Runs and Places

Friday 5: My Top Five Rock n Roll Series Races

Last week, one of my Instagram followers asked me what my favorite Rock n Roll Marathon Series race was.  That’s a tough question to answer since there are a number of races in this series that I’ve enjoyed running over the years.  So I figured I would list my top 5 below.  If you’ve done one of these, or you’re thinking about doing one, I’d love to hear your thoughts:

5. Rock n Roll DC (March, 2014)

Capitol Building - Rock n Roll DC

Yeah I know that the Marine Corps Marathon is probably the number one race that people think of when they think about running in Washington, DC.  But there’s a lot to love about this one too.  It starts in front of the Smithsonian and the course passes by a number of monuments and historical areas and also goes through part of Arlington National Cemetery and downtown DC.  There’s also plenty of public transportation available in and around the city, which makes it easy to get to and from the start and finish lines on race day even if you aren’t staying downtown.  You’ll also have plenty of sightseeing opportunities during your stay.

4. Rock n Roll Seattle (June, 2013)

Space Needle - Rock n Roll Seattle

This is the hilliest race in my list.  Be ready for your quads to feel like they’re on fire by the time you cross the finish line of this one.  Hills aside, you won’t be able to beat the scenery.  The course starts and ends at the space needle and goes through parts of downtown Seattle and along sections of Puget Sound.  You’ll see a nice mix of cityscape and natural beauty during the run and the weather in Seattle in June is pretty mild.  There’s plenty to see and do around town while you’re there and Seattle is another city with public transportation that’s so excellent that you’ll probably be able to skip the rental car if you don’t want to worry about driving. You’ll also be hard pressed to beat the seafood you can get in some of the restaurants around town.

3. Rock n Roll New Orleans (March, 2012)

Mardi Gras World - Rock n Roll New Orleans

This Mardi Gras themed race has a flat, fast course that passes by a number of old Antebellum Era houses and buildings in and around New Orleans.  It’s also timed to be the weekend before Mardi Gras each year and the course overlaps with some of the parade routes, so be prepared to see spectators standing alongside the course throwing beads to runners.  Look out for some great street musicians and beautiful architecture too.  The race fell on my birthday the year I did it, which made it even more fun.

2. Rock n Roll Savannah (November, 2013)

Forsyth Park - Rock n Roll Savannah

Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the Southeastern United States.  It was also one of the first cities established in the US and held historical significance in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Rock n Roll Savannah has a beautiful course that takes runners past a lot of the monuments around town, features flat terrain and shady, tree lined streets, and finishes with a huge post race party in Forsyth Park.  Savannah has a variety of great restaurants and pubs as well as being one of only a handful of cities in the United States where people are allowed to walk around downtown with open liquor.  You can also head to Tybee Island after the race and check out the lighthouse and sea turtle nesting grounds near the beaches.

1. Rock n Roll Philadelphia (September, 2014)

Liberty Bell - Rock n Roll Philadelphia

I took an informal poll and pretty much everyone who has done Rock n Roll Philadelphia agreed that it’s the best race in the series.  Philadelphia is a world class city and also one of the most historic places to visit in the United States.  This race is well organised, with a flat, fast course that goes through downtown Philadelphia, passes by the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia City Hall along with a number of other historic locations before heading past Boathouse Row and along the Schuylkill River Trail and finishing in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A lot of runners also like to run up the art museum steps after crossing the finish line the way Sylvester Stallone did in the first Rocky movie.

So there’s my list… I know there are a number of other good Rock n Roll Series races so if I missed any or if you don’t agree with my choices, feel free to let me know in the comments section below.  Have a great weekend!

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