District of Columbia,
- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
This is going to be a hard review. On the one hand, the race was an experience, both good and bad. On the other, I can't blame the race for problems with my performance and complaints I have with the District, so let's just cover the race first.
I had heard of the Rock n Roll Series but never ran one of their races before. I arrived Friday and checked into the hotel and parked my car in the garage. That's one good thing about the City, you can get anywhere via the Metro or walking. I was only 2 miles from the expo so I ran over and noticed they already had signs and cones for the road closure, so the City was prepared ahead of time.
The expo was well ran. You entered and went through security then went downstairs and got your race bib. Before going back upstairs to the actual expo, you had to scan your bib and verify the info. Back upstairs, you got your shirt and gear bag, then entered the swag zone. Brooks was a big sponsor, so they had the lions share of area with shoes and finisher clothes available. I didn't pick up anything at the expo, but plan on ordering a shirt I saw off the site. Once you left you then went into part 2 where the smaller sponsors and vendors were located. I kept my tradition of picking up a new pair of socks alive and met some race reps and a couple of the brand reps of products I like. The expo was held at the DC Armory so you had bus or Metro options available for transport. I hopped the Metro and spent the rest of the day at the Smithsonian.
Race Day was a cold start but the sun was out and everyone was excited to get going. I know the announcers are supposed to mention the race sponsors but it got way to commercial sounding at times. The course takes you all over the city from the Mall, to Calvert House (watch out for that hill) then back toward the Capitol and through neighborhoods until you cross the Anacostia and run through a series of parks. There are plenty of aid stations along the course and the mile markers play music but the local community doesn't really come out. There would be long stretches of the course where you wouldn't see anyone but other runners. Other marathons I've ran in the past have had community block parties and people cheering and holding signs at every intersection. Toward the end you go through Fort Dupont Park, where there's another sizable hill.
Overall, Rock n Roll put on a great event. The course is well marked and well supported. The expo was a good size and laid out to get through easily. MY complaint is with the City. Parking lots are ridiculously priced, and there was a definite lack of community involvement.