Race Recap: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll Philly Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia 2017 race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

Way back, when I first started running and doing fitness related activities and prior to Scoot a Doot, I had a blog on tumblr. It was there that I blogged about my third half marathon, the Rock ‘n Roll Philly race back in 2012.

2012 RnR Philly

I haven’t been able to work it into my schedule since and to be honest, I had a tough race so I think I was a bit gun-shy. However, the stars aligned and I was excited to return this year, especially as it was my first race representing BibRave!

Rock ‘n Roll weekends always start with the expo experience, followed by the race. The Philly Rock ‘n Roll Health and Fitness Expo was held at the PA Convention Center in Center City on both Friday and Saturday. Runners are able to pick up their bibs, t-shirts, and other assorted race goodies. If you want to read more about the expo, swing by my last post.

This is the 40th year that this race has been run, having been known prior as the Philadelphia Distance Run.

Saturday morning were the 5k and 10k races. The 10k distance was newly introduced this year; I had friends who ran and had a positive experience.

Sunday morning it was half marathon time. Philadelphia is about a half hour drive from my house/nearby train ride. I chose to take the train and walk a mile to the start line, which is my standard mode of transportation for Philly races.

I always aim to get into the city about an hour before the start of the race and this one started at 7:30, so I made sure to get the train that arrived at 6:30. I knew I would have plenty of time, given that I was in corral 21 (I think there were 24 total).

Once I arrived I tracked down where I needed to go to get my race shirt after the snafu on Friday. Since I had a hydration pack, I decided to stuff it in there, rather than check a bag.

Rock ‘n Roll’s race village is huge and there’s plenty of things to do and see both pre and post race.

I wandered around a bit, chatting with plenty of random people aka new friends and seeing fellow BibRave Pros. Philadelphia’s Rocky Steps, aka the Art Museum, is always the backdrop of big races in Philly and this was no exception.

The race began on time and I casually wandered into my corral, knowing that I wouldn’t be starting for awhile. The announcers were enthusiastic (honestly, if I yelled as much as they do, I would have absolutely no voice!) and they were playing great music to get everyone pumped up.

The first 5 miles of the half course have to be my absolute favorite. I love running in Center City and the energy is always terrific.

From about mile 3.5 to 5 is an out and back stretch along Fairmount Avenue, which I love because you can see the other runners and the cheering from people along this stretch is fantastic. Very motivating and so much fun.

The second part of the course leads you along the Schuykill River on Kelly Drive, across Falls Bridge, and back the other side of the river on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The miles seem to stretch here and while the scenery is picturesque, this is where I wish they would stack the bands and entertainment.

I appreciate everyone who was out there so much, especially the band who changed the lyrics to The Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” to “Closer to the Finish Line.”

I knew I wasn’t going to break any personal records during this race so I enjoyed, took my time, and had my phone out nearly the entire time to take pictures and videos along the route.

I made a friend during the last mile that I had been leapfrogging with since mile 10 and we finished the race together, which was really nice!

The medals for this year were money, baby! The half marathon medal was Ben Franklin with a sweatband on his head 13.1 bill. Too funny!

Immediately after the finish line, they were handing out water and a sports drink. Directly after that there was ice cold chocolate milk, which hit the spot! They were also giving out ice cold RnR towels, which was perfect on my neck. There were snacks directly after but unfortunately, juggling everything became a bit of a challenge!

Post-race celebration included the band Big Head Todd and the Monsters (never heard of them before but they were entertaining). There was also a beer garden but I completely forgot about it until I was walking back to the train station. Whomp, whomp.

At least I got a banana phone!

Fun way to kick off fall racing in Philly! From here I have the Run the Vineyards, Destination Enoteca 5k and the Run Inspired 10k in October. Can’t stop, won’t stop!

8 thoughts on “Race Recap: 2017 Rock ‘n Roll Philly Half Marathon

    • It was such a fun time, Vanessa! Philly is so lovely and welcoming, it makes it one of my favorite places to run. You should come up!

    • The cold towel was EXACTLY what I needed in that moment (well, that and the chocolate milk – great recovery)! And now I have a new gym towel, which is an extra bonus. 😉 If you come down here for a Philly race you MUST let me know so we can coordinate.

  1. The cold towel is my FAVORITE! Skirt Sports has them too at their 13er Half Marathon. Its the perfect thing after a hot race.

    I kinda want to do RnR Denver, but it seems like a BIG race, and these days, I’m not that into large crowded races. How was the crowd?

    I miss Philly and you!

    • Philly and I miss you so much! You need to come back around so we can do more tourist-y stuff together.

      RnR crowds are big, for sure, but the ones I’ve been to have always been well-managed and don’t FEEL big. The first few miles always feel a little tight with this race but that has more to do with the field just being all squished together. But given that there are so many corrals, it’s really not too bad when you’re out on the course. You really get the full magnitude of pre and post race.

  2. Yay! Your first BibRave race! Do you have any more lined up? I also have a hard time juggling all the free swag they give out at the finish line. If only they gave us a bag to go with the goodies. 🙂

    • First BibRave race and such a good one! I have another next month, the Run Inspired 10k in Delaware, which I’m very much looking forward to because it’s supposed to be GORGEOUS. How about you, do you have any BibRave races coming up?

      You know my swag juggling pain! I know that there is extra cost/waste with a bag but maybe a reusable bag? I was sad to see how many people threw the towels away – they are GREAT gym towels.

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