On January 16th & 17th, 2016, I participated in the Phoenix Rock’n’Roll 5k and Half Marathon. This would be my first race back since having a spinal fusion on August 28, 2015. I didn’t care about time or pace, all I wanted to do was to finish. Below is my review on the 5k and half marathon as well as overall suggestions for transportation, accommodations and general info. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
The expo was held at their convention center downtown which was close to public transportation. I arrived to the expo on Friday since I was running the 5k and needed to get my bibs. When I arrived that morning around 10am, there was already a line forming that was curving everywhere which made it difficult to find where it started and ended on top of people trying to sign their waivers or find their bib number. When the doors actually opened as you can imagine, the line went out the window. Once inside, the bib pick up lines were fairly quick and the expo itself was evenly spaced throughout the space.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5k presented by Brooks has a beautiful and flat looped course that starts on the iconic Mill Ave. Bridge, runs along Tempe Town Lake and finishes at Tempe Beach park with a Finish Line festival. With a start time in the morning, the weather was brisk and cool, however warmed up by the end of the race. This was a fast pace, nice warm up race to be a part of that had a pretty amazing turn out of participants.
The half marathon is described as a flat and fast course with epic views of the valley of the sun, including Papago Park and Tempe town lake. As all Rock’n’Roll races participants will enjoy live bands, cheer teams, spirited water stations and other entertainment along the course. The weather started out cold but toward the end felt like the perfect temperature even with the sun out. Best part was starting the race in the heart of ASU. Their campus is gorgeous and spacious. There are a few inclines you have to run and the view was either cities, towns or dessert. Overall, great race and area but don’t expect too much in sights.
Click HERE for map of the courses.
Let me just say first and foremost I LOVED the light rail system in Phoenix. This is the BEST and MOST accommodating form of transportation to/from airport and races. A day pass cost a mere $4 but takes you everywhere (with some walking). Don’t waste you time on renting a car or paying for Uber/Taxi. If you are in town for the races, just take the light rail system. Details and schedule can be found HERE.
There are many places to stay when in Phoenix and honestly I found a hidden gem just outside of downtown. Last minute I had to find a new hotel since my original hotel I book cancelled my reservation for unknown reason upon my arrival. Luckily for me I scoured the internet and took a chance on Hotwire to see what I would get. I ended up staying at the Phoenix Hotel and Suites. This place was 2 blocks from the light rail and Walgreens, walking distance to Starbucks, Jamba Juice and various other restaurants. The staff was outstanding and offered late check out of 2pm which was perfect for race day! There is a pool onsite as well as an all you can eat buffet. They were still renovating parts of the hotel but the rooms were spacious, clean, comfortable and each room had a microwave and fridge.
Oh Food! When in Phoenix there are a TON of great places to eat! I am going list just few places that were walking distance to/from light rail that have amazing options.
Squid Ink!: This is such a great sushi place downtown Phoenix. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating.
Ike’s Sandwich Shop: This is hands down one of the BEST sandwich shops I have ever been too. Originally started in San Francisco, Ike’s has a variety of sandwiches that will just melt in your stomach and feed that hunger. BONUS: They offer gluten bread as well!
Fractured Prune: Donuts! This place offers a variety of donuts with a twist.
Pretty much anywhere downtown has amazing options. It all comes down to what you are in the mood for. Next to Squid Ink! are various bars that offer great Happy Hours. The Palomar Hotel has a great outdoor pool and bar to enjoy as well!
2017 Rock’n’Roll Registration
HERE is the link to sign up for the 2017 Phoenix Rock’n’Roll. The pre-sale has closed however you can sign up to be notified once registration is opened.
WHAT ABOUT THE BLING??