- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
I have heard about the Rock N Roll race series since I got into running. I have heard from several people if your are going to run a half marathon distance and want to make the best of your experience, their's are one of the funniest. I said, lets put this to the test and see if the hype is indeed real.
This year I actually had the opportunity to signup for either the Virginia Beach or Philadelphia races only because that is actually how my schedule became available. I opted to participate in Philadelphia because not only is it in my backyard, but I heard Philly represents.
Rock N Roll has a Fitness expo prior to the race. On the main expo day being the day before the race several special guests were in attendance. There was a shakeout run with Abdi Abdirahman, Cam Levins and Noah Droddy. And aslo at the expo a Q & A and photos with Des Linden and Jordan Hasay. This is actually the first race that I did not have an option to have my bib sent to me. You will need to attend the expo in order to pick-up your bib. A few friends and myself picked up our bibs that Friday afternoon. The Pennsylvania Convention Center is located in Center City Philadelphia and is very easy to get to driving or taking public transportation. There are several parking garages near by if you choose to drive. Check-in and pickup of our race material, bibs, and shirts was well organized and very efficient. The volunteers are helpful and friendly. The expo was a good experience. Several vendors and plenty of variety. I spent most of my time getting familiar more with Rock N Roll race experience. However my personal favorite was Brooks section. Not only did they have the new shoe setups but a running form setup. They fit you with sensors and find the best shoes that go with your running style and form. I watched a few people do this and got myself all excited to try. However, I was wearing jeans and this would not have been the best experience for me.
If you are worried about hills, I can personally tell you that this is a fairly flat course. The steepest grade is very manageable. The race course begins at Eikins Oval along the Ben Franklin parkway, just in front of the famous Philadelphia Art Museum. You will then run north through Logan Square and will follow the race around Center City. You will see landmarks such as the City Hall, The Federal Bank, China Town, Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and Constitution Center, before returning back to Logan Square. After Logan Square you will back south on the Ben Franklin Parkway onto the scenic Kelly Drive and Boathouse Row. Just a note, other races I have participated in, you see the back side of the boathouses and the Schuykill River. In this race you actually get to see the front and your can really appreciate them from the other side. The run on Kelly Drive concludes around 8.6 miles into the race where you take Fall Bridge over the Schuykill River and onto the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Drive for the final leg of the race. Both Kelly and MLK are tree line areas that have plenty of cyclists and runners all year around. There is plenty advantage points to see the city along this route. The race ends in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps.
Energy and Music:
Now let's talk about the real reason on why you would choose this race.... ENERGY & MUSIC!!! Rock N Roll Marathon series did live up to my expectations when it came to Philadelphia. There were plenty fo spectators along the course routing all the runners on. Especially toward the latter sections of the race there were still spectators and volunteers cheering you along. And the music..... there were live bands playing along the entire route. There were approximately 10 total bands playing on the course. The variety of music was great, which helped keep the energy high for participants of ALL levels. I am a little biased because I liked the Philadelphia Eagles Drum Line about 5k into the race. They were near the Liberty Bell and Constitution Center which I thought was just fitting. Really great job on the band and music selection to the race directors.
Aide and Water Stations:
There are water stations at approximately every 1.5 miles in the race. And there are equally about the same amount of Aide stations near each water station. I found this really encouraging that the race does take the well being of it's participants very seriously. This years race was a little humid then usual (95% but no rain) for the time of year so seeing the additional aide stations is reassuring.
Overall the Rock n Roll Half Philadelphia is a great experience. I would say I would do this race again. The race also other two additional distances if you wanna go for the "Remix" challenge which are 5k and 7.6k (inaugural). I look forward to participating again in Rock N Roll in the very near future.
To find out more about Rock and Roll Marathon Series, races, and various challenges please go here:
Have a running partner for this race. So much to enjoy and plenty of photo opportunities on this course.
If you have a hydration pack you can use it. This year, it was humid on race day. Staying hydrated was extra important.
Be aware of the pot holes on Kelly Drive. Yes, its almost fall but there were a few pot holes towards the end of the race.
Medical tents available about every 1.5 - 2 miles on the course. I saw plenty of people making use of the aide stations. If you think you need help, just use it. Your body will thank you for it.
Look for the discounts. Up to two weeks after RnR is done in a city, the following year's sign-up is available. Sure you are committed for a year in advance, but you can save some serious coin.