- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, Other
- Road Race
Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!
I really enjoyed my third Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon! This race is very well-organized, and it's a large event, but from my perspective, it seemed to go off without a hitch. The course did have to be changed slightly, but everything was well-marked. I also received plenty of communication from Rock 'n' Roll via email and social media leading up to the event.
There were plenty of water stops with friendly volunteers along the course. I stopped at all of them except the last one. Although temps were in the 70s this year, it still felt hot and humid to me, and it was sunny. It is Labor Day Weekend, so that's to be expected — just be sure to hydrate ahead of time and take advantage of the water stops.
The course is also filled with entertainment. There are numerous bands along the course, cheer groups that come out, and locals that come out and support the runners. One in particular I remember year to year is the Croatan Pop Stop, where people hand out ice pops — much appreciated on a hot day!
Half marathon runners also get free access to the American Music Festival, and 5K runners get access to the Sunday night concert. This year's Sunday night performers were Dashboard Confessional and +Live+.
I do think the music festival ticket is awesome, but I'm not sure if that counts as "swag" or just a perk. I'll count it as "swag" and give that a "4." I thought the shirt was OK. I'm a little tired of gray race shirts, and I loved some of the shirts at the expo, so it would have been cool to have one of those colors/designs as the race shirt. There was also a nice finisher medal, and plenty of opportunities to earn additional medals by completing additional Rock 'n' Roll races, both during this weekend and during other events.
It's fun to run through Pacific and Atlantic Avenues, and the boardwalk finish that goes alongside the beach is amazing! I gave the scenery a "4" just because parts of the middle are not overly scenic. The course is very flat; there is one bridge that runners go out and back on. I'm from a flat area, so I could tell it was a hill, but it definitely was not that bad of a hill.
The expo was easy to move through and I got my bib and shirt without any problems. I didn't think there was anything especially exciting about this year's expo, but I didn't really want to buy much anyway.
I stayed at an oceanfront hotel, so I had a short walk to the start. That's why I didn't rate parking/access.
Afterward, runners can relax on the beach. The finish line band performed near the boardwalk this year rather than on the beach. I preferred the beach performance, but I assume there was a reason it was moved.
I'll be back next year! This is a fun race to have as part of my annual schedule.