Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Truth be told, I was a bit nervous traveling to Liverpool for the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in the immediate aftermath of the horrible terrorist attack in Manchester just a few days prior to the race. Ireland has deep, intimate connections with both Liverpool and Manchester and my community felt a tremendous amount of grief for this tragedy. But I needn't have worried as the local Liverpool community was absolutely prepared and ready to host this amazing event.
I took a 7am flight out of Dublin on Saturday morning. (It's only about 35 minutes to fly to Liverpool!) I didn't need to check any bags so it was super smooth sailing through the airport. My flight was full of Irish runners heading over for the race. I knew they were runners as several were actually wearing singlets and running clothes on the plane. At first, I thought they were just super excited to be heading over. I didn't realise they were actually RUNNING the 5k at 9am! I hadn't signed up for the 5k as I didn't think I could get there in time for the start. It turned out I totally could have made it there in time, even flying out on the morning of the race! I'll know better for next year.
Public transport to City Centre Liverpool was super easy...and cheap! For £2.30, I took a bus straight to Albert Docks where the expo and 5k were located. While I was bummed to not be running the 5k, I did get the chance to explore the expo before it got really busy. I listened to a couple speakers and visited with some vendors, a few who are actually former or current Bibrave Brand Partners!
I used AirBnB for my accommodation and it was perfect for me. It was within walking distance to the start and finish line, which was really convenient as I would not be able to take my bag with me to the race due to increased security measures.
The race itself was so much fun. I really enjoyed the course. There were definitely a few hills throughout, specifically a long uphill drag around mile 4, but the second half had several downhill stretches which were greatly appreciated. The last 4 miles are right on the coast into a decent headwind. I had been warned that this could be a difficult section of the course, but it wasn't too bad. There were a lot of switchbacks and u-turns along this area as we followed the course back toward the finish line at Echo Arena, which could be problematic if you are gunning for a PB. I was just enjoying the race so it didn't bother me.
The finish line area was unique to me. After collecting your medal and snacks, they usher you through a tunnel right into Echo Arena, where you can collect your bag if you check one. I thought this was fabulous because there were plenty of INDOOR toilet facilities available! You could also change your clothes if necessary and just clean up in general. Loved that!
I thought it was interesting that the marathon started an hour later than the half marathon at this race. In my opinion, I always give precedence to marathon runners in races. They are going twice the distance and deserve fully stocked aid stations along the way. Instead, the half marathoners went first, which meant that marathoners finishing over 4 hours completely missed the concert after-party. Perhaps the organisers felt that since there were considerably more half marathoners than marathoners, they would cater to that population. I feel disappointed for those who did not have the opportunity to experience the Rock and Roll after party because they were still running because that is what makes the Rock 'n' Roll Race Series so unique.
Overall, a fabulous experience and I would love to visit Liverpool again next year!