Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#47)

Tag line: 
"Flat, Fast, and Fun!!!"
Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon ~ January 16, 2011
Phoenix to Tempe, AZ ~ Downtown Phoenix to Sun Devils Stadium
Type: 100% Road
Year Running: 8th
Registration Fee: $105-$130 Early $145 at Expo
Charity Race? Yes! list of charities found here.
Runners:  5062... Females: 2188
Available Races: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 2 Person Relay, Kids Run
Average Finish Time: 4:29:53
BQ %: 13.9%

Overall Race Ratings: 4.1/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.2/5.0
~ A typical Rock'n'Roll race with lots of people, bands, etc with nice medals. It could use a little help to be more "Arizona" from the local running community. If you're looking more for a flat, fast course, this is it! 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
The race was pretty well put together, but these large rock'n'roll marathons tend to lack a certain feel other marathons have. All of the rock'n'rolls tend to blend together and are pretty lifeless. I think a lot of this is driven by the organizers lack of involvement in the area since they're not technically from there. 

They could use a little help from local running groups/stores/etc getting the community more involved. This could also be helpful for getting spectator involvement. They also need a little help with gels/shot blocks. 1 stop is not enough at all. 

Event Organization: 4.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: Start (~6 miles from the airport) finish (~15 miles from the airport)
Rental Car Required: Yes. 
~ Leading up to the event (as with all RnR events) there was plenty of communication, news letters, emails etc with directions. No matter where you stayed, you were close to either the start or finish, which was nice. Nothing was ever too far away. The difficult part with RnR marathons is usually the shuttle/parking situations. For Arizona, they have everybody park at the finish and shuttle to the start. We got to the start in the estimated 40 minutes and had no issues parking.

Post race... I was a little peeved that there were no massage tables. The only ones available were in this "PF Changs section" that you needed to pre-sign up for. Even though it cost you nothing, they wouldn't allow people to walk up and come in. The one new thing I saw was this area with buckets to people to ice their legs/feet. It was a pretty funny sight... 
The really unusual aspect of this race was how the marathon and half were handled. Usually running with halfies can get annoying at the end as they clog up the last few miles. In this race however, they had separate start and finish areas completely that ended on each side of the post-race party. I really liked that that they were treated as 2 different races. 

Race Organization:3.9/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Lemon-lime/Cytomax & water available nearly every mile.
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  GU/Various/1 stop
~Post Race Food: .They had the typical bagels, cytomax, etc. But they also had frozen yogurt, potato chips, and dried fruit packs. 
There were plenty of aid stations and "rest stops" available on the course. It definitely would have been nice to have more than ONE GU stop... and by miles 18/19, is there really a point anymore? It also would have been great to have a little more substantial food at the end. 

I was pretty surprised at the bands on the course. RnR's advertise bands at every mile, but this was the first time I noticed how many... and they were pretty good! There were also cheering squads along the course, however... they seemed a little -- off. Their outfits weren't exactly cheer outfits, but more ripped stockings, leather jackets, etc. The course was very well marked at each mile with clocks. 

Course: 4.5/5.0
MarathonGuide Rating (NA- New Course)
Garmin Distance: 26.2
Type: 100% Road
~ Elevation Gain/Loss: 150 ft gain/ 90 ft loss
~ This flat point to point course traveled from Phoenix to Tempe and included a steady graded climb up to about 18 then a mild drop at the end. It included a lot of long straight aways, but the road would veer directions here and there so you weren't seeing miles in front of you. The direction faced west, so when the sun came up it was on our backs. This was nice, especially when it started to get really hot. The sites were essentially city and mild desert. It was cool to finish at the ASU Sun Devil Stadium. If you're looking for a flat fast, warm, course this is the one for you! 

Spectators: 3.7/5.0
~ There is a good amount of spectators at this race, but nothing crazy. Some of them did bring out food, water, alchi, etc., which was nice. 

 Pace Group: 4.9/5.0
~ The only pace group I saw was the 3:20 group. I wasn't too far behind them and their leader ran a very consistent race. They also had quite a large group around them even toward the end. 

Runner/Corrals: 4.8/5.0
~ There were corrals per usual at the rock'n'rolls. Fortunately I was able to be in the "preferred start" area right behind the elites because I was running in the corporate track and field championships. From my view the corrals worked great. The runners were very friendly along the way and at the end people were more excited than I've seen in a long time.

Expo: 4.4/5.0
The RnR races always put on a HUGE expo. All the usual characters were there: Bondi band, 1 more mile, power balance bands, etc. But they've been having a little circus-type area put on by Brooks which had running fortune telling machines, a 3 ring leader giving out running prizes, etc. One big issue I had with this marathon was the lack of parking/expensive parking in the garages in Phoenix. 

Swag: 3.9/5.0
~T-Shirts: The shirt is a loose, blue, brooks Tech-T with a cute Arizona design on the front with sunny colors. 3.7

~Medals: Similar to the RnR Seattle marathon, the medal pays homage to the host city with a cactus as well as the guitar to represent rock'n'roll. Also similar to the Seattle medal there are sparkles!!! I DO love my sparkles. 4.1
~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bag was pretty typical for RnR marathons-- lots of pamphlets, a few cliff shot block samples, as well as some body gel samples. 

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:21:05**
Place: Overall- 387/5110, Gender- 53/2209, A/G (F25-29)- 10/415
**New PR Time

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb


  1. Congrats and a fast marathon time.
    I hope some times to run that fast tinme?.
    Goodluck with your marathon race this year.

  2. I love that medal! Thanks for the race recap. I would like to run this one sometime!

  3. Congrats on an AWESOME time! Your talent and endurance is amazing!

  4. Nice review!
    So I'm taking the plunge and running NOLA RNR, against all my better judgement. I'm starting my half marathon training 2/7 and have an 8 mile run scheduled for the weekend of the race (i.e., NOT in shape for a half marathon). What I SHOULD do is stick with my plan: run 8 mi then walk/jog the rest. You mentioned you are going down with a group of ATL peeps? Do you all have a meeting place ahead of time? It would be nice for a quick bloggy hello before hand and photo. I have yet to find out my wave but I put in for 1:50 est finish, so won't be placed too far up though I'll never make that time if I walk the last 5 miles ;(
    We're staying at the W thanks to hubby's work conference so if y'all are close, could even walk to the start together.