I remember the first time I accomplished the races to receive my Rock Idol Heavy Medal; it was amazing. There were so many cities such as Savannah, GA and Phoenix, AZ I had never been too; but wait until you travel abroad… y’all it is such a cool experience! The 2012 Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon was my first time to Spain as well as my 1st official international marathon. Here are some tips from a seasoned race-traveler I wish someone told me as a new Global Rocker.
- Is your passport current and not about to expire? If you have to take a picture for a passport get dolled-up because the picture will be traveling with you for 10 years.
- Print your flight travel, hotel, and race confirmation. You do not want to fly across the world to find out you are not registered for a race.
- Do not expect internet service to be the same as the United States.
- The pharmacies and supermarkets are very different from Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart. I recommend bringing your own first aid kit. Have the following when traveling:
- Band Aids (small and large)
- Ointment (whatever your needed race day poison may be)
- Benadryl (pill and spray)
- Nail clippers
- Hand sanitizer
- Headache reliever
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Use public transit. Make a copy of the transit system in color and map out simple routes like airport to hotel, hotel to expo, hotel to race start & finish to hotel(put in your checked bag).
- Make flip-cards of common words and phrases in your destination’s national language, and bring extras to make as you journey on.
- Get a good night’s sleep and lay out your gear the night before.
- Know bag check location and cut-off time. If you are late you will most likely be running with your gear.
- Portable lavatories are not as abundant at the race starts internationally as they are in the United States = use the facilities needed before you leave your hotel… just sayin’!
- Water and electrolyte beverages are usually dispensed with water bottles in my experience but always check your specific race site.
- Understand the conversion of miles to kilometers to pace your run.
- Know race signage symbols + emergency information.
The main thing is to have fun and respectfully enjoy the community you are visiting. I like to look at the world as one big city. I live in the neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and I visit destinations like the neighborhood of Madrid, Spain. Personally I think this makes the experience less intimidating.
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