Raleigh Ready: What Can You Expect During Your Carolina Race Weekend?

It is officially race week for Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh presented by WRAL!

While I am originally from Wisconsin, I now live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m so excited to run this race in my current home state. This will be my first time racing Raleigh, but I am no stranger to the running world or to Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events. Even though I grew up playing basketball as a kid, I took up running in my senior year of college and it’s changed my life in countless ways.

I just completed my 30th marathon two weekends ago. I’m so thankful for my running journey, the numerous ways it has helped me in the toughest moments of my life, and for all of the inspiring, encouraging, and motivating runners I have been blessed to encounter along the way. Running is an escape and an outlet for me. I know one day I won’t be able to do this anymore, but today is not that day.

The Course

I went down to Raleigh earlier last month to run the half marathon route and find out what I was getting myself into. The race starts in the heart of North Carolina’s capital and I can guarantee that come race morning you’ll feel all of the excitement and adrenaline of runners getting ready to take on the streets surrounded by the city’s tallest buildings.

There are definitely hills on this course, so it’s important to know what to expect–training for the course is crucial to success on race day. It’s never a good feeling to be surprised on course and feel undertrained, because unexpected hills can catch up to even the strongest of runners. These hills are spread throughout the Raleigh course, which should give your legs a chance to recover in between.

The course takes you throughout the city and through some beautiful green parks that will make for a scenic run. These areas are mostly flat with slight inclines in some places, but nothing too drastic. We’ve had a roller coaster of weather here in the Carolinas these last few weeks but you’ll have plenty of greenery to enjoy and look at throughout the way. Raleigh is the perfect mix of city and suburban life, which you’ll get to witness during the race. There will also be plenty of water, Gatorade and gel stations, with brand new signage for improved visibility, so you’ll be able to stay properly fueled and hydrated throughout the race.

The Finish Line

One of the best parts of running a race is finishing. You’ll cross the finish line to a huge group of spectators cheering you on, get your medal, and suddenly all of the training and early mornings will feel worth it. As you look towards the finish line and are running back into town you’ll be cheered on by the city of Raleigh who will be gathered to help you finish strong.

A great way to celebrate this milestone weekend is by joining the crowds at the Finish Line Festival in the heart of downtown with live music and of course, FOOD. I think I can speak for many that this is what everyone wants after they finish running. If you haven’t been to the South, you will definitely want to try Southern BBQ, Pimento Cheese and Hush Puppies. You’ll be able to find these almost anywhere. Or if you’re like me and you’re all about the donuts after a race, you can find some great ones at Rise Donuts or Duck Donuts.

Weekend Logistics

The Health & Fitness Expo begins on Friday at the Convention Center downtown at 3 p.m. until 7 p.m., then picks back up on Saturday at 10 a.m. If you have questions, the Rock ‘n’ Roll staff will be at the Information Booth to point you in the right direction. I love the Expo at Rock ‘n’ Roll races because of all the awesome swag they have there.

A perfect way to shake out your legs if you’re running the Half Marathon on Sunday is to run the 5K on Saturday. You can register for this on Friday at the Expo if you haven’t already. This race will be full of energy, making for an awesome way to kick off the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh presented by WRAL weekend!

I know I’m ready to rock the streets of Raleigh this weekend. Are you? Can’t wait to see you out there!