Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon


Rock n roll seattle half marathon

The only Rock ‘n’ Roll series race I’ve run before is Vancouver, which I did in 2014 and 2015. That event has since been cancelled (but will be replaced by Vancouver Running Festival this year!). When there was a ‘global sale’ for RnR race entries last year, I decided to sign up for Seattle. And since we have some awesome friends to stay with in the city – it’s the perfect race destination!

Here it is – the best and worst of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon!


Travel – The Worst!

Seattle is just under 200km from home – a drive that should take about 2 and a half hours. Saturday morning didn’t start off well. We use a car sharing service (Modo), which is generally an excellent solution. At 6am, I received a call that the car we had booked was out of service. We found a backup, but it was about a 20-minute walk from home. Not the end of the world, but a pain in the butt. Then I scraped the car on a post in the parking garage.

We got on the road a bit late…then had some challenges at the border (resolved within 20 minutes), followed by a traffic jam on the I-5 (although honey found a detour in record time). Nothing major, but some true travel frustrations.

Travel – The Best!

As we were pulling off the highway and heading toward the Expo, the car ahead of me looked familiar. “That’s Debra” I said – and lo and behold, it was! I tailgated them to the parking lot and surprised them! Debra & Willa had arrived the night before, and ran the 5k on Saturday morning. Pure coincidence that we ran into them!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Expo – The Worst

I can’t really complain about the Expo – we breezed through bib and shirt pickup, and then wandered around looking at the vendors. Probably my biggest mistake was not reviewing the map of the Expo ahead of time, so I wasn’t able to pinpoint my preferred brands. Lesson learned – plan ahead! And, in all the madness, I lost track of Debra.

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Expo – The Best

One of my favourite brands – nuun – was there! And, since they always have a good deal (3 tubes plus a water bottle!), I always take advantage. There’s something for everyone at this Expo – take your time and enjoy!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathon

The Best Decision of the Day

Our host offered to drive the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon course. I’ve never done this before, and it was hugely beneficial because I got to see the scenery, the twists and turns, the ups and downs. I was far more prepared for this race as a result.

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

The Worst? Because we had to be up for 4:30am, we didn’t get to enjoy any wine that evening!


Getting to the Start Line – The Worst!

Our original plan involved expensive parking at the finish line and a shuttle to the start line. We then decided it would be easier for me to jump on the Link (Seattle’s light rail system) at Capitol Hill Station, and ride 5 mins to the start line! When I arrived at the station, the platform was busy – but not especially full.

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

The train arrived. It was PACKED. To the gills. Literally no room. One person squeezed themselves on. The next train – same thing. I was panicking. No way would I make it to the race start. Plan B immediately put into action (on the spot).

Getting to the Start Line – The Best!

Thanks heaven for car2go! I had to run about half a mile, but there was a car2go available in the neighbourhood. I may have bent a few driving laws en route, but I made it near the start line, sprinted across Montlake Bridge, and arrived just in time for the singing of the national anthem. Close call!!

Start Line – The Worst

I was supposed to meet a bunch of my fellow BibRave Pros before the race for a photo, but with all the panic of running late, I missed the opportunity. Sorry gang! *sad face*

Rock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Start Line – The Best!

After wedging myself into my corral, I saw a bright orange shirt and a familiar face – it was BibRave Pro Justin! He was heading to his corral to run the full, but at least I had a chance to meet him. But I was too anxious to think of pulling out my phone for a photo, so we’ll just have the memories!

Then I heard someone calling my name – and Debra appeared! Thanks to my orange cap, she tracked me down in the massive crowds, grabbed a selfie, and headed on her way!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon – The Course

The Best Scenery

Apparently, this year’s route was new – but having never run it before, I have nothing to compare it with. The scenery is fantastic for the first two-thirds of the race. The lush greenery of the Washington Park Arboretum is wonderful, followed by nearly 10 kilometres along the shore of Lake Washington. Breathtaking Pacific Northwest scenery!

The Worst Hill

Exiting the Arboretum, the run turns onto Madison Street, and heads straight up! But given that it’s the steepest hill on the course, it’s good to get it over with near the beginning!

