Congratulations! / Today is your day. / You're off to Great Places! / You're off and away!
You have brains in your head. / You have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself any direction you choose. / You're on your own. And you know what you know. / And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
I’ve had many experiences in my life – some of the most memorable related to running. I’ve met many great runners, bloggers and friends alike. Yesterday however was a first.
The competitor group decided that the original half marathon and marathon course were getting stale and worn and wanted to shoot a little botox into it. A course facelift! No word on butt implants.....
Much better picture at http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/arizona
The full marathon course actually follows a very similar path as before with a slight detour away from old town Scottsdale (home of aforementioned butt implants) and instead going through beautiful Papago Park:
The real changes are with the half marathon. They decided to split the start of the half from the full which both the half and the full marathon participants will enjoy. No shuttles for the half marathoners, no half marathoners for the full marathoners. Well, honestly, I'm not sure that the half marathoners even realized that the full marathoners were there. But, on the full side, the 20,000 half marathoners are a little hard to ignore!
Essentially, the half marathon goes through about every place that I'd want to go through in the Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale area. Not only do you go through papago park, but you also hit:
Arizona State University in Tempe:
What do cheerleaders have to do with running? I dunno? Booty Shorts?
Old town Scottsdale:
What do horses have to do with running? I dunno? Do horses wear booty shorts?
And even hits Tempe Town Lake:
Overall, the updated course looks like a great improvement to the course that I ran in 2010. I think that it hits a lot of the high points of the city and avoids some of the boring spots where you run miles and miles through residential streets. If I wanted to do that - I'd just run at home.
The press conference itself was interesting. I wasn't sure what to expect as the only ones I'd ever seen were on TV or in movies. I half expected Kobe Bryant to jump out and start crying about how he "let his family down". Unfortunately, he was no where to be found. Instead we were treated to light music beforehand (they were still setting up when I took the picture):
A rather young and blond press corps. It seemed that the people at the event fit into one of three groups: business types in suits, blond female reporters furiously taking notes, and nerdy bloggers hanging out on the side
staring at blond female reporters taking pictures of everyone inconspicuously.
And even the CEO of the competitor group
Finally, probably one of the coolest parts was that I got to meet Olympian Alan Culpepper. He actually works for the Competitor group (that puts on the Rock and Roll races) as director of operations. Essentially, he was the man behind the course redesign. As one of the few runners in the audience, I latched onto him like a running nerd to..... Alan Culpepper ..... and chatted him up about the new course and what Rock 'n' Roll had in store.
What is up with American runners being so tall!?
Overall, the experience was fun, the course looks improved and was just the catalyst I needed to finally pull the trigger and get the race "officially" (read: paid for) on my race calendar. Let me know if you are making it to Phoenix to run the full or the half!