Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Comparing Rock n Roll Races ( not all are considered equal)

After running the Rock n Roll Virginia Beach race for the past three years, I wondered if all the Rock n Roll races were just as fabulous. As you know from yesterday's post, I got to run the Rock n Roll Philadelphia race last weekend.  Now I can see what the difference is between the same race series in a different city.

 
I will say I am partial to Virginia Beach since I used to live there for several years. My friends would always say "Nothing like paying to run in your own city where you run everyday". 

 So lets compare Apples to Apples, shall we....?

The Rock n Roll series is all about the bands and the concerts.
 
In Virginia Beach your race bib gets you in to all the concerts throughout the weekend. What is so special about Rock n Roll Virginia beach is that the race weekend is held in conjunction with the American Music Festival. The Music Festival Starts with bands on the Main Stage ( on the beach) Friday evening, Saturday evening, and Sunday evening and then the Headlining Act on Sunday Night after the race. Throughout the weekend there are other bands that play on the other stages along the ocean front then of course on race days there are some smaller bands that play along the course. Even if you are not running any of the races that weekend, you can still buy a ticket to any of the concerts that take place on the main stage. That is what our friend did this year when we went to see Train play.

 I like that the main concert after the half marathon is later that evening.  This gives you time to go back and relax before returning refreshed and ready to enjoy the show. Others may disagree. Depending where you are staying it may be too much to come all the way back to enjoy the concert. But personally for me, I don't like sticking around after the race. I want to eat more than a post race banana, take a hot Epson salt bath, and get off my feet.

In Philadelphia there is no Music festival going on. There are several small bands along the course and then the main concert is right after the race on Sunday. I did not stick around to watch the show.
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Parking
 
In Virginia Beach, I don't believe finding parking is an issue. I have always been fortunate enough to be able to ride my bike though.  Even if you do have to pay for parking it usually is a set rate for the day, not hourly. There is always free parking at the Convention Center. If you park here, you are right at the start line but are a few blocks from the finish line. In the past there has been a shuttle to drive people from the ocean front back to the convention center if you didn't want to walk. 

Philadelphia is another story. Parking will always be an issue. I can understand having to pay to park race morning ( which we did have to do) but to have to pay to park just to walk in to the expo to pick up your race packet  is ridiculous.  Especially for those people who plan to go right in and right out!
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Corrals
 
I think the starting line was a bit more congested at Virginia Beach. I think it was a bit smaller of an area than in Philadelphia. The lines for the port o potties at VA Beach race start are always SO long.

There was more room in Philly for all the corrals. I think there were 21 of them. The issue was getting into your corral for those who waited until the last minute. I saw people crawling in between the gates just to get to their corrals.  On the other hand, there was no problem getting to a port o potty. Maybe they had more potties in Philly then they did in VA Beach?

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The Course

Throughout both races I felt the bands didn't disappoint. There were bands every few miles in Virginia Beach and in Philadelphia. There was even a band there with saxophones singing the Philly anthem "Fly Eagles Fly". Other than that, I didn't hear much of the other bands just because I zone out listening to my own music. 

Both courses were fairly flat, which was nice.
In Philly, it was pretty neat to run pass historical sites such as Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin's grave, Franklin Institute, and the Liberty Bell.


And How about finishing the race in front of the iconic Rocky stairs? pretty Cool!
 
 
But then again, there is nothing like a Boardwalk finish at Virginia Beach and enjoying a refreshing dip in the ocean after the race.
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Weather

Obviously weather is something that we can't control, but when we sign up for RnR VA Beach, we know it's always going to be hot. VA Beach is always over Labor day weekend, so hot and humid is just part of the race.
RnR Philadelphia is three weeks after VA Beach so I thought it would be cooler, but it was actually a bit warmer than what I thought it would be. I wore a tank top and didn't even need to have a long sleeve in the beginning. When I woke up it was already in the high 60's. By the time the race started it was in the 70's. A bit humid, but it was overcast with a slight breeze which was prefect for me.
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Challenges and Bling
 
Both of these races offered the Remix Challenge.
In Virginia Beach the Challenge was to run the mile in the sand on Saturday ( which was a lot harder than it sounds) and then the half on Sunday.  If you ran both, you walked away with three new medals.

In Philly the remix challenge was a 5K on Saturday and the Half on Sunday. Again, if you did the challenge you got three medals.
Mile on the beach, Remix, and 1/2marathon medals for VA Beach. Bell to Beach and 1/2 marathon medals for Philly

There was a bonus this year. If you ran both VA beach and Philly, You got the Beach to Bell Medal!
All the medals I've earned from these races are fabulous! Rock n roll gives out some great medals.

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In 52 days I will be participating in yet another Rock n Roll Re-mix challenge when I run RnR Las Vegas!  Have you seen the super cool medals?

They glow in the dark. RnR medals never disappoint, no matter what city you get them in!

Have you ever ran the same race series in multiple cities? ~L

39 comments:

  1. The only RnR race I've done was in Nashville which I feel like is probably the epitome of these races when it comes to the music at least.

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    1. My best friend and cousin live there, so Nashville is definitely on my bucket list.

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  2. Congrats on completing both races this weekend and interesting comparison. You are going to love Vegas-it was so much fun and entertaining. Hope you are going to come up and do RnR DC in March too!

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    1. I am very excited for Vegas. I have heard some mixed reviews on that one, but I am optimistic!

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  3. Interesting to read the differences between different RnR races. I'm thinking of doing the one in DC next year.

