Rock 'n' Roll Arizona

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona

( 45 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Phoenix,
    United States
  • January
  • 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay, Other
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Riley Fickett

Massachusetts, United States
15 56
"Race Review: Rock n' Roll Arizona Marathon 2022 ๐ŸŒต"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Riley Fickett's thoughts:

The weekend after the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, my insane self packed up my bags yet again and traveled south west for the Rock n' Roll Arizona Marathon! This harebrained idea came about when I discovered that I had some Rock n' Roll Tour Pass credits to burn from all the race deferrals I had during 2020. Wanting to utilize a credit to check off another state but not having too many options, I opted to sign up for Rock n' Roll Arizona, scheduled for the weekend after the Goofy Challenge ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Look, it seemed like a good idea at the time! ๐Ÿ˜… I was definitely super exhausted after my Disney trip, but I had committed so I packed up my bags and headed to the Grand Canyon State for state #19!

This was a quick solo trip with the only goal really being to show up and run. I didn't have any plans to sight see or anything like that. I just wanted to get there, run the race, and head out. I left early Saturday morning for AZ with the intention to fly back on the red eye on Sunday night. It was definitely going to be a whirlwind! However, it had been a while since I've traveled solo for a racecation and I was kind of looking forward to it. It's nice to not have to worry about anyone else's schedule while traveling every now and then!

I arrived to Phoenix around 12pm local time and headed straight for the expo. Like I explained in my Rock n' Roll San Antonio review, once you've been to one Rock n' Roll expo you've kind of been to them all. I'm sure they change things up year to year, but I don't blame them for making the expos similar in each city. Being a traveling race company, I'm sure that makes things much easier, logistically speaking!

I had quite a bit of time to kill after the expo as my check in time wasn't until 5pm at my Air BnB, so I opted to grab lunch at Willie's Taco Joint (where I accidentally ordered a literal bucket of chips) and a frozen latte from Bad Ass Coffee of Hawaii (which I hoped would make me feel like bad ass on race day ๐Ÿ˜‰). It was such a nice temperature outside so I found a spot to sit with my coffee and enjoy the scenery a bit before finally heading to my digs for the evening.

I was so exhausted from traveling that I didn't have energy to do much else besides shower, order Uber Eats for dinner (chicken & tortellini!), lay out my flat runner and head to bed. I was nervous about the race because of how I felt during the WDW Marathon and my body just being so exhausted, so I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. I'm pretty sure I passed out at 8:30pm (which to be fair was 10:30pm eastern which was what my body was operating on haha).

Because of the time difference, I woke up naturally before my alarm and I felt pretty well rested! I ate some oatmeal for breakfast, got dressed, packed up my gear bag and headed over to the start line. My accommodations were about a mile from the start so I just opted to walk over. Looking back on it, walking a mile to the start before running a marathon seems ridiculous, but I think I was still in runDisney mode where you're basically forced to do just that whether you want to or not ๐Ÿ˜‚

While I was waiting for the start, I was able to meet up with a former student of mine, Alex! She and I were actually both at the Rock n' Roll Savannah Half Marathon in November and didn't realize it until after the fact, so when we realized we'd both be at RnR Arizona we made it a point to find each other! It was so great to see her, especially after so many years!

I wasn't waiting long at all before I was off and running. Compared to my experiences in Savannah and San Antonio, they got the runners out on the course very quickly in Arizona! I think waited a total of about 10 minutes or so before I was running, and we were moving toward the start the entire time. Kudos to Rock n' Roll for getting us out on the course ASAP!

One thing that I'll say about Arizona is that it is BREATHTAKING. I could not keep my eyes off the beautiful Arizona landscape the entire time I was running. It also didn't hurt that we had absolutely perfect weather conditions for this run. I was definitely nervous to run in a warmer climate after training in the cold, but temps and conditions for this race were absolutely phenomenal and I was loving it!

I felt surprisingly great for the majority of this run. I really wasn't sure how I was going to feel because of how terrible I felt during the WDW Marathon, so my main focus was so get to the finish and enjoy the run. (Really my main goal was finding a giant cactus to take a selfie with ๐Ÿ˜‚) BUT I was feeling so great, even at the half way point, and I started to realize that I was on pace to go sub-5. I tried not to let myself dwell on that possibility because I didn't want to push my body and totally fall apart in the later miles, but I would be lying if I told you it wasn't in the back of my mind through the majority of the second half!

Around mile 16.5 is where things started to get difficult. This is where we turned onto some bike trails and we stayed on these trails for about 3 miles or so. This section was GORGEOUS and we had these beautiful views of incredible red rocks everywhere you looked. However, these trails were HILLY AF, and after having a mostly flat course for the first half, it was a surprise to turn onto these hills and it definitely shook up my mental game a bit. I tried to focus on putting one step down at a time, and to also really appreciate the beautiful scenery around me because... WOW ๐Ÿคฉ

At about 19.5 - right after the beautiful bike trails of doom - I actually got to see our BibRave Community Manager Laura, which was so incredible! She's local to the area and was so kind to come out to cheer on a few of us BibRave Pros in our race. It honestly meant SO MUCH to me that Laura stuck around to see my slow self make it to mile 19.5, and she even brought me a little baggie of mid-race pretzels and jogged with me to mile marker 20! Seeing a friendly face cheering me on at that point of the race gave me such an incredible boost and motivated me to get through the last 10K!

I was definitely gassed out after seeing Laura, and I knew the last few miles were going to be a slog. On top of that, the sun was really starting to take it out of me at this point and I was overall just ready to be DONE. What I do appreciate about these Rock n' Roll races is that the on-course entertainment is just top notch. It seems like every single mile there's a band or DJ hyping up the runners and it was no different in Arizona. While these last 6.2 miles were mentally and physically challenging, I tried my best to just make it to the next performer and enjoy the music they were providing for the runners on the course.

After chipping my way through the 20s, I finally turned a corner, ran all the way down the bridge, and finally, across the finish line to capture my 19th state!!!

I also earned my 4ever Young Heavy Medal at this race! For every city you run within a Heavy Medal season (typically it's within one year, but because of COVID they're currently counting 2020, 2021, and 2022 for one season), after running the second city and beyond you earn an additional Heavy Medal! This is my fourth city with Rock n' Roll since 2020, so I earned the 4ever Young medal, which coincidentally matched my outfit perfectly!

I'm also a big big fan of the marathon medal I earned at RnR Arizona! It's the shape of the state of Arizona, and it perfectly captures the gorgeous scenery of the area we ran through. If there's one thing I'll remember about this race it's definitely the scenery, so I'm so glad that it's reflected on this medal!

I had a bit of time after the race before I had to head to the airport, so after showering and resting for an hour or so, I went out to grab some dinner, a celebratory beveragino and dinner at Four Peaks Brewing Company (where I found out my server was from a town about 20 minutes from me in Massachusetts ๐Ÿ˜‚) and - per a recommendation from a friend that said if I did nothing else I should do this - grabbed a frozen coffee from Dutch Bros. Y'all... I need Dutch Bros to set up a franchise in the northeast like now ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. Why don't we have any good frozen coffee up here??

Overall I had a fantastic time at Rock n' Roll Arizona. As usual, Rock n' Roll put on an incredible event and I would 100% return to run this marathon again. The course was gorgeous, the entertainment was incredible, and the volunteers and staff were so amazing in making sure everyone had a fantastic time. 10/10 would recommend for your Arizona race!

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