I wish I had good news to report. Those of you that live in the Savannah area know that I don’t. All week long, the forecast called for heat. I was prepared. I hydrated like crazy the days leading up to the race. I ate tons of salt, I had my Gus all ready to go. I just moved from Tampa, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Unfortunately, RnR did not.
We got to the starting area with what should have been plenty of time. I did not expect having to wait in line for 35 minutes for the too few port-o-potties. Nor, did I expect them to be out of TP already, before the race even began. Luckily, we got to our corral in time.
My two friends were running their first half marathon, my other friend was running her 10th, and I was running my second full marathon (or so I thought). It was hot, it was humid, but we were excited. We agreed to go at our own pace and meet up at the end.
The first couple of miles went through a not so scenic part of town. I loved that people were on their porches, cheering us on. The air was thick and foggy. I knew early on that this was going to be a tough race. I kept a steady 9:40 pace and hoped I would finish before the sun got too hot.
The first water stop was a mess. We had to come to a complete stop and wait for the water to get poured. I never encountered this in a race before. It’s a good thing I wasn’t counting on this to be my Boston qualifier.
The race turned into the more historic district around mile 4. There were more people out cheering and the houses were beautiful. This put a little pep back in my step. At this point, I felt like I was at the Chicago Marathon again. It was elbow to elbow, trying to swerve around people, runners coming to a dead stop to walk right in front of you. The first gatorade station (which happened way too late) was very watered down. I was surprised to realize they were only offering gatorade at every other aid station, despite the extreme heat.
Miles 5-12 were all about the same. I was feeling good, but getting hot. When the full split away from the half, I heard a woman praying. I told her to pray for me as I made my way up the highway ramp.
I read other reviews that talked about how horrible this part of the race was. I guess last year, they shortened the highway section. Well, not this year. It seemed that almost the entire second half of the race was on the highway. No shade, full sun and humidity, not enough aid stations, no bands as promised, just misery!
I was happy to finally get off the highway at around mile 16. We then snaked around a parking a lot, and back on a different highway. It was unbearable!
The next section looped through a local university. There were some students out cheering the runners on, we appreciated it. There was also a man handing out Popsicles, we really appreciated that!
After the small loop through the school, dodging speed bumps, it was back on the highway. All of a sudden, the mile marker went from 21 to 23. I know that GPS can vary a little, but was this possible? I thought maybe the signs got switched around. When I saw the 24 mile sign next, I knew my marathon was not really going to be a marathon.
When I got to the finish line, my friends were there to cheer me on. They didn’t know my race was cut short. They were so happy for me, but by that point, I was crying. I was upset because I trained so hard, and I couldn’t say that today, I ran a marathon.
Rock and Roll dropped the ball on many things. I understand why they cut the race short, it was hot, runners were in danger, and unfortunately, one runner died. Aside from the heat, there were so many things under the race director’s control that didn’t happen. Not enough toilette, no hand washing station, no TP, aid stations spaced too far apart, gatorade at every other aid station, not the number of bands they promised, a terrible marathon course, an oversold course, and more.
It was a great weekend with friends, but iIwill never run another Rock and Roll Race. I suggest you stay far away.