The last time I ran the Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon was 7 years ago, which was the inaugural race, held on June 27th, 2009. I still vividly remember that first year.
The racers were bussed out quite far from the start and we had to run back to the finish. That year, I ran with a group of runners from Vancouver. Our buses were stalled on the highway, so we got there late, and the potty line by this one gas station was just enormous. By the time I got to the start line to find my corral, everyone had left already. And my friend who was seeded in the second corral ended up starting with me. Only within minutes, he realized we had lined up with the 2:20 half marathoners. He was a 1:35 half, and I was a sub 2 hour half at that time. We were thinking, oh shoot, we have to catch up! Soon after, a couple other runners who were late called out my name and passed me. These were all fast runners who missed the start time because of the bus delay.
Since that inaugural year, the logistics of this event have vastly improved – even from last year, when I ran the Seattle Rock n Roll Full Marathon. Some runners said the course this year had been slightly altered. And from what I remember, I think it was because the start and finish was not at the Seattle space needle.
The excitement of a Rock n Roll event is always great. I must praise the organizers as they do such an excellent job with their expo. Lots of fun little games put on by their sponsors. For example, Geico was very innovative as they had a slot machine, and if you spun and got 3 Geicos in a row, you would win a Geico shirt, entitling you to a free massage post-race wherever their events are held. Then, Brooks, another sponsor had their Run Happy Island passport. Upon filling out a questionnaire, you received a free passport, which would be scanned by a volunteer, and then you got a choice of gifts. Lots and lots of fun. And for all runners who have run a Rock n Roll event, you’ll know that their change rooms resemble a port-a-potty! Quite funny!
Unfortunately I got to the expo late, but still managed to walk around the whole venue and participate in the games and activities mentioned above. The problem was finding a place to eat when there were so many runners. We just asked a local and they recommended the Silver Cloud Hotel, which was literally a corner away from the finish line.
Morning of the race, I woke up at 4:45, and left to get to the start. Found parking close to the start line, fortunately. All in all, I think there were 35 corrals or so…But there was no delay from one corral to the next. They all went pretty fast and operations were very efficient. The half marathoners lined up with the marathoners and 8KM racers as well.
It was so nice to run amongst a big group. Near me were a few first-time marathoners, along with people doing their first half marathon as I overheard. It was very crowded. But everyone was super excited and hyper to get going.
The day was a little cool for a mid-June race. A little cloudy as well. Luckily, it was not pouring. However, midway through the race, the the rain began falling a bit. Despite the weather, I had a great time running.
This year, Alaska Airlines was a big sponsor. There was this huge Alaska Airlines signage at the 10KM mark, containing numerous inspirations messages. That was nice.
As well, along the course there were a number of fantastic musical bands; I thought the Japanese drumming station was amazing. The roaring sound of the drums was so uplifting. There was a group of Mexican singers, four guys singing away while playing guitars. I don’t quite remember the rest of the musical bands, but I’m sure they were equally as entertaining for the other runners. The media and entertainment at Rock n Roll events typically never disappoints.
Even more, with the Rock n Roll medals, they make sure they pick a landmark within the city where their event is hosted, which really makes it different and worth running the different Rock n Roll events across the country! With this year’s medal, they added Alaska Airlines as the sponsor on their medal. See pic below.
To run with so many runners was just fun. Very different from the smaller races. It definitely didn’t feel like a race. You turn one corner, and then the next, and the next, and then we were done. I would definitely like to run other Rock n Roll races throughout the remainder of the year.
I share with you a few pictures from the expo, my medal and me finishing.
If you have never tried a Rock n Roll event, GO! Sign up for one and you will be saying the same thing as I am: Fun, fun, fun!!!