June 29, 2009

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon (part 1)

The Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon was this past Saturday. It was the first year for the event, and by all accounts it was a great success.

The Seattle event took over for the Seafair Marathon which had run for about 5 years, but had some significant snafus last year. I don't know if the problems lead to the switch or if plans were already in the works. Either way, the event is better for it. This year's event was almost five times as large and seemed to go off without a hitch.

There were 25,000 runner overall, including about 7,500 marathoners and 17,500 half marathoners. Another unique thing about the event was that approximately 70% of the runners were women, and there was also a pretty high percentage of first time runners. To avoid logjams of runners, they sent runners off in groups of about 800 with a minute break in between. In our own little group there were two of us running the full and four running the half. Since we were queued up by running pace and not by distance, our half and full runners were able to start together.

Friday night we headed down to the expo to pick up our racing bibs and chips, and then we headed to Bepo's for the carb-loading dinner. We had dinner at Bepo's the night before the San Diego Marathon, so it seemed like the perfect choice this time around as well. Of course we weren't the only ones with this idea, so dinner went a little farther into the night than planned.

Just like previous marathons, I spent too much time on my feet and had too little sleep in the days leading up to the event. There was no parking at the start line, so we had to take bus shuttles from Seattle to Tukwila. At the Seafair Marathon last year, there weren't enough buses and several runners didn't make it to the start line. We were understandably concerned about getting there on time, so it was going to be an early morning.

Tami was able to get a free room so four of us stayed downtown. This saved us a half hour of driving and some additional stress as we were able to walk to the shuttles. Even this early on it was apparent that this event was going to run like clockwork. There were lines of buses and several volunteers coordinating things with military precision.

We were at the start line with more than an hour to check in our gear, stretch and get in the bathroom line multiple times. The start line is always a mass of nervous/excited energy, and when the event has 25,000 runners it is something pretty special to be around. Folks laughed at our "Drunken Promises" running shirts, and we swapped stories with other runners as we milled about the starting area. David and Alyssa live pretty close to the start line, so they opted for a little extra sleep and took a cab that morning. Unfortunately with all the road closures, their trip took about twice as long as it should have, and they made it just in time.

This post is getting long, and lunch hour is over. Part 2 to come...


Anonymous said...

Can't wait for part II, and I was there! Love the recaps!

tami said...

That was me :-)