Rock ‘n’ Road trip heads to the Sunshine State for Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Clearwater, offering participants a Virtual Running Tour of the Gulf Coast with Half Marathon, 5k, and Remix Challenge Options

October 21, 2020

- Featured Rock ‘n’ Roller Casey Taker of Clearwater, Fla. shares why she loves to run in the Sunshine State - Over 10,000 participants from 88 nations join the Rock ‘n’ Road Trip during the seventh tour stop in Denver, Colo.

TAMPA, Fla. (October 21, 2020) After another weekend of virtual racing that included over 10,000 participants touring the virtual streets of the Mile High City for the Rock ‘n’ Roll VR®Denver, the Rock ‘n’ Road Trip tour bus heads south for some fun in the sun making its inaugural visit to Clearwater, Florida. While the Rock ‘n’ Roll Clearwater debut was delayed to 2022, this weekend’s virtual tour stop gives participants a preview of what to expect – a tour stop where sunsets, sugar sand beaches, and running go hand-in-hand. BoseRock ‘n’ Roll VR Clearwater will offer Rock ‘n’ Rollers the opportunity to virtually run in this stunning gulf coast community that includes one of the top-five beach’s in US with crystal-clear waters. Registration for the Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Clearwater remains open and available for FREE to the entire global community from October 23-25, with options of a Half Marathon, 5K, and Remix challenge. All Rock ‘n’ Roll® Virtual Running™ (VR™) Series races during the Rock ‘n’ Road Trip begin weekly on Fridays at 5 a.m. ET and close Sundays at 11:59 p.m. ET with participants being able to compete in the virtual tour stop anywhere, indoors or outdoors, as long as the distance of their choosing is completed in one session.

Clearwater, Florida is synonymous with play—relaxing in the sunshine by day and winding down with a cold drink at sunset. In normal years, it’s the home of music, art, and food festivals on the beach, making it a favorite spot for retirees and active people alike. But this city by the sea is not just about jazz and sunsets—it’s also the ideal place to run.

“Clearwater has a great athlete culture,” says Casey Taker, a runner based in the city. She’s an active part of two run groups, one that meets on Monday’s and the other one Wednesday’s—both based out of local breweries. Clearwater-based runners can choose from parks, beaches, and causeways with ocean views.

Featured Rock ‘n’ Roller

Casey Taker, Clearwater, Fla.

Casey Taker, a Raleigh, N.C. native who moved to Clearwater just a year ago, is already taken with her new hood. “It’s such a cool place to run,” says the 38-year-old Athlete Development Manager at Rock ’n’ Roll and IRONMAN. “When you’re running over the causeway bridge and the sun is coming up and there’s just blue ocean exploding in front of you—it’s got to be one of the prettiest places to run.” Running is a hobby that Taker has delved more into since getting hired on by the events company. “I was a big trail runner, but I’m newer to the road running piece,” Taker explains. This weekend, she’ll take on the virtual version of Bose Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Clearwater, her new hometown race. The Rock ’n’ Roll brand holds positive memories for Taker, whose whole family did Rock ’n’ Roll Virginia Beach in 2003. “It was the first half marathon for all of us. It got my dad into trail running and my aunt into road running—it spurred a bunch of things,” she says, including triathlons for her and her father. The two did their first IRONMAN 70.3 together last year and had planned on doing IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga together this year.

