Race Recap: San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

From our hotel room in San Antonio, Texas

From our hotel room in San Antonio, Texas

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We love San Antonio, Texas!

We recently took a quick weekend trip to the Lone Star State so Trevor and I could run the San Antonio R ‘n’ R Marathon.

We had a lovely time.

Here is our “world famous” race recap (with pictures).

The San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

The 7th annual San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was held on Sunday, Dec 7th, 2014. The date was changed this year from the usual date in November because of problems with heat the last couple of years.

The Day Before the Marathon

Race Expo
The Health and Fitness Expo was held on Friday and Saturday at the Alamodome. At all R&R events you’re required to pick up your bib in person with ID. But one of the nice thing about R&R events is that the expo is usually very predictable and well organized with Brooks being the main gear sponsor.

We got our gear bags, bibs and long sleeve race shirts in bright orange. Then we spent a little time walking around the expo and found the Generation UCAN booth which was swamped. If you see them at a race expo be sure to stop by and say we sent you from MTA.


The Penguin
We also listened to John “The Penguin” Bingham speak for a while. He has been called the “Pied Piper” of the second running boom, has been an announcer for R&R races for 16 years and is retiring from that commitment as well as his regular column “The Penguin Chronicles” in Runner’s World Magazine. He has authored many books and is still active traveling for Team Penguin.

Meb Keflezighi is the new VP of Running at Competitor Group and was also at the expo earlier, although we had missed his appearance. He was also the Grand Marshall of the race. A press release quoted him as saying, “From Boston to New York, 2014 has been a great year for me and I enjoyed spending time with thousands of my fellow runners in San Antonio,” said Meb, who paced the 7:30 mile group during the 10k event on Saturday.

“After riding in the press vehicle for the half marathon, it was fun to surprise some runners out on the marathon course and encourage them to ‘Run To Win,’ which means to get the best out of yourself. I loved helping athletes of all abilities achieve their goals this weekend.” -quoted in Competitor Group press release

Race Kids
Another service that was offered in San Antonio and other Rock & Roll races in the coming months is called Race Kids. This is especially nice if you need babysitting while you run. For a fee they have full schedules for both half marathon and marathon races with moving activities, arts and crafts and sign making to cheer on race finishers. Breakfast is provided for all campers and lunch is available for children with parents doing the full marathon. Right now RaceKids will be at several Rock ‘n’ Roll events through 2015. Visit racekids.org for more info.

Remix Challenge
The race offered the Remix Challenge where you run the 10k on Saturday and either the 5k, ½ or full marathon on Sunday to receive 3 medals. The weekend’s race options included a kids race, full marathon, half, half marathon 2 person relay, 5k and bike tour. From press releases it looks like nearly 24,000 people participated in the weekend’s races. I was reading the official rules and saw that if you’re caught selling your bib you can be banned for 3 years. I found this interesting considering our recent podcast on race cheating. All races during the weekend featured chip timing.

MTA Meet Up

One of the highlights of the weekend was the official MTA Meet Up at the Guadalajara Grill in downtown San Antonio. It was fun to meet and spend time with Mike from MN, Erin from Mexico City, Pat & Monica from nearby, and Jeriod & family from MO.

MTA San Antonio Meetup!  From left, Michael Tapper, Pat McCain, Trevor Spencer, Erendira Aguilar, Angie Spencer, and Jeriod Turner.

MTA San Antonio Meetup! From left, Michael Tapper, Pat McCain, Trevor Spencer, Erendira Aguilar, Angie Spencer, and Jeriod Turner.

Race Morning

We were staying at the Drury Plaza Hotel in downtown and it was an easy walk of around 10 minutes to the Alamodome where gear check and bathrooms were located.

We waited around there until 7:10 before heading to the starting line. Unfortunately it was slow going to get from the Alamodome to the starting line and we made it with just minutes to spare.

