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I registered for this Inaugural race waaayyyy back on 11-11-11 because they were having a $20 off promotion. A Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon for $60?! Sign me up! One of the biggest complaints I heard about this race (and all Rock ‘n’ Roll events actually) was the nickel and diming of the participants. Luckily for me and a few of my friends, $60 was all Rock ‘n’ Roll got out of us!

We hit up the expo on Saturday and parked at Central Cafe, where we first ate lunch. It was only about a mile walk and parking was free outside the cafe (rather than pay the $12-20 parking we saw at and surrounding Tropicana Field, where the expo was)! We took the standard expo photos:

And walked around the expo. I ran into a few friends, one I saw earlier in the day at the Saint Stephen’s Falcon Run 5K and one I hadn’t seen since a 10K a year prior! I resisted buying anything at the expo since I have just about everything I need (<— did I really just say that?!).

The course was a point-to-point with the start and finish being a couple miles apart. For this reason Rock ‘n’ Roll offered a shuttle service, for a price. I can’t remember how much the parking and shuttle ended up costing but it was more than $0. Instead we parked at my awesome coworker’s downtown condo for the price of free with a short walk (which we turned into our warm-up) to the start and an even shorter walk from the finish.

The corrals were very easy to get into and with the amount of people, I was really glad to have them. Jena, Sherry, Glenna and I all started in corral 2 but only Sherry and I stuck together. When I found out I was going to be racing the Saint Stephen’s Falcon Run 5K the day before Rock ‘n’ Roll I offered to pace Sherry, who was trying to break 2 hours. The weather was very cold but PR-worthy so I was confident that she would get there.

Chip time was 1:58:10

I had so much fun in this race! With the pace not being all out for me (conversational but not exactly comfortable) I was able to actually take in the sights and enjoy the bands/DJs along the course. The course took us around Tropicana Field, through downtown, around the Dali and then the Pier, up to Snell Isle and finally finishing in front of Vinoy Park. Sherry ran so strong and crushed her goal! Being there with her as she crossed the finish line, meeting her goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon, was very motivating!

We collected our medals and then headed off to find Jena and Glenna in the family meet-up spot. Prior to the race we had agreed to meet at the letter S but it was the only letter missing! Eventually we all found each other and headed back to the car to put on some more clothes. Jena said what we were all thinking, that it wouldn’t break her heart if we headed to brunch without returning to see the concert. So off to Cracker Barrel we went! I did hear that Flo Rida was pretty amazing but I’m not at all disappointed that we missed it.

Overall it was a great race. While I don’t agree with the extra charges that Rock ‘n’ Roll tried to tack on, I understand that they are in the business of making money. Plus I was able to participate in the event for only $60, which is very reasonable to me for a half marathon. The event was very well organized with on-time starts, well-stocked fuel stations and an easy finishers chute. Plus the medals are amazing!

That thing has some heft to it! I would consider doing this event again in the future if it fit into my schedule but I’m really hoping that someday they bring a marathon to Tampa Bay. Ya’ll know I love my 26.2!