As many of you know I unsuccessfully ran a marathon in Nashville in April. This post is not about my lack of success but rather the race itself.
First of all, you can expect a pretty solid experience from any event in the Rock N Roll race series, some of the races can be pricey, but I have found that 1) if you sign up early enough you can decrease costs (and typically use/find coupon codes), 2) the price is still worth it.
Well it’s worth it if you enjoy big races with a ton of spectators and people around you. If you’re more a fan of local small races… well these are usually bigger.
In a lot of the larger cities (Chicago, Nashville, etc you will find a lot of the entry is going towards permits for road closures, etc.
Also, these event are well organized and usually have apps you, family, and friends can use to a) get more info about locations/events b) runner tracker/tracking c) check results, and d) get Event Updates
Now, living in the Mid West I’ve never really needed to rely on the Event Alert System where color/colored flags are used it indicate the general safety of an event. Again living and running in Chicago and Michigan, it’s always been green, maybe yellow in August.
Never red, never talk of an event being cancelled. However, as I rolled into Nashville with Pat and the in-laws, I was getting inundated with emails reminding me of the hot forecast, to hydrate, and run smart. Over the next 24-36 hours these emails evolved from that to encouraging participants to drop down to the half.
Even at the expo, I was able to easily move up my start corral to start earlier and beat the heat. This was a huge bonus in my opinion, as some of you know changing a start corral can be darn near impossible for some races.
Speaking of the expo, it was typical of a race that size, it was very large, there were a ton of booths. I had Pat and my in-laws with me, and they were totally blown away. I’ve been to my fair share of expos and I have to say this was really nice- there were a ton of people, but there was also a ton of space.
Again at the expo there were plenty of people reminding you that you could drop down to the half, or any shorter distance, and providing points for the marathon runners on how they could get finish earlier if they needed to.
So my one and only “complaint” was the gear check on race day, and the general traffic jam of humans it caused trying to get to the start line. Gear check consisted of moving trucks as we started downtown on Broadway, but finished at Nissan Stadium. Depending on the direction you came from you had to pass the start, drop your gear, then back track back to your corral entrance.
This is where things got tricky.
There were so many people, and there was just bottleneck after bottleneck.
Fortunately I reunited with my friend Lizzy and we were able to commiserate together, and ultimately find our friends.
The race itself (despite the heat) was awesome. The crowd support was fantastic, my favorite was the 12 South Neighborhood – where people where brunching and boozing as we went by. In addition to the crowd support was the immense number of police officers and first responders on the course.
It was a hot day, and the race directors and city of Nashville were prepared. In addition to this there were added misting, and sponge stations, to at least attempt to get cooled off.
Unfortunately these officers and first responders had to move into action quite a bit, as I saw far too many people pass out. But countless volunteers and first responders were jumping to action.
The course itself is a bit hilly- especially as you run away from the start line (so away from the river) as you return it’s more downhill, and as you approached the stadium you had one last hill.
In terms of swag: if you finished the marathon (and bless your heart if you did) you received a water resistant Finishers’ Jakcet, everyone got a Brooks tech T, and the medals were pretty awesome too (they light up)!!
The post race finishers area was very spread out, which was nice, the beer tent was very large, and there were options for food in the form of various food truck vendors.
In closing, this was a great race, I don’t feel it’s fair to say a race is bad or not fun because of the weather. The city of Nashville and the race directors brought their A-game to ensure a safe and fun course. In fact kudos to whoever came up with where the marathon and half split- it was ideal at least for me, because by that point I was a) able to make up my mind that 13.1 was all I was up for and b) I was able to position Pat and the in-laws nearby to let them know I’d be dipping out early.
My only advice would be, maybe not make this a “goal race” and plan to make a fun weekend out of the race as opposed to running a specific time- especially if you live in a cooler climate!!
And also, in case you didn’t know, there’s A LOT to do in Nashville. So I’d recommend this race as well as a trip to the city.