Country Music Marathon, 2011
Website: (Now Called) St. Jude Rock N Roll Nashville Marathon.
Size: 30,000 runners across all events (full, half, 5K).
Time of Year/Weather/What I Wore: Saturday at the end of April. My weekend was quite warm, so be prepared. I was nervous about overheating but drank ample water and sports drinks, and I ate ice and put it down my sports bra. It was fine.
Race Logistics: This race is easily accessible via air, being in big city Nashville. Just fly in if needed and Uber about as necessary. Start and finish are conveniently located downtown. There are lots of hotels nearby and lots of restaurants and attractions within walking distance of the race and the hotels. It is nice that the race was on a Saturday, so runners could go out on Saturday night and relax around town on Sunday before heading out.
Expo and Swag: Pretty sure the shirt for this was a short-sleeved tech tee, and I recall the expo being pretty nice and not too much of a pain. But what I really remember is that at the end of the race, all of the porta potties were OUT OF TP!!! Luckily, I was staying with a friend who lived near the finish, so I went home right after the race, but I am sure there were folks who were less fortunate. Hopefully they’ve figured that issue out by now. Also, when I ran it, there was a special concert that evening for race participants, but I’m not sure they still do this.
Terrain and Landscape: Pavement. Rolling hills through the city and neighborhoods of Nashville. I had trained on a lot of hills, and I didn’t find the hills of Nashville to be bad. I loved going through the neighborhoods and seeing lots of the city, plus a nice park towards the end. Spectators were great. There is tons of fun entertainment along the way (press pause on the iPod and listen a little!).
Speed: This was my fourth marathon, and I ran it right when I was getting into my groove–about a month after running the Virginia Creeper Trail Marathon (recap of that is here). I PR’d in Nashville (by about 10 minutes) despite the heat. I would say that my PR was more the result of improved confidence and better training than the course being particularly fast. (I will give myself credit when it is due, and I will give the course its credit when due.) This course has mile markers at every mile, and when I got to 15 or so, I started doing the math and was completely shocked and motivated by my pace. It felt great and luckily I didn’t bonk out.
Overall: Love It! Yes, this is a pretty big race. If you like that sort of thing–awesome, this race is for you! But even if you usually stay away from the big Rock N Roll events, you might still like this one. It is fun. This race would be a very good first marathon.