Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rockin' the Half-Marathon

By Katie Araujo (SMBA '11)

The Competitor Group Inc.’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon marked my first Half Marathon, and soon transformed me in 1:49:49 from an endurance enthusiast to a distance fanatic. Arriving to Corral 4 before the sun rose, I knew I was in for a day I would always remember. From the numerous training miles completed up to receiving my official bib at the Expo the day before, it had been an incredible journey to the start line. Tying my timing chip to my shoe and clipping my race belt around my waist, I twisted my bib forward and gulped down a prerace GU for a quick energy boost. The cheering escalated and before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line with a smile on my face and a sense of accomplishment unlike any other.

From newbies to seasoned competitors, they truly make everyone feel like a rockstar. Reflecting on my experience, the following presents 13.1 reasons why I am hooked on the Competitor Group’s events:

1. Atmosphere & Community: surrounded by 30,000 of my closest friends, a sense of excitement filled the air. Lining the course, fans showed up by the thousands to cheer on the runners. From the likes of Entertainment Tonight’s Samantha Harris kicking off the event to troops of Elvis impersonators, it was definitely a site to see.

2. Race Course: beginning in downtown San Diego and running past a variety of signature attractions in America’s Finest City, there was plenty of scenery on our trek to the finish line at SeaWorld.

3. Health & Fitness Expo: two days prior to the race, the Expo hosted more than 100 exhibitors offering free samples and showcasing the latest in running gear. While stocking up on race day essentials, I was joined by the likes of Ronaldinho and Kat Von Dee – amazing? I sure think so.

4. Rock Bands: keeping the participants stoked and motivated, the various bands on the course kept me pumped up. I even found myself doing the YMCA while running down the 163!

5. Fans: costumed and creative, fans and spirit squads alike cheered the runners every step of the way. From pompoms to cowbells, the added boost of enthusiasm made everyone feel like they had their own cheering section!

6. Free Swag: provided with a tech tee and Goodie Bag of fun giveaways, each participant receives the star treatment. Even going so far as to ensure adequate nutrition was available throughout the race, CGI made sure us runners were able to keep our energy levels high.

7. Volunteers: without a doubt the efforts of the volunteers and our SMBA’s made this race a success. Located at the set-up, pre-registration, the Health & Fitness Expo, the Start Line, Finish Line, and water stations along the course, these all-stars helped take away the race day jitters and allowed me to focus on the challenge ahead.

8. Charity: going above and beyond, the 2010 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon benefitted the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was incredibly inspiring to see a sea of purple ‘Team in Training’ jerseys sprinkled throughout the course. Charities have raised over $210 million (net) for their respective causes through the R’n’R Marathon Series since 1998.

9. Training Plans: providing guidance and motivation, CGI offers race specific training plans to keep you on track for accomplishing your goals. These daily emails gave me a sense of confidence and allowed me to track my fitness up to the big day.

10. Medals: who doesn’t love receiving some serious bling after achieving a huge accomplishment? All finishers are awarded a medal at the finish line to wear with pride.

11. Post Race Concert: after filling up on bananas and Cytomax, it was time to get down and celebrate! Where else can you roll through a half marathon and then rock out at a concert in your honor?

12. Pictures & Videos: taken throughout the course, professional photographers capture the moment and allow you to relive your experience. Going a step further, they send you a clip of you in all your glory crossing the finish line – this was icing on the cake!

13.1. It’s a SERIES: after having the time of my life, I was beyond excited to check out their website and learn of the other great locations in the series. Riding the post race high, I signed up for the R’n’R Las Vegas ½ Marathon and hope to see you there!

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