- 3 miles/5K, 5 miles/8K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
This was my first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, and this new course through beautiful Balboa Park was a great start to kick off the weekend!
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. Specifically for the 5k pick-up, corrals were being assigned as your received your bib based on the estimated finish time you provided during registration. When I was handed my bib, I didn’t have a corral number on it, but I didn’t think much of it and went to the next booth. I ran this race with my mom, and she DID receive a corral, so we ended up having to visit the race solutions table to make sure she and I were placed in the same corral. The fix was simple and easy thanks to the helpful volunteer! (One thing that was a bit tricky about this pick-up was that, despite the bag check tag printed on the bib, the 5k did NOT offer a bag check.) 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!
The next morning, we took an Uber to the start line since we did not drive to San Diego. That being said, the race had plenty of parking available RIGHT next to the start line for FREE! A runner’s dream! We had no issue getting to the starting line since the race corrals and start were situated in the parking lot, but we also added extra time to get there. The announcers at the starting line were fired up and playing music to get the crowd excited for the race!
This race marked a number of firsts for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego 5k. First, 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!
This 5k also marked the debut of a new course. Starting at Inspiration Point, runners ran west, turning north just before reaching the site of the Comic-Con Museum and heading north, passing the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and turning through the courtyard outside of the San Diego Museum of Art. Runners followed the curving path left, running down El Prado and crossing Cabrillo Bridge to reach Mile 1. From here, the course made a giant loop down 8th Avenue and Balboa drive, turning left onto Juniper Road and heading north around the perimeter of the park until the course turned right on Upas avenue and returned down Balboa drive for a finish near Redwood Circle.
In terms of course support, there was a water station around the halfway point as well as numerous volunteers. There were also a ton of spectators supporting racers from the sidelines, and even an entire cheerleading team showed up to cheer on runners down El Prado just before crossing the bridge!
Racers crossing the finish line were created with tons of post-run snacks and water, as well as a 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. The party was completed by a DJ playing music for everyone to dance to and enjoy at the afterparty!
- 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,
- Despite the bag check tag printed on the bib, there is NO bag check available for this race, so plan accordingly and pack light!
- This course is almost entirely inside Balboa Park, so watch out for things such as uneven pavement, or tree debris while running along the path.
- 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!
This stress-free and fun race (with it’s post-run beer garden) was such an awesome way to kick off the weekend and for an out-of-towner like me, a great opportunity to see the sights of beautiful Balboa Park!