- 5 miles/8K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
Copied from my blog. Yes, I'm a nitpicker.
T-Shirt/Swag – 5/5
I do love the swag of this race. The shirt is cute and fits wells and I love the medal! Rock n' Roll did a great job on the medal. It is very unique for Colorado; it's the flag with the Denver skyline and a Columbine (our state flower).
Aid Stations/Support – 5/5
They get another 5 our 5 on this one! For the 10k, there were three (I believe; there might have been one more...I can't remember) aid stations with water and Gatorade Endurance. They had plenty of volunteers handing out the drinks.
There was also great support at the end of the race. As soon as I finished I was handed my medal and a heat sheet (the wind was pretty chilly that day and once I stopped running I got very cold). The finish corral was lined with water, Gatorade Endurance, and snacks!
Course Itself/Scenery/Difficulty – 4/5
The course was pretty fun. I wouldn't say it's my favorite course by any means, but definitely a great way through the city. There were parts of it that wound through random streets of Denver where I thought they could have chosen better streets (although being a race director myself, I'm sure this has everything to do with finding the correct distance with the streets Denver permits would allow the use of). The 10k course wasn't too difficult; there were two "big" hills that I think wouldn't have felt big if I was better trained. If I were from another state, this course would be a great way to see the city, that's for sure!
Expo Quality – 4/5
Okay, let me start by saying the expo at packet pick up (and on race day) was great. It was fun, plenty to do and see and new products to try. Picking up my packet and swag was quick and easy and holy-moly do they have a ton of extra swag items you could have purchased! The only reason this is not a 5 out 5 if because I had to pay for parking. I'm sorry, but I'm a firm believer that if I've already registered for a race (yes, this one was free for me, but I'm reviewing as if I paid for it), that it should include everything. Heck, I'd be fine if the race price increased by $5 if it means I don't have to pay for parking. It's the principal of the matter. I've already paid for a race and now I have to pay more money just to get my packet? I have always thought that was wrong and have experienced this with a few other events in the past.
Parking/Access – 2/5
I really wish they could find a start/finish area that had more free parking or at least parking closer to the area. You already read how I feel about added costs after registering for a race and this is no different. The race was at Civic Center Park in Downtown Denver and there's really not any large amount of parking anywhere near there. There are a ton of small lots and garages all around, but they all cost money and they all require walking. The closest lots that were less than a quarter of a mile walk were all reserved a few days before but they cost anywhere from $15 to $20. I found a lot for only $2 (go me!) but it was 0.75 miles away. On the way to the start, it was no big deal, but when I was finished with the race, it felt like a marathon's distance away and I was freezing walking back to my car. Rock n' Roll did advertise with Spot Hero, which I used to reserve my spot. This was the first time I've used it and it seemed to work out okay - there was a spot available when I got there and my car was still there when I got back! That part did help ease some nerves of race morning logistics so I didn't have to stress about finding a spot or carrying cash for parking.
Race Management – 5/5
It's a Rock n' Roll race, of course it's managed well! I mean, everything is organized, communication is spot on and the course is well marked. I don't think a big organization like this can afford to be lazy with any of the management side of things.
Overall, I think this race is a great way to experience Denver and I can only assume every city is like that. So many people travel for races and what better way to see a city than by running the streets. At the Denver race, even the 10k course was a great jaunt through the city as you pass iconic places like Coors Field and popular Denver streets. I bet the half marathon course covers even more of Denver's favorite sights.
I'm quite impressed with the whole Rock n' Roll theme. I have always heard good things from people and the appeal of the theme has always been there. It's a very unique thing to have a TON of bands on the course for you to enjoy as you run by. I also love that the rock n' roll theme, as well as the specific city theme, is followed through everything from the decor, to the music, to the swag designs. I love that there was a live band at the finish and wish I could have stayed longer to enjoy it. The finish line/expo looked really fun! I could totally see this as a great event to enjoy with friends/family and hang out for a fun Sunday morning.
So why a four out of five? Well, obviously the extra costs are one thing. When you have to pay to park at the expo and on race day, I think that's quite ridiculous. Also, there were not nearly enough port-o-johns. I waited for 30 minutes. That's a long time and there were TONS of people behind me. Lastly, I think the start corral could have been a little more organized. It was such a cluster to find how to get into the corral for one thing but it just wasn't big enough to fit all the racers. I got stuck on the outside of the barricades in the crowd and couldn't get into my corral until the race started and the crowded spread out just a bit. That part made me nervous as I like to start with my actual corral.
OH, and why aren't pictures free!?! Another added cost, geez! Get a sponsor to slap their logo all over the pictures and let racers have them free!