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    1. That'd be fun! That is the same weekend for Shamrock in Va Beach though, so I am always partial to that. Although it'd be nice to do a different one.

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  4. That bling is pretty sweet, and it glows in the dark? Just like Vegas.

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    1. No my Beach to Bell doesn't glow in dark. I believe it's only the Vegas ones!

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  5. Love the bling! Although I don't know if I will ever get the chance to do either of these two RnR races, I definitely want to do one somewhere! I think they have races here in Texas but I'll have to double check!

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    1. Yeah I know right! The bling is getting right up there with Disney:)

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  6. Love the bling! I shared on twitter and G+.

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  7. So you got your Beach to the Bell right there?? That's pretty neat -- you used to have to wait for it to come in the mail like all of their other "special" medals!!

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    1. Yeah I know, how cool? I thought I would have to for that one too. But I was glad you didn't have to wait for it. It kind of defeats the glory of it when you receive it weeks later, like I am for my heavy medals ones.

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  8. I've done Rock and Roll in San Diego (twice), Los Angeles, Las Vegas(three times) and Seattle. I hear you on paying to park at expos. In Seattle, it cost $20! There really was no option as the expo was inside a sports arena that was kind of away from everything else. I've only ever done a post race concert once. That was in Vegas when Brett Michaels was playing. Their medal designs have gotten better, but they're still kind of hit and miss. Sometimes they have contests where participants can design them. They did that with LA this year. Those seem to have a little more style than the ones Competitor designs themselves.

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    1. I didn't know there were contests for the design of the medals. Well I guess that explains why they have been pretty cool lately.

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    2. I don't know if all of them do that or only some. I've seen a few, though.

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  9. I love that the races are all about music. Sounds like my perfect kind of race!

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    1. Yeah there are many bands along the whole course during the race. I feel like one time I should just leave my ipod at home and take it all in:)

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  10. I haven't done anything any RnRs yet but I have had many friends say they aren't all the same. Strongly considering DC and either Philly or VA. Thanks for comparison.

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    1. Your welcome. Hope this helps with your decision making.

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  11. I have never done a Rock n Roll event. I love the bling! Running on sand is really hard! I went to VA Beach last weekend but I didn't get to enjoy a run just a bike ride :)

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    1. A bike ride on the boardwalk I hope:) Yes I agree, the sand run was pretty tough, but alot of fun.

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  12. I thought Rock 'n Roll Dublin was just as good as Virginia Beach. It was a much faster race with serious runners too.

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    1. I think it would be so fun to do an International race!

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  13. I haven't done a race series in different cities, but I bet it would be really fun! I have wanted to run a RnR race, there is one in Rhode Island, which isn't too far from me, but the timing just never worked out, I think running and hearing bands play would be fun!

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    1. I am sure people really enjoy it that run without their music. Maybe one day I will be able to.

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  14. I ran the Denver Rock 'n Roll marathon. When I finished it, I talked to a friend who ran it, too, and the Houston Marathon, like I had done, too. Surprisingly, we both thought the Houston Marathon had more music than Denver did along the race route.

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    1. That's funny. I'm sure each city has different criteria they have to follow. Maybe that's why there are many differences.

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  15. I've only done the Chicago race for Rock 'n' Roll, but the medals are so awesome, I'd really like to do more next year if I can. I was hoping to squeeze in another city this year to get the Midwest medal, but was busy the weekends they were on.

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    1. A Midwest medal, how cool! There are so many great races out there. It's hard to choose which one to do, especially when some are on the same weekends.

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  16. Great review. I've only done RNR DC and one 6 years ago in Phoenix and I really can't compare. We may be headed to Vegas the weekend of thr race, I'm thinking of signing up if we do go!!

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  17. good comparison -- can't wait to hear about when you run vegas!

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  18. Looking forward to Vegas! Excited but a little nervous since I've never done a night race.

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  19. I think RnR D.C. is more like Philly - a few bands along the route, one at the finish, and the usual D.C. logistics.

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  20. I would always hear a mix of opinions on RnR and then after a while I figured out it was location centric. I have consistently always heard GOOD about VA Beach from everyone I know who's run it. That's why it's "on the list" to run. Just need to get it to align since its a travel race for me. I think I may plan on RnR in DC next year since that's local for me (local as in short drive then metro).

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  21. Virginia Beach looks like a lot of fun! I'm honestly tired of Philly...being a resident, it just doesn't excite me anymore. RnR really has the best medals.... the Vegas one looks fantastic!

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  22. I ran RnR Vegas this past November, and I highly recommend it! They close down the entire strip - only runners are allowed on the street, so you get to see the strip in a totally new and unique way - it was amazing. The course is completely flat, which I've heard some people had issues with, but helped me get a great PR. The bands on the course were good, but honestly the main draw/attraction is all the hotels/activities on the strip.
    If you've read reviews or recaps on the race, you've probably heard that the loop off the strip (about miles 7-9, if I remember right) are dark and kind of sketchy, which is kind of right. The first part of this loop is still Las Vegas Blvd, but past all of the main strip hotels. There's still streetlights/businesses around - we ran past the Pawn Stars shop! - and Vegas residents on the sidewalks, but they were all very supportive and cheered us on. The second part is a residential area before you get to Old Vegas. It was quiet and no one was around, but they put floodlights so it wouldn't be dark, and I personally found it kind of nice to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the strip to focus on the running; I didn't feel unsafe at all during the time.
    All in all, it was a great race! I really hope you try it out!!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.