Taker is as passionate about her role at Rock ’n’ Roll and IRONMAN as she is about running: “I feel really lucky,” she says. “I get this opportunity to work with run and tri clubs as well as first-timers to get new people into the sport—to get people excited about conquering a goal. I think it’s so cool that someone decides to set a goal, whether it’s to lose weight or being a better athlete, and we get to help them along that journey. When you get to watch someone cross the finish line for the first time—there’s just nothing like it.” With all the curveballs this year has thrown, Taker has had to adjust but also had the chance to reflect. At the beginning of the pandemic, Taker felt the emotions of many athletes: “There’s nothing worse than spending half a year training for something that is then just washed away,” she says. “It was all about understanding that people were upset and letting them be upset. And not having answers—that was the hardest part.” Her tune these days is much more positive. “We’re on the upswing. We’re going to come out of this. People have come through and found ways to adapt and everyone’s ready to go. That’s really exciting.” Read on for more about what this passionate runner loves about the Rock ’n’ Roll Virtual Running Club, and the Clearwater event that’s coming to a virtual Rock ’n’ Road trip near you. Check out The Beat to read on for more about what Taker loves about her coastal residence and the why she loves the new Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club.

Clearwater Inspired Running/Walking Plans

Participants are encouraged to be Florida inspired in their virtual activities and share photos and videos on social media by tagging #RnRVRClearwater. Don’t live beachside, no problem. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Road Trip has some tips on how runners and walkers can experience the warm Gulf breeze blowing through their own communities with some insight from featured Rock ‘n’ Roller, Casey Taker.

  • Sunset steps: Do your virtual race at either sunrise or sunset to bring the spirit of Clearwater to your run. “Sunsets at Clearwater Beach are some of the best in the world,” says Taker. “I call it the money shot,” she says of the sunset views over the Courtney Campbell Causeway to Tampa—another one of her favorite routes. “There’s just blue ocean exploding in front of you.”
  • Park perks: One of Taker’s favorite places to run is Phillippe Park, on the coast of Tampa Bay’s Safety Harbor. This park features big mossy oak trees and old stonework.
  • Route replica: Find a flat-ish route that goes over a bridge or two in your city for another way to infuse your weekend half marathon or 5K with Clearwater cues. Add in a fall breeze and a sunset, as mentioned, and you’ll feel the fall Florida vibe every step of the way.

Fun Run Prep for the Rock ‘n Rollers

  • Gulf goods: Take advantage of everything the Gulf of Mexico has to offer ocean lovers, whether it be a swim or a Stand-Up Paddle board (SUP) at Clearwater Beach. Bring the ocean vibes to wherever you are by recovering from your virtual race with a swim in any open public pool or an SUP on your local lake or river.
  • Cuban cook-up: Looking for Clearwater-esque inspiration for your post half marathon recovery meal? In town, tourists and locals alike head to the Columbia Restaurant for their Cuban sandwich or opt for the famous grouper sandwich at Frenchy’s on Clearwater Beach.
  • Hidden hot spots: For something a bit more tucked away, Taker recommends a spot on Clearwater Beach called the Cooler. “They have the best açaí bowls ever—a lot of people will go run or swim then grab one,” she explains. Taker also loves Clearwater Bagel. “It’s this hole in the wall with takeout only, but they’re the best bagels you’ll have. They sponsor the Turkey Trot around thanksgiving, do a ‘beer and bagels’ at one of the local breweries off the route,” she adds. For a real gem that Taker is almost hesitant to mention, the Tin Can right near Clearwater is a “solid little diner style breakfast spot.”
  • “Toes in the Water”:While coastal Florida’s music scene might invoke images of Jimmy Buffet, tiki bar bands and sunset serenades, the greater Tampa Bay area offers a whole host of sounds and various genres of music. Year round, you can find local and national artists playing in clubs throughout the Tampa Bay region. From the The Ritz Ybor in Tampa’s famed Ybor City, to Skipper’s Smokehouse, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Amalie Arena or even street performances outside Clearwater Beaches Pier 60, the Bay Area knows how to host a rockin’ performance. For those looking for some Clearwater inspired music to run or walk to, check out this week’s Apple Music playlist – The Sand Bar
  • Around the Bay:Clearwater and the surrounding Tampa Bay metro area offer tons of outdoors excitement and variety of options when it comes to enjoying the year round warm weather. If you’re in the Tampa Bay area or planning a future trip, here are 10 things to do and see when you make it there:
  1. Swim in the Gulf at Clearwater Beach
  2. Visit Caladesi Island
  3. Watch the Sunset from Pier 60
  4. Check out Fort De Soto Park
  5. Walk the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk
  6. Stand Up Paddleboard in the Gulf of Mexico
  7. Visit Ybor City
  8. Enjoy a Grouper Sandwich at Frenchy’s
  9. Order a Cuban Sandwich
  10. Watch the Sunset at Jimmy’s on the Edge

