I have done some crazy things for access to private porta potties while running.
Whether it is a half-marathon or a full marathon, being able to go “one last time” to the porta potty before the start is probably the MOST important aspect of my pre-race plan. To that end, I have spent money at race expos (aka – more than $200) to get a special sticker that would grant me access to Brooks Running VIP Porta Potties – at several races. So when I was preparing for the Rock’n’Roll San Antonio Marathon – I jumped at the chance for the Rock’n’Roll VIP experience – which among other things – grants you private potties. It seemed like a no brainer – $75 so that I could tinkle before the start gun…. yes please!
Except that what I discovered in San Antonio, was that the Rock’n’Roll VIP experience is SO MUCH more than just shorter lines and cleaner porta potties. And from now on – every time I register for a Rock’N’Roll race – you can absolutely bet that I will add on the VIP experience as my secret weapon for destination running.
Five Reasons the Rock’n’Roll VIP Experience is Worth It
Every Rock’n’Roll Marathon series race is unique, so it makes sense that every VIP experience package would also be different depending on the city. But what I do know is that it the VIP package is worth it – in every city – especially for runners that travel to the race from out of town.
1. For destination race runners that are traveling to a Rock’n’Roll half-marathon or marathon, the VIP area gives you peace of mind and a less crowded space to gather your thoughts before a race. Also, access to pre and post race food means that you do not have to worry about the fact that room service does not start until after you need to be at the start line. You can only pack so many things when traveling by air to a destination race, so assuming that your favorite pre-race snacks did not make it into the carry on, it is nice to know that many of your favorites will be provided for you. There is room to stretch and you have the chance to zone out or meet other runners.
2. Private bag check means holding on to your gear for longer (and no waiting after the race). In some cases, bag check areas are very far from the start line for “regular runners” – as was the case in San Antonio. I had not realized what a perk having a bag check within the VIP area would be until I could hold on to my extra layers and make last minute decisions about what to bring with me during the race.
3. Private restrooms. Honestly, there is not enough time in the day to list why shorter lines and cleaner rest rooms are heaven sent on race days. As someone who “goes” often before a race – little to no lines can mean going one last time before getting into the start corral. (I have also been known to leave my start corral and go one more time – because I can when there is no line –and you start in the way back like me.)
4. Do you get hungry after a run? The catered post-race buffet will go much farther than a granola bar or banana – and in most cases – the VIP experiences offer beer and a mimosa bar. Or if you are like me, you can ask for the champagne without the orange juice – because although I cannot stomach beer after running, I can sip champagne any time of day!
5. Many races offer massages to runners at the finish, but in most cases, there are long lines for these services and they tend to be very short. At the Rock’n’Roll VIP tent on the other hand, the massage ensures a blissful race recovery. While I did wait for a few minutes for my massage, once Jenny Rice – a massage therapist from MBS Spa in San Antonio – took to my legs for a blissful massage session, I realized what an incredible luxury this was. Working out the lactic acid and the immediate soreness from my hamstrings, quads and IT Band – my massage (I lost track of how long it was but it was at least 20 minutes) was one of the key reasons that I was able to walk up and down stairs two days post-marathon without any pain. Granted, the lines may have been longer had I run the half-marathon (as the 13.1 distance tends to be more popular during Rock’N’Roll events) but even then, it would have been worth it.
A few more thoughts about whether you should upgrade to the Rock’n’Roll VIP experience
- The VIP upgrade lasts the entire race weekend at some Rock’n’Roll races – like Las Vegas. It is important to see what is offered to make sure you can take advantage of everything in the upgrade.
- The VIP upgrades sell out. Spaces are limited for each VIP experience – so if you think you want to upgrade yourself – my tip would be to go for it!
- More and more races (outside of the Rock’n’Roll series) are offering first-class VIP experiences like Run Disney and the Wilson Bridge Half.
Although I am a member of the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series #Rock’n’Blog team for 2015, I became a fan of the VIP Experience Upgrade before becoming and ambassador. Spending $75 for the experience was one of the best running expenditures I have made and plan to keep purchasing the upgrades on my own in 2015.