Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Rock 'n' Roll Nashville - The Race

I picked an amazing race for my 50th half marathon.  I wasn't nearly as well-trained as I wanted to be, but the gracious course time limits left me at ease and I ended up walking the latter half not only because my feet were killing me, but also because the weather was perfect and I was just enjoying being on the course and talking to other runners. This race had so many runners that you NEVER feel alone and the community support was present throughout the course.

The Expo:
The expo was held at the Nashville Music City Center in downtown Nashville.  The race information mentioned that there was parking available for $15 at the Center but due to traffic congestion downtown, we just parked in the first available lot we could find.  We ended up paying $11 for four hours and were right across the street from the expo.

The Nashville Music City Center is probably the most beautiful building I have attended an expo in.  Wow, was it beautiful both inside and out!  The hallways were wide and the exterior windows offered amazing views of Nashville.

Inside the exhibit hall, there was more than ample space for bib and shirt pick-up, merchandise, and vendor booths.  Neither Rock 'n' Roll Arizona nor Rock 'n' Roll DC had this much space for runners and their supporters to move through the expo.

Lots of space!!!

Marathon, half marathon, and 5k banners throughout the merchandise area listed the names of the participants.

The merchandise check-out area also took no time at all, despite the long line and they had tons of  great merchandise to choose from!

Shirts and more shirts
Great volunteers and staff

Why you should run this race:
  • Distances include the marathon, half marathon, 5k, and Kids Rock race.
  • Medals and shirts for all distances.
  • Emergency contact information pre-printed on the back of your bib.
  • Start line in downtown Nashville and the full and half marathon course immediately takes you down Broadway by all of the hip and trendy bars, then circles back by the Country Music Hall of Fame, down Music Row, by Belmont University, through The Gulch neighborhood, around Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, then across the bridge to the finish outside Nissan Stadium.

Party at Mile 5

You are never alone on this course!

Entering The Gulch

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
Approaching the finish
Finish Line Festival 

  • Nashville First Baptist Church opens their doors and bathrooms to runners on race day AND they offer free coffee and a stretching area!

Stretching area

Free coffee!!!

Encouragement was even found in the restroom stalls!
  • Plenty of porta potties on the course. 
  • Plenty of water and Gatorade stops along the course. 
  • Gracious course time limits. 
  • The best community support of any half marathon I have run.  Wow, does this city get involved on race day!  The community made this race so much fun.
  • Post-race snacks included bottled water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, fruit cups, bananas, cookies, pretzels, muffins, bagels, and granola bars.
  • And finally, the real reason I run.....the medal!

Suggestions for future runners of this race:
  • Train for rolling hills.  Seriously!  This course was hilly.
  • Stay downtown and walk to the start and from the finish if at all possible and especially if you are not local.  I got lost twice and then thought I had found a way around the road closures only to have to turn around multiple times before finally making it to my lot.  Leaving the parking lot after the race was also very time consuming, so just stay downtown and walk it!
  • Whether you walk or drive, train to walk at least a mile after you cross the finish line.  
  • This race gets VERY expensive if you wait too long to register.  If you register now for the 2019 race, you will get the best deal. 
  • You will be overwhelmed by restaurant options in Nashville.  I started following Nashville Eats on Instagram 6 months prior to race day, just to help me see what was available and popular in the area. 
Leaving Nashville on Sunday was sad, but we were already discussing reasons why we should come back to Nashville and when we should run this race again.  So one thing is certain - I will be back Nashville!!!

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