Getting Started

To register for Rock ‘n’ Road Trip event, runners or walkers only need to sign up through the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club platform and connect to their tracker app. Runners can then complete their registration by going to the “Events” tab and clicking “Register Now” for free on the virtual race page.

Through the Rock ‘n’ Road Trip, participants will be able to earn exclusive digital event badges for every race and distance they complete; download race bib to personalize the experience; reward themselves for their efforts with cool destination themed finisher medals and T-Shirts; and earn points redeemable for sweet swag and more at www.runrocknrollstore.com/rock-n-roll-vr. Finishers who complete the Remix Challenge also earn access to additional medals.

Looking Back to Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Denver – By the Numbers

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Denver offered distances of a Half Marathon,10K and 5K along with the Remix Challenge
  • More than 10,000 people from 88 nations and 45 states stepped up to the virtual start line for the seventh stop on the Rock ‘n’ RollVR Series’ Rock ‘n’ Road Trip in Denver, Colorado this past weekend.
  • Participants for Rock ‘n’ Roll VR Denver came from around the world and ranged in age from 19 to 82.
  • The United States led the way with over 7,500 walkers and runners followed by Canada (over 350), United Kingdom (just over 350), Mexico (over 300), and Portugal (over 100).
  • Other nations represented included Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Romania, Oman, and Venezuela, among others.
  • Of the 45 U.S. states represented this past weekend, the greatest number came from Colorado, followed by California, Texas, Virginia and Florida.

 Giving Back While Rock’n This Town

Rock This Town® and the IRONMAN Foundation® have announced the fourth distribution of its IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund grants to 40 charitable organizations. To date, over $400,000 has been distributed to 160 health-related charitable organizations through the IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund grants. An additional 70 organizations have received support through Operation IRONAID Nutrition or Operation IRONAID Face Masks in partnership with Framebridge and Good360, bringing support to 230 organizations and impact to more than 2.5 million people globally through meal distribution, face coverings and grant funding for organizations supporting youth, the homeless, seniors, veterans and other vulnerable populations, as well as groups focused on research and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). In addition, the IRONMAN Foundation is providing four Humanitarian Relief grants in response to wildfires in Northern California and Canada. Applications for the fifth round of IRONAID COVID-19 Support Fund grants are also being accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on December 15, 2020. For more information about IRONAID visit ironmanfoundation.org/ironaid.

Full details and specifics regarding the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Series, Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running Club and Challenges are available on www.runrocknrollvr.com. For more information on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, please visit the website at www.runrocknroll.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to press@runrocknroll.com.


About Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®is the world’s largest running series taking part in over 30 destination events around the world every year. Established in 1998, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series simple idea of making running fun has transformed both the U.S. and global running landscape by infusing the course with live bands, cheer teams and entertaining water stations, creating a block-party atmosphere for participants and spectators alike. Focused on running, music and community, race weekend kicks off with a free Health & Fitness Expo showcasing the latest in running gear, sports apparel, health and nutritional information and much more. Events culminate with an entertaining finish-line festival featuring some of the biggest names in music, with past performances including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, O.A.R. Aloe Blacc, Pitbull, Flo Rida, The Band Perry, Fitz and the Tantrums, the Goo Goo Dolls and Bret Michaels. Further information about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series can be found online at www.RunRocknRoll.com and follow @RunRocknRoll on all social platforms.

About The IRONMAN Group

The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN®70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance (www.advance.com), a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.