Rock ‘n’ Roll USA 1/2 Marathon – DC

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA 1/2 Marathon – B-


On Saturday, March 15th I ran my first Rock ‘N’ Roll USA 1/2 Marathon in Washington, DC. I heard really wonderful things about this race and was excited to finally get a chance to run it.  Here is what I thought of the race:

  • Cost – C

I paid over $100 to run this race. I know we are in DC but I have only paid over $100 for one half marathon and that race gave me a Tiffany’s necklace when I crossed the finish line. No Tiffany’s necklace here.

  • Race Expo – A

The race expo was at the DC Armory. It is a great location because it is easy to access by Metro and it is HUGE! There were so many different vendors at the expo. I really liked seeing all the other races that you could sign up for. They had nearby to far away places come so you could ask about their races. There were tons of products here too!

  • Race Swag – B

The race shirt was a black, short sleeved, moisture-wicking shirt. You were able to get this in male and female sizes. If you are deciding between sizes go for the bigger size. Mine ended up being a little small and I really haven’t worn it at all because of that.

  • Course – D

This is one of my least favorite courses. If you read my reviews you know that I love to run around DC. It is so much fun because there is so much to see here. This race started downtown and the first few miles there were few views of the monuments.  The best view was running across the bridge on your way back from Arlington National Cemetery.  This was the most fun part of the entire race, so much so that I often run that same route on my lunch break while at work.  Here is a picture I tried to capture of that view. Remember, I was in the middle of the run while taking this, which is why it is so blurry.


The rest of this race sucked. It sucked so bad that I actually would not run this race again unless they changed the course. The rest of the race is filled with long, boring, stretches of nothingness. No people, nothing to look at, BORING.  At mile 6, there is an ENORMOUS hill. Just seeing it angered me, running up it almost made me explode. Almost all the runners I saw on the hill stopped and walked, I really do not blame them. The hill was straight up and long. I promised myself pre-race that I would not walk at all. It took every ounce of me and every piece of positive self-talk I had to get up that hill. I remember there were people cheering loudly at the top. I reached the top and started swearing. It was horrible.

  • Participants – B

There were a lot of participants in this race. At the beginning of the race it was hard to move but it got easier as you got further in. It was nice to catch up with some friends mid-run but not many other people were too talkative.

  • Spectators – B

The spectators were great. They were loud, they cheered, they had signs. They were especially great when I got to the top of that dreaded hill. The reason they get just a ‘B’ is because there were many long stretches of the race with no spectators at all and that stinks!

  • Finish – A

The finish was great. You could see the finish line from pretty far away which drove me to cross that thing as fast as possible. Others around me also started sprinting towards it which encouraged me to pick the pace up. The finish was filled with everything you could ask for. Bathrooms, Gatorade, water, awesome – AWESOME Power Bars. There was also an area with a stage and band playing. There you could get a beer and hang out. There was a lot of space to walk around, stretch out. It was really nice.

I also really loved the finisher’s medal. It was really thick and heavy. It was created specifically for this race as it featured The White House on the ribbon and the Washington Monument, Cherry Blossom trees (which bloom in DC in April) and a reflecting pond. Here is a picture of the medal we were given:


  • Other Details – B

The race results were delivered very quickly and you could access the information with your cell phone which was really convenient. Here is an image of my race results:

IMG_0081One thing that sucked is that to get into the beer garden at the finish line you had to have an ID on you. The problem is that I do not carry my ID to run so I did not have it on me.

Lastly, the weather. Being that the race was in March, it was still pretty cold out and I HATE running in the cold. I am sure this is something that most people would prefer but it was a little too cold for me.

  • Overall Race Grade – B-

The race was good in all aspects EXCEPT the course. If the race directors changed the course, I would do it again next year and I would highly recommend it to others. The hill at mile 6 really did kill me though so until that changes, I won’t be running this one again. (I am a baby for hills,  I know!)

IMG_0136(My running buddy Becca and I post-race.)

Happy running!


Jessie Zahner is the owner of You can follow her on twitter at @Athletchic.

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