's a terrible idea - but at least communicating this to people would have been helpful.
The course itself was fine. The bridge and river were quite beautiful and it was a fairly quick course with only a couple of small inclines. The on course management for the 5k was fine with all turns being clearly marked, plenty of volunteers and local police doing a great job directing traffic for runner safety.
If this race had not been part of a provincial and regional challenge, I likely would not have done it. I will definitely follow it with interest next year to see if the logistical problems were dealt with. Miramichi has a very vibrant running community and if some of the concerns I have mentioned with are addressed, the Rock n Run can definitely become a much improved and worthwhile event.