DENVER (CBS4) – More than 14,000 runners will race for the finish line at the Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon. More than just the half marathon, there is a whole weekend of race related activities, and of course, you get the rock ‘n’ roll experience, with bands playing at every mile.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll really emphasizes the environment, the experience of the race. It’s not just about crossing the finish line, it’s about the whole atmosphere that’s out there along the race course and that makes it really fun,” said Neely Gracey, a professional runner and a spokesperson for the race.
Race weekend kicks off with the two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the National Western Complex Expo Hall & Hall of Education. Visitors can expect a variety of running related vendors, including headbands, sunglasses, t-shirts, shoes, and a lot of running gear. There will also be nutritional, like gels, and power bars.
“Then they’ll have some fun, not necessarily running related vendors, so a lot of chiropractors, health practitioners there taking blood pressure and talking to you about an active healthy lifestyle,” Gracey explained.
New this year, organizers of the Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon have added a Yoga in the Park event on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Civic Center Park. After the 5K race, Kindness Yoga will be leading yoga classes.
“There’s no better way to prep for a race then to focus your mind and body and that’s exactly what yoga’s going to do,” Gracey told CBS4.
The Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon features three distances. The half marathon is the main event, so that will be the one that has the most participation.
There is the 5K on Saturday. That’s a fun one to get out and enjoy the environment of the racing experience. The three-mile distance is more attainable and may not be as daunting for some runners.
In addition to the half marathon on Sunday, there is the 10K race, which is a great middle of the road option. It’s a hard run but not overly exhausting like the half marathon can be.
For those runners who are looking for a bigger challenge you can run two races during the weekend. Runners who do the 5K on Saturday and then either the 10K or half marathon on Sunday and get the Remix Challenge medal along with both of the other race medals.
“I’ve done that in the past where I’ll use the 5K as sort of my warm up, and then the next day do my real race. So if you’re interested in a big challenge and an extra medal, the Remix is a good opportunity,” Gracey said.
As a professional runner, Gracey said that the key to running it consistency. Runners should be getting out the door a few days a week. She recommended running in the morning before life happens. She also recommended taking care of yourself on the course.
“We are at altitude, so there are some things that you want to take into consideration, like hydrating properly because 13 miles is a long way. And you want to make sure that you are taking care of your body so that you can have a good experience,” Gracey said.
The 10K and half marathon courses still wind through Downtown Denver past all of the major landmarks. There is only one slight change in the half marathon course, the out-and-back on 17th Avenue is longer than it was last year, but it still goes through City Park. While the course is scenic, it’s also relatively flat, which means that runners won’t feel too taxed too early in the race.
“I always say that racing is always the best way to see a city. So getting the chance to run all through Downtown Denver is a great opportunity. It’s a really fun time because it’s early in the morning so we’re running as the sun is rising,” Gracey said.
Then after the runners have cross the finish line, it’s time to celebrate. Toyota sponsors the Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series, which will be happening in Civic Center Park. There will be a beer garden, and post-race vendors on hand. The band Analog Son will headline this year’s concert.
“The post-race party is a blast, so definitely make sure you stick around. They will have a beer garden, a band … a whole concert going on. It’s a local band, so that’s really fun. And they just turn the whole park into this great culture and atmosphere that celebrates what we’re all doing, promoting a healthy active lifestyle and enjoying it as well,” Gracey said.