The wheelchair race started at 7:25 am, and everything else at 7:30 am (the 5k had a different starting line). There was a wave start where they release one corral at a time. The corral placement was based on your projected finish time (I was in 5 and Trevor in 7). There were also pace teams offered (half marathon ranging from 1:45-3:00 and full marathon times from 3:30-5:30).

The Course
The course was open for 7 hours for the marathon and 4 hours for the half. I was also reading in the course time limit information that you’re allowed to “board a ‘sag wagon’ shuttle to move forward on the course, where they may continue to participate in the event, maintaining the minimum pace required.” Since we talked about course cutting on the last podcast this was interesting.

The start and finish were located at the Alamodome and it was very crowded for the first 2-3 miles. There weren’t huge elevation changes on the course but there was one steep hill just before mile 6, then downhill or small rolling hills after that, and finally a gradual incline from mile 24 to the finish.

The half course veered off just before mile 12. The amount of runners after the half was reduced by about 75% so there was finally lots of room to run. Rock & Roll courses are famous for having live local bands and cheer squads along the course, usually concentrated along the half marathon section.

During the first few miles the course went through downtown San Antonio, running by the Alamo (which I totally missed). After mile 13 we went through some run-down residential and industrial areas and miles 16-23 were in Mission Ranch- a paved concrete path along the San Antonio River. Between the hills and concrete this was a bit hard on the legs. There were few spectators after mile 12 until the final two miles when the course joined back with the half marathon (although they had a barrier in the middle dividing the runners).

The finish line was also divided for the half and full marathons. There were solid aid stations every 1-2 miles with water and Gatorade (two with gels). The weather started out in the low 50’s and climbed to high 60’s with overcast skies and a slight breeze.

Post Race
IMG_2612The finish line area was well organized. We received a nice solid medal (the colors look like a tortilla chip bag for the full marathon). The finish line area had mylar blankets, water, chocolate milk, and power bars. Over in the Reunion area there were some additional vendors and food options including chips, carbonated water, yoghurt and beer. A grocery chain was also handing out reusable bags to store all the loot. There was a post-race concert featuring the band Everclear.

A total of 2,339 runners finished the full marathon (1,344 men and 995 women) and there were around 14,000 half marathoners.

San Antonio residents took both wins: Jacob Buhler was the male winner in 2:29:04 and the female winner was Elizabeth Howard in 2:55:48. The average marathon finish time was 4:49 and there were runners from all 50 states and 13 countries at the event.

Our Experience
This was a nice marathon but not overly special as races go. I admit that I went into it feeling a bit tired so that surely affected my perception. My goal was to finish in less than 4 hours and my official time was 3:57:55. Trevor decided to downgrade to the half marathon and finished in under 2 hours.

I used UCAN for my fueling and it worked great as always. Most of the time I ran by myself and had just a few short conversations along the way. Of note was one man who told me I was running very quietly. He said, “I sound like a Clydesdale next to you.”

The city's beautiful river walk.

The city’s beautiful river walk.

My mother, Delores Danzer, and the boys on the balcony of our room at the Drury Plaza Hotel River Walk

My mother, Delores Danzer, and the boys on the balcony of our room at the Drury Plaza Hotel River Walk

Texas State Capitol, Austin

Texas State Capitol, Austin

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Quick Tip:
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Premium Starter Kit from Young Living

Premium Starter Kit from Young Living

5 Responses to Race Recap: San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

  1. Cintia Listenbee December 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    I love race recaps! Congrats on an amazing running year to you both. Merry Christmas and a 2015 with new states and new accomplishments!

    • Angie Spencer December 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thank you Cintia! Merry Christmas to you as well and may your 2015 be blessed.

  2. Loanne Myrah December 24, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Love your podcasts – I’ve been listening almost since I started running 4 years ago. Thank you for all you’ve done and all the best in your new venture.

    • Trevor Spencer December 25, 2014 at 8:05 am #

      Thank you for being a long time listener Loanne!


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