Saturday was my first time at the Rock N Roll Marathon Series event in Nashville TN. While most are talking about the unprecedented heat (93 degrees & 86% humidity) or maybe the many hills that Nashville presented to us over the course, I want to talk a little bit about the SPIRIT of Nashville. The crowds, the volunteers, the residents, the race officials and the overall good vibe from the city as it welcomed us with open arms. And by “us”, I mean me & 25,000 of my closest friends. People further than the eye can see. This photo is as we were attempting to get to our corral for the start.
This is one of the largest Rock N Roll races in the country with only RNR Vegas being larger. If you’re a half marathoner & making your rounds, do put RNR Vegas on your list too. It’s fun & so awesome to run the Strip at night.
Finally we were into the corrals & ready to go. There were 40 or 41 corrals in order to ease congestion on the course. But the race was busy. The entire way. Both with runners & spectators.
We started out on Broadway heading east toward the river. This is otherwise known as “Music Row” and we ran past all the famed “Honky Tonks” that make Nashville & its various artists famous. If you like country music, live music or bars in general, this might be the town for you. Plenty of places to grab a drink & hear some live performers. Grab a group of friends & make a weekend out of it!
Quick trip down Broadway, then over & back up Demonbreun to pass the Country Music Hall of Fame & the new Nashville Music Center (location for expo & packet pick-up). I just love the architecture of the Nashville Music Center. One of my favorite buildings in this town, pictured below, on the left, brownish building.
Then a quick pass by the start line & all the runners still awaiting their start in the corrals.
Photo Credit: Julian Smith, visiting from England!
Next up, the Visual Arts Center & Music Square, which features Carnival Music & the RCA Studios. Thanks to Mr. Julian S. for grabbing a few photos of this area (below). This is the location of the famous “Studio B” from RCA that recorded early greats such as Elvis & Dolly Parton.
On to Belmont University (pictured below, photo courtesy of Julie Molenar), Troutt Theater, McAfree Concert Hall, Children’s House of Nashville & the Battle of Nashville Monument Park.
Between mile 5 & 6, somewhere around Gale Lane Community Park, we saw our first collapsed runner. Others had seen one down much earlier around mile 3, but by mile 5 to 6, everyone was really feeling the heat. RNR did an excellent job with aid stations that were close together. The medial teams were well staffed. Sprayer hoses, ice, cold water, Gatorade, oranges, salt packets, Glukos gels/chomps, cold towels/sponges. It was just a matter of getting from aid station to aid station. And that’s pretty much how most of us had to think about the race, just one small segment at a time.
On to 12th Avenue where there were lots of shops, restaurants, and spectators. I’ve got to give it to the spectators, residents of the city & volunteers. They were tireless (and hot too!) as they moved around to help out the runners. The neighborhoods that we ran thru were in full on party mode. Music, beer shot stations, Krispy Kreme donuts, bounce houses for the kids, local bands. It was fun, fun, fun! Another pic from Julian below of the neighborhood parties. Great selfie, Julian!
Back around Belmont University & Jane Ayres Academic Center (Julian S’ photo below), another loop thru downtown. As we headed back out of the downtown area, we caught a glimpse of the Tennessee State Capitol & then split with the 1/2 marathon runners around mile 11.5.
Shout out to the Nashville Rescue Mission for all of those cheers as we passed at 11.75 & 15.25. YOU all, rocked our run! Thank you! Then we rejoined the half marathoners at mile 16. That’s when reality really hit. We could see probably 1000 or more people on the half marathon side, all walking. Not one runner. Just a sea of people in good humor walking & talking. Heading toward their finish line.
I was a bit surprised that we had so many people on our side for the full marathon. It wasn’t packed like the side for the half, but there were still a quite a few toughing it out with us. We were never alone. Those of us who ran the full got a special treat too as we were able to loop the field at First Tennessee Park.
Next up, Musicians Hall of Fame & Woodland Street. The finish line was off Woodland in the Nissian Stadium. We said good bye to the half runners for the final time around mile 17-18. But not before some of us took a run thru a fountain in the business district! I may or may not have instigated the fountain running. Michael would be proud of me.
East Park, 5th Street & Davidson Road along the Cumberland River. One loop around Shelby Park & then we FINALLY headed back to the finish line at Nissan Stadium. Long race. Took us 5 hrs & 18 minutes and no that’s not a personal worst. We’ve had some really hot races. We don’t run well in the heat but we have learned how to survive. If you find yourself running a really hot/humid race, I suggest: 1) stay on top of your hydration – drink before you’re thirsty; 2) plan to use extra fuel because your body is working harder & you’ll be out on course longer; 3) use any means necessary to keep cool – ice, water sprayers & cold towels work great, 4) wear a visor to keep the sun off your face but it will in turn allow the heat to escape thru your head, 5) use sunscreen cuz if you burn, your skin can’t breathe & 6) make sure you have access to salt tabs. When you are taking in a lot of water to stay cool, your tummy get sloshy. You may throw up. The chances of vomiting & dehydration are less if you can get that water in your tummy to absorb. Salt/electrolyte tabs/capsules will help the water to absorb.
Huge shout out to all the runners who managed to FINISH RnR Nashville despite the heat! There were several points where some of the full marathoners got turned around/diverted due to weather & cut-off times. Please don’t get discouraged if you got cut-off at this race. The heat was bad. Nobody was hitting the times that they trained to run. It happens.
Stats: 2,445 marathon finishers, 67 marathon finishers that got cut-off/turned around at the 10.7 mi mark, 18 marathon finisher that got cut-off/turned around at the 18 mi mark, 20 marathon finishers that got cut off at the 20.2 mile mark, 17,821 half marathon finishers, 2,776 5K finishers, 841 mile run finishers, 12 half marathon wheelchair finishers, & 11 full marathon wheelchair finishers.
Congrats to all the runners! Thanks to all the volunteers, medial staff, police, spectators & the bands that kept playing even though the sun was beating down on them too! The spirit of Nashville really showed throughout the weekend but especially on race day.
Quick note about the marathon finisher jackets. The cut is the same as last year but they are longer. The length now goes over most of our rumps, at least for the ladies. I’m tall, if it goes over my bum, it will probably go over yours. Utilize the sizing station at the expo to determine the correct size. You may want to size up if your bum is bigger than your waist. Otherwise you won’t get this jacket zipped. Example below.
** Run Happy, all! ** Rock N Blogger – TooTallFritz**