Rock n Roll Savannah Weekend 2015

What a fast-paced, exciting, and exhausting Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend we had (and by “weekend”, I mean Thursday-Sunday)!  Methinks the only folks that expended more energy than runners/walkers during those days were the weathermen/women in town (but without the accompanying fun…or medals).  For those calling Savannah home, it was coastal weather as usual: temperate, then hot and humid, then just plain humid, then windy and cold, then rainy and windy…well, you get the drift.  Except it wasn’t weather “as usual”, at least not when it comes to endurance events like the full and half marathons; there is no amount of preparation that can adequately get you ready to safely push your body to the extreme, mile after grueling mile, when heat and humidity come into play.  I could go on and on, but here are some clear-cut takeaways I’d like to ensure that I pass your way (keeping in mind that this is merely my opinion):

1.)Competitor Group (i.e. Rock ‘n’ Roll) absolutely made the right decision in shortening/diverting the races.  Although there were numerous medical stations along the route, it is numerically impossible for 8-10 people (at each station) to give the undivided aid that was necessary to assist the 20 people that were lining up at their tent with ailments ranging from dehydration and blisters to heat stroke and chaffing.  There are plenty of bummed folks out there, many of whom had put in tireless hours training in an attempt to reach/exceed their goals, but A.) by the time they were stopped, 9/10 of those runners had already seen their hopes fizzle and were ready to call it quits and B.) safety is always the best policy; “live to race another day” is not always just a clever statement (and, although this is way down on the “importance scale”, Rock ‘n’ Roll is buying their way into another event within the next calendar year).

2.)I know road diversions, backed up traffic, and even feeling like you can’t see straight because there are so many darn tourists in town can be both bothersome and anger-inciting, but at the end of the day, Rock ‘n’ Roll regularly brings in over 20,000 people and raises over $30,000,000 (that’s $30 million, people) for our fair city; there’s a reason tourism is our top revenue-generator, and having to deal with a hiccup in our daily schedules for a few days is certainly worth being able to live the remaining 361 days of the year in comfort and general prosperity.

3.)You’ve likely seen or heard it already, but I will confirm that a runner did pass away on the course on Saturday.  Savannah didn’t do anything wrong, Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t do anything wrong, and the runner himself certainly didn’t do anything wrong; it’s tragic, but when you get 20,000+ athletes together, it is heart-wrenching to admit that this is something that happens more often than any of us would like.  It happens to both the highly-trained speed demon and the back-of-the-packer; sometimes, our bodies just have a mind of their own, despite our best efforts at honing them.

Despite the wacky conditions with which this weekend presented us, all five races (full, half, 5K, 1 mile, and KiDS Rock) ended up being hugely successful and a lot of fun. I’d like to personally thank all of the volunteers, medical personnel, my staff, Competitor Group and the countless others I’m surely forgetting that helped to make this “weekend”, and so very many others each and every year, a reason to smile and take notice of both running and Savannah, two of my greatest passions.

 - Chris Ramsey 

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