First thing’s first and we need to get this out of the way: the Rocky Mountain National Park Half Marathon DOES NOT actually go into the park. It takes place and around the town of Estes Park, CO. This should not in any way discourage you from doing the race because it is absolutely so much fun and the views are lovely. You also get to see the Stanley Hotel (where The Shining) was filmed. We did not stay at the Stanley. We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies. It was much cheaper, but…I mean…it was the YMCA. It was about 15 minutes to get to the start line, it was clean, and there was no AC, just a box fan in the window. Would I stay there again? Ehhhh if I decide to bring the birds and rent a cabin sure? Otherwise try to snag something in town.
On to the races. First came the 5k on Friday evening and that just went around the lake. It was pretty. There was water. A bald eagle perched above the starting line and nearly crapped on three people and then flew off during the national anthem. Was it an omen? No idea.
The half was a much bigger beast. Organization-wise, there was a little bit of mess when it came to the corrals since I was put into the 2:30 pace corral and we all know that is aspirational. I mean, I managed to take half an hour off my time, but 2:57:09 is not 2:30:00. OH WELL. Lots of people were flummoxed about their corral placements but nobody died.
There were portable toilets as far as the eye can see, so A+ there. There were also plenty of water stops (I’m not sold on Gnarly…Nuun is still my go to drink, but whatever) and they had gels at pretty much every stop. I love Honey Stinger chews, but the gels are pretty decent as well. No complaints.
As far as the other perks? The photo company had a very reasonable $20 deal at the Expo which I took advantage of. They didn’t really cover the 5k, so be aware of that.
Overall, this race was great. The 5k was fun, the half was pretty and challenging, and the medals…did I mention the medals?
I want to also mention that Vacation Races was fantastic in every possible way when we had to make changes to my dad’s 5k registration. They’re prompt and accomodating and they have an awesome refund/transfer policy. With Disney eliminating the option to defer…well…I’m probably gonna stick to VR for a while after the Dopey 2017 races. I really want RunDisney to get their shit together but I’m not optimistic.
Feel free to message me if you have any questions!