Race Report on Rock ‘n Roll Santiago 10km and half marathon
Todd Hepworth gives his take on the Rock ‘n Roll Santiago where he participated in the half marathon on 18 November 2018. The Rock ‘n Roll series is a collection of road running events known for lining race routes with live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations.
This was the first edition of the Rock N Roll Marathon series in Chile and both a half marathon and 10k were on offer. I found the race really well organized and appreciated the corrals and anti-banditing measures, which all other Chilean races I’ve done don’t utilize. The main problem was the start time and the heat. The course also had some long slow inclines, which most of the time is unavoidable for races at the foot of the Andes.
Unfortunately, I can’t comment too much on the expo. It was open on two days before the race, but I had a full schedule for those two days and had to race in, do my packet pickup and get my shirt and rock concert extra tickets before dashing off to another event. But I did like that the expo was well designed as a course through the site so you didn’t just turn up to a huge space and not know where to pick things up. The usual expo stalls were all present, gels, shoes, other races, kits, etc but I didn’t get to peruse them.
Getting to the race
The race started and finished at Parque Araucano in Las Condes in Santiago. It was easy for me to get the metro to Manquehue station and then walk with dozens of other runners to the park. I met a Chilean runner at my metro station who was doing her first ever 10k (after losing 18 kilos!) so I hope she had a good run. Entering the race area was a bit of a lineup, as they had to check everyone had bibs to allow entry to the park. A quick and simple bag drop off and then to the corrals.
I appreciated this part of the race. They had corrals for estimated or proved (for the front corrals) finish time and those doing the 10k and half marathon was mixed together. I know races in other countries use the estimated or proved time to be in particular corrals, but this was the first one in Chile I had seen “enforced”. Waves went off every 2 minutes and I was in corral 11 of 14, as I’m slow! :-).
Security guards moved the banner of each corral forward and then they were released. The biggest problem was Latino timing. The race started at 9:15, in November, so it was already warm whilst standing in the corrals and with the knowledge that it was just going to get hotter, was concerning me. I get that they want the main bands on stage at a reasonable time, and for runners to come past the bands, but it was too hot for good times.
Given the corral system, this was the first race where I wasn’t swamped by people behind me and where there is weaving and dodging for the first couple of kilometers. I found myself well ahead of “sensible” pace for me. I was aiming for a PR, which is 2:33 for me or about 7:15/km. My first km was 5:14 which is too fast, but it was downhill and you had the added bonus of runners who started 2 minutes ahead as targets. The course went up onto a road running parallel to an expressway and the traffic was all banked up due to the runners. It was a slow uphill run it was 5-6km of a slow uphill slog.
At about 6.5km the course started downhill and it was a welcome change. My km rate was now back in range and with the buffer I had built up, I was quietly considering a PR but I knew there was another long steady road climb to go, so it was probably not going to happen.
The water/Gatorade stations were well placed every 3-4 km or so, so this was helpful in the middle third of the race. I settled into my run-walk plan, picking people to pace myself against, or target to pass.
I noted that Strava was ahead of the race markers, as often happens. It got close again around 9-10km but then started stretching out to about 500m difference. At 15km on Strava, we turned up the slow uphill climb of Manquehue. It was hot. I didn’t do too much running/jogging but just did big stride walking. Given I’m 1.92m tall this is my advantage.
Also at this stage is when you start making friends with runners doing the same pace. A few of us chatted about the climb, one would jog off and then get slowly caught as they walked. After 3 further kilometers at 18km, we turned right and could hear the bands playing in the park. We did a little route through suburban streets before we entered John Paul II Park which adjoins Parque Araucano where the finish was.
The last problem was the two parks are connected by a footbridge, so we had to do one last climb, before entering the 600m or so finishing chute. The final chute takes you right past the front of the stage with the performers on one side and the fans on the other so you get a bit of a boost of people cheering you on. I came around the last corner with 80m to go and knew I couldn’t catch the person in front of me, nor be caught , so I did a bit of fun playacting with the crowd, pretending that I had pulled a muscle and was going to give up and walk back the other way, all in jest.
I crossed the finish in around 2:48 (by chip). But I’ll have to await the results!! What I do like is they have security just after the finish line and if you didn’t have a bib you were funneled to the right and out of the park! No bandits taking medals!
All in all a well-organized race, with the one major criticism being the start time of 9:15 (or 9:32 for my corral) making it uncomfortably hot for runners. If I was in Chile in 12 months, I’d do it again!
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