Review: Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon (March 14, 2015)

The Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon happens in Washington DC around the second weekend in March.  The race is early in March and you can get some pretty rough weather.  In 2015, temperatures were in the 50s and it rained.  Start time was 7:30am and after about 90 minutes it started raining pretty hard.  The half and the full run the first 13 miles together and it sucked for the full people who had to turn right.

Packet pickup was a pain for this race.  You can pick up for yourself and one other person.  You can pick up for four more people but there is a $20 fee for each person.  They also email you a slip/form that you need to fill out to get your packet.  Rock ‘n’ Roll sends you a barrage of marketing emails after you register and its tempting to mark them as spam.  DON’T you need that slip/form.  There is cheap parking on the street a couple blocks from the expo, don’t be tempted by the expensive paid lots.  I’m sure you could metro in but I don’t know the stops off the top of my head.

On race day, I took the Orange Line from Arlington, VA to the “Federal Triangle” metro stop and the station was packed with runners.  There are 5k, half and full marathons available and thousands come out for this event.  Best way to get home is a Red Line train from Stadium Armory (about a half mile walk from the finish).

I loved this race.  The weather sucked but that was just bad luck.  There were puddles all over the road and I told myself at the start I wasn’t going to get my feet soaked all the way through until the sixth or seventh mile.  At mile .5 there was some frantic positioning to avoid a puddle and a guy who felt like he was 6′ 6″ / 260 slammed me into a 3 inch puddle.  This is racing.

You start on the North side of the National Mall and run past the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial before crossing the Memorial Bridge to the gates of Arlington Cemetery.  I felt a really strong connection to history and took my time the first three miles.

On the way to mile four you run past the Kennedy Center along the Potomac River.  Mile marker 4 is just outside my high school crew boathouse.  From there, the course follows Rock Creek Parkway on a run I did once a week in high school.  The course has some pretty tough hills from miles 6-9.  I ran the hill at mile 6 probably 100 times with my high school crew team and was riding a nostalgia high the whole way.  I loved every second of that hill.  They were giving out GU or some sort of liquid carb/caffeine at the top of the hill and there was a jam band.  Wouldn’t be my music choice after an epic hill but whatever.  After the hill, you run through some cool DC neighborhoods including Adams Morgan and Howard University.

This is a big event so they had the setup for a big finish party but the weather was so miserable nobody stuck around.  Make sure you keep track of your thermal blanket.  The metro is far.  I ran the first 3 miles at 9:06 and the last 3 at 7:06 with overall splits at 8:07 for a time of 1:46:23.  I love half marathons and this one was no exception!  Hope to cya at the finish line next year!

Courtesy Rock 'n' Roll DC
Courtesy Rock ‘n’ Roll DC

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