I was really excited to participate in the first ever “Rock ‘n’ Roll New York 10K race event“, especially since it was in my home borough of Brooklyn and on my favorite course to run, Prospect Park. Naturally as some one who writes and performs music for running I noticed this series of events right away. It would be great to play for one of these races someday but I figured it would be good to experience it as a runner first.
Overall they left a great impression. I had a fun day. As an inaugural event there are probably some things they need to work through, as it is a new distance for them in a new city.
For a 10K it had a pretty steep registration price, but the earlier you entered the lower it was, plus they ran a few early bird promotions so register early. For the most part it was very organized and clear what you were supposed to do and where you were supposed to go. The moments that were overwhelming were times everyone had to do something at once like pick up numbers. The “Super Runner Shop” near Time Square had a line down the block for pick-up and I had a friend who said they had run out of shirts by the time she got there. The shirt/bag pick-up line at the post race festival stretched across the entire grounds.
The worst was “gear check.” As I approached the pick-up after the race it looked like everything was under control. It was the standard tactic of different trucks designated by runner’s last name carrying bags from the start to the finish line. Unfortunately as more people showed up it was clear that it was actually a complete shit show. They had basically piled the bags in the back in no discernible order, and 9 out of 10 bags were the ones given to us by race so they couldn’t be easily identified from far away. It seems clear now that they should have organized the bags within the truck so that the volunteers could easily find the bag when the participant came to retrieve it. Hopefully they also came to this conclusion.
Nike tried to pull off a similar race in Prospect Park in 2009 and their bag check situation went even more poorly.
The t-shirt for the RnR event is pretty decent. It is a black tech shirt with the Manhattan bridge. They came in all men’s sizes so they’re huge but at least it’s not white so I’ll probably wear it. The medal is a huge chunk of hardware with sparkles! That I like, although I feel like I hardly earned it for a 10K.
A++ for the porta johns. It’s very rare to have a race in NY where you don’t have to wait in line at least 5 min to pee before a race!
The race itself went all right for me. I didn’t do it with any visions of glory. I haven’t been racing much this year so a PR did not seem to be in my destiny. Also I stuck my phone in the back pocket of my tights and I was afraid it was going to fly out as soon as I started running. I pulled over by a porta john and used a safety pin to close it and while I was there I used the john. Anyway, that’s my other excuse for not running a super fast race, but whatever that wasn’t really my objective. I felt good at the end of it. It was a 55:31, 8:57 pace. I would’ve liked to have been closer to a 8 min pace but if I deducted the time from my stop I was probably running more in the 8:40s.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll
Anyway, let’s get down to the real business. The music. That’s why I was there. They played a canned version of the national anthem, which I was surprised by. People pretty much talked through it and ignored it. I’ve never seen that before. There’s usually some poor soul out there singing it a cappella. I like that better because you definitely feel the impact more. In NYC there are probably thousands of singers, they couldn’t find one to do the national anthem?
The announcers were ladies. That, I liked. It made me realize how male dominated that role is in New York because it’s almost always a man. For the on course music it was all DJs. I was a bit disappointed by that as soon as I saw it. I wanted live bands! I guess since it’s a much smaller race it was probably easier to book DJs. None of the descriptions sited them as having much running or sporting event experience.
The DJs were OK. I noticed going up the north hill that the DJ had a metronome going so I was very curious what guidance they were given as far as tempo and what he was trying for. Nothing felt horribly off. There was one song a couple miles from the end of the race that I felt like was bringing me down but I didn’t recognize it. That was probably the toughest part of the race, right after the second north hill loop before the end really felt near. Whatever went there would have to be really good to have a positive impact. I was glad they didn’t play all club music. There was a pretty good mix of things. I tapped out a few of the songs for tempo that I could remember when I got home. Some of them were off the 180 bpm cadence, but nothing felt too terrible at the time so maybe the DJs could speed them up a bit.
There was one band afterwards, The Postelles. I liked them; they were fun. It seemed like a pretty tough gig since they didn’t have a lot of name recognition despite the fact they’re a local band. Probably only a few dozen runners gathered around to check them out. They made sure to let us know they were based in NYC but quick to note they were Manhattanites. This was after Marty Markowitz proclaimed that Brooklyn was named the coolest city on the planet in GQ Magazine at the start of the race. They also referred to the race as a marathon at one point which I found a bit irritating.
So, Competitor Network (the company that organizes this series), this is why I think the Lady Southpaw band would be fabulous playing at this event next year. The content of our music is specific to running. The Postelles played a song about running red lights and that got one of the biggest response because the chorus was all about “running.” Also, we throw in a ton of covers so there will be songs people recognize. If you get a big name for the after party next year we’d be happy to open for them, or play on the course. Anyway, I just had to throw that in there.
Great day! It was nice to run into some friends and the weather was perfect!