The Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon boasts one of the most beautiful half marathon courses around, and all the beautiful details are in this race recap.
I received complimentary entry into this race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team. All opinions are my own.
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It’s hard getting back to reality after a long weekend, isn’t it? It’s especially hard when you just spent four days in a city as awesome as Savannah.
Guys, Savannah is amazing. It’s definitely on my list of best-cities-in-the-US-according-to-Nicole. I could go into detail of all the things there are to do, see and eat there, but that’s a post for another day. Today, I’m going to focus on the Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon.
My friend Jess and I arrived in Savannah late Friday morning. After stopping for a quick lunch and some much needed coffee, we headed straight for the expo. Fortunately, our cab driver from the airport mentioned that we’d have to take a ferry to the expo. I’m so glad he did! Had he not, we probably would have been both confused and lost.
I could be wrong, but I didn’t remember seeing any communication that mentioned having to take a ferry to the expo. Indeed, the Savannah Convention Center is on a little island across the Savannah River. It’s easy to get to so long as you know where you’re going!
After a quick ferry ride over to the expo (it really only takes 5 minutes) , Jess and I grabbed our bibs. I had to go over to the solution desk because I was registered under my maiden name, but my ID has my new married name. I had the same issue when I ran Rock’n’Roll Philly. It was an easy fix, and before long, I had my bib.
Brooks always has a fun GIF booth at Rock’n’Roll expos, so we got our gif on and did some shopping.
Yes, I actually hung out and shopped around an expo. I rarely do that, but I spotted a cute Brooks Running tank and wanted to pick up some arm warmers. Savannah weather had changed quite a bit from when I packed my suitcase Thursday night to when we arrived Friday morning, and race day was predicted to be a bit chilly at the start. I stupidly didn’t pack a throwaway layer, so I figured arm warmers would be a good investment.
The expo wasn’t huge, so we did a quick lap, I got my arm warmers and we headed out to check in to our vacation rental.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Our original plan was to buy things to make a pasta dinner, but the first little grocery we went to didn’t have any gluten free options. We were about to hike to a grocery store further away (begrudgingly since we really wanted to spare our legs before the race), when we spotted a pizza place that had gluten free pizza. Done and done. We got pizza and salads and headed back to our apartment for dinner.
We ate (the pizza was just ok but did the trick), we got our flat selves ready and we called in an early night.
THE MORNING OF
I popped out of bed when my 6:15 alarm went off. I got dressed, ate my usual pre-race oatmeal and banana, and Jess and I were ready to go just after 7am. Our rental was only about a quarter mile or so from the start of the race, so we figured if we used the bathroom at our apartment just before leaving, we wouldn’t have to deal with porta potty lines.
Our plan worked like a charm. We got to the race, got into the corals at about 7:20am, and at 7:30 on the dot, we were off!
Both half and full marathoners start together, so it was a little crowded at the beginning. That was to be expected with a race of that size, though. Jess had been training with the run/walk method (with 4 minutes of running and :30 seconds of walking) and wanted to stay within a 9:30-9:45 pace. I played the role of Jess’ personal pacer and made it my mission to help her stick to her goal.
We started on Bay Street near city hall and ran toward West Savannah. The crowds were wonderful at the starting line, and as we turned onto more residential streets, people were cheering from their porches. It was so nice to see all the locals out cheering us on!
After doing a little residential tour, we ran our way through the historic district, which is simply stunning. We passed many of Savannah’s quaint town squares, ran down beautiful streets shaded by large Spanish moss-covered oak trees and past countless historic homes and charming neighborhoods. All the while, bands were filling us with energy and entertainment. I think there were more bands along this course than any other Rock’n’Roll race I’ve done. At least it felt like it. I never needed to put my music on!
I rolled down my arm warmers around mile 5 and soaked in how beautiful the day was. It was about 50 degrees (perfect for running) and sunny. The sun was a challenge at times. It shone right in our eyes around mile three making it hard to see much of anything. I was a little nervous I’d trip in a pothole or uneven patch of road, but fortunately neither happened. That said, the sun made the course even more beautiful and helped warm us up a bit.
My favorite part of the course was running out and back along Oglethorpe drive. Usually, I dislike any form of out and back, but Oglethorpe is lined with old buildings and gorgeous trees. The sun glistened through the leaves and the Spanish moss. It was magical, and it was so beautiful I was happy to get to run it twice.
Another great thing about this course: it’s flat. Very flat. I only remember one very small, very short hill around mile 11.5. Flat courses can be boring sometimes, but because this course was so pretty the flatness was just an added luxury.
I felt like the race flew by. Not a single mile seemed too long (there’s usually at least one or two miles that mentally seem to go on forever), and before I knew it, Jess and I were approaching the finish line. We crossed with an official time of 2:07:06. A 9:42 pace. Mission: accomplished.
Rock’n’Roll always has a ton of snacks at the finish line. I kept it simple with a water and a banana while Jess grabbed pretzels and a Gatorade. It was pretty chilly out after the race. Jess and I both wished the Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon handed out heat sheets at the finish line. We stretched, took some pics and headed to a nearby coffee shop in search of warmth and celebratory caffeine instead of hanging around for the post-race headliner.
What else can I not wait for? Another race in Savannah! I’ve already been researching when I can go back to run this beautiful city again, and I may just have to run the Rock’n’Roll Savannah Half Marathon again!
OVERALL ROCK’N’ROLL SAVANNAH HALF MARATHON PROS:
- simply stunning course
- music entertainment along the course
- flat & pr-able
- post-race swag
- fun medal
OVERALL ROCK’N’ROLL SAVANNAH HALF MARATHON CONS:
- could have had better communication about how to get to the expo
- wish they’d had heat sheets post-race
Rock’n’Roll has races all over the country! If you find one you’re interested in, RNRRNB2018 will get you $15 OFF any US or Montreal Rock’n’Roll Half or Full Marathon (excluding Vegas).
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What’s the prettiest race course you’ve encountered?