Rock 'n' Roll San Diego

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego

( 68 reviews )
97% of reviewers recommend this race
  • San Diego,
    United States
  • June
  • 3 miles/5K, 5 miles/8K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Ciara Doll

Los Angeles, California, United States
18 41
"An Absolute BLAST on the Course! "
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Ciara Doll's thoughts:

This may have been hands-down one of the best races I’ve run in a long time! The on-course atmosphere was AMAZING! The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series is definitely a can’t miss!

I signed up for this run as part of the Remix Challenge back in late 2020, amid a lot of in-person racing uncertainty. Originally set for June, I received word it was moving to October. At the time, I had purchased race insurance, and I actually used it to cancel my registration after numerous people told me most RnR races were being cancelled. Of course, this one stuck, so I re-signed up for the Remix Challenge again! This race offers a GIANT expo (if you’re a RunDisney runner, this will all feel very familiar to you), and this one took place inside the San Diego Convention Center. The expo was very straight-forward and provided plenty of signage and volunteers to help any lost runners or answer any questions. After receiving our bibs and shirts, we passed through the official RnR shop and then onto the expo floor, filled with booths and photo opps. If expo shopping isn’t your thing, this expo is VERY easy to get in and out of! (On a bit of a bizarre sidenote, make sure you double-check your merch – I found and notified staff that a large number of their smaller souvenir items (magnets, pins, bottle openers) had “Half Marathon” misspelled as “Half MaraTON!” The team was kind enough to mark everything down due to the error, but when I told them, I was apparently the only person to catch the error, and the expo had been open for multiple hours by the time I arrived!)

The next morning, I made a point to get up EARLY to catch an Uber to the start, since I did not drive to San Diego. I’m not sure if it was due to my hotel location, or to the race morning in general, but it was VERY difficult to book a car. I ended up searching multiple ride-share apps, spent about 15-20 minutes waiting, and ended up paying extra for priority pickup on Lyft because I was nervous about missing the starting line. When my driver pulled up to the recommended drop-off, it was a MADHOUSE. Most runners chose to use ride-share services due to the lack of parking near the start, and my driver was fortunately able to find a place to pull over for me to exit, but there were cars backed up down the street and all the way to the exit ramp. Take this as a GIANT CUE to plan ahead!!!

I arrived with enough time to spare, including a bit of a walk from my drop-off spot to my corral. That walk was about 5 minutes tops, but if you’re cutting it close, the last thing you want is to SPRINT to your corral.

The was plenty of music at the starting line and announcers from the 5k were back to hype up the crowd. I thought it was really cool that the race had a spanish-speaking announcer too to make the starting line festivities more inclusive!

The Race:
Like the 5k the day before, this race implemented a new starting pattern. In addition to all runners being placed in corrals, runners were then filed up to the starting time mat in mini corrals, about 15 across. A systematic siren let one person from each of the 15 mini corrals go at once every 10 seconds or so. This was done to create a staggered start and prevent starting-line congestion while also being socially distant and COVID-friendly. Personally, I liked this method – it was quick, spacious, and they even placed a photographer right out the gate to get a clear shot of each runner taking off!

The runners of both the half and full marathon took off at the same time and ran together on the course for the first 8.5ish miles before splitting off. The course starts running north before turning down University Avenue until about mile 2.5. From there, runners turn north up 30th Street and weave around Mountain View Dr. in Normal Heights. At mile 6, start a square zig-zag down toward East San Diego reaching the full and half marathon split off point. Half marathon runners continued south heading into Balboa Park around mile 10 for a nice, fast descent toward B Street. The final mile runs east, finishing at Union Street. After the course split, those who chose to run the full marathon headed back west and weaved their way all the way out to Mission Bay, turning around just outside of SeaWorld. Runners then headed east toward Linda Vista before turning south down through Balboa Park and to the Union Street finish line.

I noticed something interesting once the course split. There were numerous signs and a man with a bullhorn notifying runners of the split, however, numerous full marathon runners missed the info and kept running with the half, only to discover their error MILES later! Many had to turn around, run BACK to the split and THEN continue with the rest of the course! With that being said, this may be the most important tip of this race – watch where you’re going!!!

The real magic of this race came from the course atmosphere. There were 20 race-sponsored music and entertainment groups along the courses and numerous local organizations and people coming out to entertain and cheer on runners! Some of my favorites included a Tom Cruise Top Gun impersonator at mile 2, a Ron Burgundy impersonator at mile 6, a drag show at mile 1.5, and the hard rock band around mile 11! As for “unofficial” entertainment, there were cheer squads, local clubs, and my personal favorite, the homes on Mountain View Dr who turned their driveways into run-through bars, pouring shots for runners as they passed! That was my only “aid” stop of the day, and it was the best!

A big race comes with an even BIGGER after-party, and this one did not disappoint! Finishers received NUMEROUS post-run snacks and fluids upon crossing the finish line, as well as multiple photo opp stops for race photographers to take a photo of you basking in your victory! From there, runners were directed down the hill toward the waterfront where the party was in full swing! There was a selection of live music, as well as numerous tents and booths from the expo back to support the runners. Racers were also treated to a post-run beer garden hosted by the weekend’s sponsor, Heineken 0.0. All runners received a free non-alcoholic Heineken beer, with alcoholic Heineken varieties available for purchase. There was also an official RnR pop-up shop as well as a tent for runners to get their medals engraved. It was a TON of fun!

-WHAT YOUR SIGNS! This feels like a weird request but I was SHOCKED at the number of full marathon runners I saw on the back part of the half course who had mistakenly taken the wrong turn and had to run all the way back to split to continue on the right course. So unless you love the idea of running an ultra, take a look at the map before race day to make note of the split placement and WATCH FOR THE SIGNS!
- All runners are required to show a proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-test within the last 72 hours prior to participating in the race or entering the expo. This rule also applies to any guests attending the expo with you,
- If you visit the Heineken booth at the expo, they will check your ID in advance and provide you with a wristband that will allow you to skip the ID check at the post-race beer garden!

Final Thoughts:
From the on-course entertainment and crowd enthusiasm to the pre-race expo and post-race festival, this race was big, bold, and oh so much FUN! I’ve been bit by the Rock ‘n’ Roll bug, and I now see what all the hype is about! Can’t wait for my next RnR race!

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