Disclosure: I received a complimentary entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.
Growing up with both sets of my grandparents in San Antonio, I’ve been more times than I can count. And since I moved to Austin (less than two hours away), I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to make it down to San Antonio for a race. After enjoying the race in Dallas so much earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to see what Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio had to offer.
Sign ups were easy and there was ample communication beforehand, though it was almost information overload! As it turns out, a conflict came up and I wasn’t able to make it to the expo, but from my last experience, I’m sure it was expansive and I wish I would have had time to stop by and shop around.
Race day morning this time was a bit more complicated than last time, as we were driving from New Braunfels to San Antonio (we’d driven to New Braunfels late the night before). However, thanks to all of the information that they sent ahead of time via email, the morning wasn’t as frantic as I thought it would be to make it to the race’s 7:15 a.m. call time. We followed the directions to runner drop off areas downtown, and found ample surface parking lots along the way. The walk to the start line was short, but when I got there, I couldn’t believe how massive the crowd was. The race was one of, if not THE largest I’ve run and felt much larger than RNR Dallas, which also felt large. It was pretty tough to get around to my corral because there were just so many people. They prepared though – there were so many porta potties and I was even able to find a section without a line (*gasp*).
Side note: you may be wondering how I got my packet. It’s not commonly known, but there is a solutions tent that can be utilized in extenuating circumstances on race day morning to pick up your packet.
After taking a quick restroom stop, I headed to my corral to wait for the crowd to move up. I was in one of the earlier corrals, but it still took about 30 minutes for us to make it to the start. Knowing that there was a course time limit, it’s tough to imagine what the runners even further back (who were likely run/walking or running at a slower pace) would have to do to finish within the time limit.
However, the emcees were still spirited and once I made it across the start line, the real challenge began.
Selfie with the Alamo!
Overall, the course was interesting and relatively flat, which was quite enjoyable. It wound in and out of downtown San Antonio, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas! There were also not too many hills. Due to the size of the race, I found that there was a ton of crowd support the whole way through.
My favorite part of the course was running through the park (I believe it was Brackenridge Park). The leaves normally change colors around Thanksgiving or in December here in Texas, so all of the tree leaves had turned into a lovely yellow canopy. At the same spot, a veterans group placed memorial signs for fallen service members that ended with a lengthy flag salute. We were running through a picturesque fall canopy surrounded by reminders of those that have given everything for our country’s safety and security. It literally took the breath from my lungs because it was so beautiful and is a sight I’ll never forget.
Pictures are not doing it justice, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The weather itself was not ideal, with rain for about three miles soaking everyone and creating so many puddles on the course. It wasn’t the race’s fault of course, and I think this race would have been nearly unbeatable on a good weather day.
Oh, and who could forget the music? All of the bands stationed on the course were fantastic, and there was a good amount of variety. There was even a local mariachi band spread out all the way up one of the course’s only hills, which was a fun, festive and local touch.
Post Race Party
Tucked away a little bit behind the finish line, the post-race party was on point. There were so many snacks once I crossed and so many places to grab a photo with the photographer. Meb was there (Kolbe met him!) and there were great live bands playing. I had to head back to Austin for a baby shower, but was really happy to see that the finish line festival lived up to my expectations. The swag did not disappoint either – the shirts provided were so nice and the medal was too!
Ultimately, no PR for me this time, but I’m still thankful that I got the opportunity and truly enjoyed everything from the race’s perspective. This would be a fantastic race for just about any runner, due to the simple course, amazing crowd support, and organized race management. If you’ve never run a race before, I caution you to bring plenty of water (especially if the Texas weather takes a turn for warmth), because there aren’t as many water stations as other races provide.
Once again, cheers to the unexpected challenges of each race day!