- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I’ve participated in several Rock ‘n’ Roll races in numerous cities, and 2017 was the first year I participated in the Seattle event. I travelled from Texas to Washington for the race.
Registration and Communication:
Registration for Rock ‘n’ Roll series races is easy through their website Competitor brand site. If you are a continuous participant of these races, your registration information will be saved which makes it easy to register for additional races.
Pre-race communication brought the surprise that the start time was moved up one hour. This was communicated through their social channels first and then email, so I recommend making sure you are following the event on social media as well.
The expo was just okay. There were some major brands typical of other Rock ‘n’ Roll expos that were missing. This was the least amount of time I have spent at a Rock ‘n’ Roll expo, which was good for my wallet but left me underwhelmed with the experience.
I had major issues with the organization and management of this event. First, the course starts in one location and ends in another. That isn’t that big of a deal (in fact, I think it’s fun!) provided there are transportation options to and from both points. The organizers recommended a race-provided shuttle from the start line (at an additional cost), suggestion taking the Link light rail, carpooling/ride sharing, and provided maps with parking suggestions. I opted for the Link light rail option and reviewed the best station and time options with a staff member at the expo. I showed up to the station and missed the first train option because it was unsafely over-packed with runners. I waited for the second train and had to jostle my way for space. When we made it to the UW station, it also became an unsafe experience with so many riders spilling out of the over packed trains and flooding the escalators.
I finally made it to the start line area with about 40-45 minutes until race started. This was later than I wanted to be there, but due to the issues with the trains it was the best I could do. I had to ask runners and volunteers where gear check was because it wasn’t immediately visible. I then had to walk over halfway around the stadium to find the gear check buses, then walk all the way back to the middle of corrals to get into the bathroom line.
Oh, the bathroom line…this is where things really went downhill. I waited over 45 minutes to use a porta potty. This is unequivocally unacceptable for a race to not have adequate bathrooms for their athletes. I missed my designated corral while standing in line. In fact, I had to run from the porta potty to the start line and I barely crossed the start line as the last corral was released. I was panicked and beyond stressed that I would have (within mere minutes) missed starting a race that I had travelled to.
Once I was finally able to start the race – and way behind my designate corral – I had a lot of bobbing and weaving to do in order to catch my stride. The course started at Husky Stadium, featured some serious hills around the Washington Park Arboretum, and took us along Lake Washington Blvd by Lake Washington with gorgeous views. Around mile 8 we turned to cross S Genesee Street and headed north on Rainier Avenue, crossed I-90, turned onto Dearborn and went UP on on-ramp within the last mile to finally end on downhill slope into CenturyLink Field.
The course had some challenging hills but was scenic and fun. There were very fun sections of supporters and bands along the course. My favorite was the Seattle Kokon Taiko Japanese ensemble drumming band and the Seattle selfie station.
Due to the bathroom fiasco at the start line, I was in tune to noticing the bathroom stops along the route. Every single porta potty station had only ONE porta potty, and there was always a line at least 10 runners long. Again, for a race of this size, the lack of facilities is completely unacceptable.
Crossing the finish line in front of CenturyLink was really fun. I liked the medals this year. The finisher’s chute shuttled tired runners along while loading you up with post-race nutrition that you always have to juggle. The finisher’s area was spread across the lawn and featured additional vendors. Gear check was again very far away, but at least I was able to sight it and knew what direction to walk in. The headliner put on a good show and kept the energy up for a group of tired-looking runners!
I really enjoyed the course, but unless several management changes are made I won’t be returning to Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle.