Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series

Whenever my body decides to comply with my mind and functions as one entity instead of two is usually when I start to love running.
Most things are usually easier that way- there’s nothing worse than an argument between your mind and your body, and it leaves you feeling like a crazy person.
Body: “I’m feelin’ good today-go for a run!”
Mind: “Hell-to-the-no! It is COLD outside!”

These past few weeks, my body and mind have been getting along, which makes things in the running world a lot easier.
Along with great training runs comes the race-bug in which I’m constantly on a running high and just want to register for every single race I set my sights on. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

So when I sit down in front of the computer with Stephen and he hands me his credit card -he’s the best ;)- to sign up for our half marathon, mysteriously, I kept stumbling upon more races that sounded so appealing to me. He kind of gave me a look like “No, we are not running 25 races before our half marathon- mostly because I’m not ACTUALLY made of money and ARE YOU CRAZY!?”
Fine. So in an attempt to not break his bank account, I settled for our half marathon in April and a 10k in February. It’s a Cupid Race the day before Valentine’s day, and if you’re in a relationship, you register as a team. Kinda cute! So I’m excited.

I came across the Rock’n’Roll Marathon and Half Marathon series website during my race search.
A race in Madrid, Spain!? SIGN ME THE HELL UP!!!!
A race in Las Vegas? YES!
A race in Nashville, TN?! I LOVE COUNTRY! LET’S GO!
A RACE IN MIAMI BEACH? IS THIS REAL LIFE!?

The site is just so appealing. I wanted to sign up for each and every race that I saw.
Because I had already reached my quota for the day of registering for races, I didn’t do any badgering right then and there.
A few days later, however, I told Stephen that I wanted to travel to a race next fall- my sights specifically set on the race in Denver, Colorado. He was all for it! (AKA he doesn’t want to hear me bother him about it until September so he said yes) he really is the best 🙂 (we hadn’t registered yet, though)

After reading all of the running blogs that I usually read, I saw that a lot of these lovely ladies were running the Las Vegas Rock’n’Roll marathon this past weekend! At first, from what I had read, it was an awesome weekend with lots of fun, food, drinks, and running. I WANT TO GO NEXT YEAR!!!! And then, a few days post-race, I started hearing different sides of the story.
If you’re interested in hearing some of the personal stories, here are some of posts straight off the blogs that I read:
Skinny Runner
Meals and Miles
Run Eat Repeat
Run For Fun

There’s so many more blogs that I read and ladies that ran this race, so in an attempt to not go on forever, those are some of the first reviews I read. Meghann at Meals and Miles was the first one I read that kind of tipped me off to what had gone on.
I was so intrigued and semi-confused that I went to the facebook page. 

I understand that I’m a new runner- I haven’t even been running in races for a year, so sorry in advance if my views and thoughts seems naive or uninformed, but I was so shocked when I read what those people on the facebook page had to say.

I understand that not everyone is going to have an outstanding experience at a race. Take Stephen’s sister’s boyfriend, for example, who ran the Chicago Marathon this past October. His sub-par experience, though, was no one else’s fault, and I’m sure thousands of people had an amazing time running Chicago. Of all the race recaps that I read and of all the blogs that I follow, this Las Vegas race was the first one that I read so many negative responses and unpleasant experiences

In case you want the quick recap:
-Over 44,000 runners
-Suspicions of water contamination as hundreds of people became ill around Mile 10 and were drinking the water; some of which had to be rushed to the hospital because of how ill they were
-Eventually, the water RAN OUT and people had to drop out of the race because of lack of hydration
-GU had run out at some point, so people had to drop out because of lack of energy supplies
-Medals ran out, so some people didn’t even get to walk away with a medal- that they essentially paid for
-Crazy ridiculous waiting to get away from the finish line due to lack of planning and crowd-control
-Too few medical staff, people were passing out left and right at the end and there were not enough paramedics to tend to everyone in a timely manner
-Unless you were registered under a certain group name, a portion of the money that you paid that is supposed to go to the Colitis and Crohn’s disease DID NOT GET DONATED. I think that this may be the worst part. It’s false advertising and terrible for the people who registered, paid a large fee (over $100) and thought that at least part of it was going to better a cause.

I listened to an interview that the CEO did, and he doesn’t sound like he thinks there was a problem. He himself ran a 1:25 half marathon. In fact, he’s hoping to expand each and every race and increase the registration cap for 2012. This worries me.
As much as I would LOVE to run a race in a different state, I’m worried to pay so much money and get ripped off. Although some people had an amazing time, I’m not sure that I would be one of those people, and it’s quite the risk.

The Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series was compared to the “Starbucks of the running world” meaning they are overpriced and just a glamorized race with nothing spectacular about it, but they’re marketing in such a “sparkly” way that people are willing to pay over 100$ just to run.

I have some serious contemplating to do regarding possibly going to Colorado in September to run the half there. Perhaps I could find another race there? I’m sure I could. Unless the CEO does something about it and promises better races for the future, I’m not sure I’ll fork over that much money. I feel terrible for the people who flew all the way out to Vegas to run and had a terrible time- especially those who fell ill.

When I register for a run, I expect my money to go to whatever foundation or cause is being advertised.
I expect to get a damn medal if I’m told I’m going to get one.
I expect my water to be clean and uncontaminated and I expect to get water at every damn water stop.
I also expect medical care if I am to fall ill, god forbid.

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series

  1. Great post — as someone whose running is definitely on the rise (I’ve run 6 marathons and 22 half marathons), I can definitely say, don’t sign up for a Rock ‘n Roll Event.

    I will admit that there are some definite pro’s to the organization. They give out nice shirts, heavy medals, and since their events are pretty big you’re guaranteed a unique experience in a new city. Their website is very flashy and easily entices you into signing up for every event they have, which is basically the whole Rock ‘n Roll philosophy: flashy.

    But there are too many con’s to justify traveling to one of their races. The biggest one is price. Their races are crazy expensive compared to similarly-run local races. Unless it’s a Disney race that runs through a theme park, I refuse to pay more than $80 for a half marathon, a price that is typical of Rock ‘n Roll’s “super saver early bird special.” After that they usually skyrocket to the mid $140’s.

    Secondly, they definitely aim for quantity vs. quality. Their aim is to be the biggest race organization in the world and if they have to inflate their race field to an unsustainable size, so be it (the same applies for Chicago’s RAM Racing, organizer of the Hot Chocolate 15k series — Google the one in DC for an even worse story of a race gone horribly wrong).

    Thirdly, there’s no character to these races. Sure, they add something emblematic or iconic from each city to their logo, but other than that, each race might as well be the same in every city. Each major city in the world has a large race that you can run (though if competitor.com keeps buying them up, it’ll eventually be slim pickings) so you’re not stuck paying $150 for a run-of-the-mill half marathon. Instead, find a race that really showcases the city or the state in a unique way.

    Instead of Rock ‘n Roll Denver, do the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins, just an hour north of Denver, called amongst the most beautiful marathons in the world. Instead of Rock ‘n Roll Miami, do the ING Miami Marathon, a superbly-organized race that runs through the causeways and beaches. There are always more charming races out there for 1/2 the price and twice the character. Don’t get sucked into the overinflated, flashy event, whose focus is more invested on celebrities running than on delivering a quality race for the average runner.

    Anyway, this comment got a bit long. Hope it helps!

    • Thank you for reading and thanks for the helpful comment! I’ve already looked up all of the races you suggested and they all look fantastic- so thank you for the advice. It’s easy to get sucked into the hoopla that the Rock’n’Roll series seems to offer- but after hearing the unfortunate turn of events that seem to be common among all of the Rock’n’Roll series, and after reading your comment- I am pretty sure that I won’t do one. Thanks again!!

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