The Best Music

There were tons of musicians at stages along the course, and they were all great (no worsts here!). But the one that stood out for me was the Seattle Kokon Taiko – a Japanese drumming ensemble – who were performing in the Arboretum near the beginning. I also enjoyed what D.J. Kippy was spinning as we passed him on Lake Washington Blvd.

The Best Cheering Section

There’s a small park next to the late Kurt Cobain’s house with a  makeshift shrine set up on a bench. My friends live nearby, so my honey joined the whole family to cheer me on at this spot. Fitting for a Rock ‘n’ Roll race! They even made a little flag for me!

 Rock n roll seattle half marathonRock n roll seattle half marathon 

The Best Mile

While running the shore of Lake Washington, I started to see some flags. And more flags. In fact, I think the flags went on for almost a mile, with individuals holding each one. These were supporting ‘wear blue to remember‘, a running community to honour military service and fallen soldiers. Although I’m not an American, I was very moved by this sight – and the positive encouragement of everyone standing along the route.

The Most Painful Moment

Chafing is an issue. I usually wear band-aids to protect my nipples – but I forgot them this time. I had to use a Big Bird band-aid, and it fell off. At 15km, the medical station supplied me with a glob of Vaseline to get me through to the finish line…

The Best Bling

It wasn’t yet 8:30am when I crossed the finish line for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon. But I was wide awake – my friends were there to cheer me across the finish – and stoked to get my medal. What a great piece of hardware!!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathonRock n roll seattle half marathon Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Final Thoughts

Although I know the Rock ‘n’ Roll series is meant to be a party, we didn’t hang around for very long at the finish. 8:30am is honestly too early for a beer – free or not – and we wanted to head out for brunch. Plus, I still had to drive 3 hours back to Vancouver.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon – one of the best races I’ve run this year!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

This is my first Rock ‘n’ Roll race of the year – but I’m also looking forward to Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal in September, the best season to visit Eastern Canada! It will be my second BibRave race in 2017. Also, I’ll earn the World Rocker medal for having run ‘internationally’ in both Canada and the US.

Don’t forget:  you can save $15 by using code BIBRAVE15 when you register for Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal (or any Rock ‘n’ Roll series half / full marathon). Check out my Discounts page for more details. 

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:52:05
Average Pace: 8:33 min/mile (that’s 5:20 min/km)
Overall Place:  1213/10776
Place in Age Category: 108/576Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon – Quick Recap

Social Media: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle website is thorough and detailed. This is your number one source of information, so all of the other social media channels are general Rock ‘n’ Roll info.

Package Pickup: I was concerned about driving and parking in Seattle, but we found the location pretty easily. It’s not cheap! We only parked for about an hour and it cost $10. Otherwise, the package pickup was quick, and the Expo was large and energetic. Make sure you study the Expo map so you can pinpoint your favourite vendors!

T-Shirt/Swag: Honestly, I was hoping for something a bit snazzier for the t-shirt – black is a bit bland. But the medal is blingy and I really love it! For those doing remix challenges, they got some other awesome medals, too.

Course: Apparently, this year’s course was flatter than in other years – and as we drove the course, my (local) friend observed that in hilly Seattle, they chose a pretty runner-friendly route. The scenery for the first 13 kilometres – Arboretum and Lake Washington – is stunning. The latter third of the route is mostly a straight line through the city, so it’s not especially scenic. But it’s also pretty flat. And then you finish between two stadiums, to the cheering of the crowds – and that’s truly inspiring!

Post-Race: Immediately after the race, I was loaded up with water, Gatorade, a banana, chocolate milk…I ran out of hands! But I didn’t stay for the post-race celebration, free beer, or headliner band. So I’ll reserve judgement. But, I have no doubt it was heaps of fun!

Would I Run It Again? The more races I run, the more I’ve come to prefer smaller, local races. The crush of huge crowds sometimes overwhelms me (or, more accurately, tires me out). The Rock ‘n’ Roll races are massive…but I still had a really good time. Everything was very well organized. For the chance to run this route again? Yes, I would definitely do it!

Rock n roll seattle half marathon

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