As an American living in Ireland, I was thrilled to experience the Rock n Roll series outside of the USA. I have run many Rock n Roll events and have come to love the enthusiasm and celebration that comes along with these events. After moving here in 2016, I immersed myself into the Irish running community as much as I could and was honoured when I was asked to be an official pacer for this race.
EXPO: The first thing to know about Dublin Rock n Roll is that the expo is really quite small. I have run the Liverpool, St. Louis, San Diego and Chicago Rock n Roll events and had grown accustomed to the large, major expos that surround them. The expo here is much smaller and definitely not on such a grand scale. That said, it's still a very welcoming environment and lots of friendly people and you can even meet the pacers there! It's just small in comparison to the American events.
WATER STOPS: It's important to know that the water stops on the route are very different than in America. They typically hand out bottles of liquid and there are only 4 altogether. The Irish weather is never predictable, even in the summer. This particular race day was quite warm and many runners struggle near the end. I was pacing the 2:45 group so our runners were definitely feeling the heat at the end.
COURSE: The course is mostly flat but there are a few notable hills. In the first 5K, there is a short and steep incline in the city. It's not long but it's steep. My advice is to not attack it, rather take it handy and slow down a bit if necessary to save your energy for later. The route flattens out until mile 10 where you are presented with a long, rather nasty incline into Phoenix Park. It's important to make sure you have enough energy left to get you up this monster. It's a rolling kind of incline with pockets that even out a bit before climbing again. It's a tough 2 miles in total so be prepared. The last mile flattens out and you can ride it into the finish line.
INTERNATIONAL RUNNERS: I must say, I met more Americans running this race than I had met the entire year I had lived in Ireland! While there are some Irish runners, this particular event attracts more internationals than native runners. It takes place during the build up to the Dublin Marathon and most Irish runners are preparing for that race.
PARKING & TRANSPORT: I drove into the race and parked at the finish line area. Shuttles to the start are provided so I hopped on one of those and easily dropped my bag into gear check. Since I was pacing the 2:45 group, I had plenty of time before my corral started.
START CORRALS: They start this race in waves so be prepared to wait a while if you are in one of the back waves.
FINISH LINE: The refreshments were top notch after a long race! Another note for American runners to know is that the beer on offer is nonalcoholic. That may seem strange for some since most major American races offer alcoholic beer. But here, nonalcoholic is the norm. Don't worry though, there are PLENTY of pubs where you can get a nice, cold Guiness afterwards!
SWAG: The tech shirts are great but were not available in women's sizes, only unisex. The medals are amazing and definitely on par with what you would expect for a Rock n Roll race!
OVERALL: It's a fabulous destination race if you are wanting to see a bit of Dublin. It's a fantastic atmosphere and a lovely, welcoming city for a racecation!