Races — Keflezighi Looks Ready for Olympics at Rock N Roll San Diego 2012

running-advice-bugSAN DIEGO – (June 3, 2012) – The 15th Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event on Sunday morning was a star-studded affair. Meb Keflezighi, winner of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, appears ready for the upcoming London Olympic Games. The 37-year-old ran smoothly and effortlessly on Sunday, winning the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego ½ Marathon in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 11 seconds, his second consecutive victory in his hometown. Ryan Hall, 29, the U.S. record-holder for the half-marathon at 59:43, struggled because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, and finished a distant second in 1:05:39.

Meb Ran Away with the RNR Half Marathon (Photo: Competitor Group)

The women’s half-marathon was won by New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith in 1:08:37, a time that would have placed her seventh among the men.

Nixon Machichim of Kenya broke away with a little over two miles remaining and won the men’s Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in 2:10:03. Russia’s Alevtina Ivanova also made a late burst and won the women’s marathon in 2:27:44. The men’s and women’s marathon champions each earned $25,000.

More than 30,000 entrants from all 50 states and 40 countries were greeted with ideal running weather on Sunday morning. The men’s half-marathon was the keynote event, expected to be a tense duel between the two Olympians. But after about a mile, it was no contest. Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, pulled away and the suffering Hall could not keep up.

“I wanted to go out early because I know how the race will be in London,” Keflezighi said. “I tried to duplicate what it will be like there.” The San Diego course is similar to London in that it has several turns and downhills. “This was not a do-or-die race, but I’m a competitor,” Keflezighi said. “I’m not a guy who likes to sit back and waits to kick in the last mile.”
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Races — Rock N Roll Madrid Marathon Really Rocks

running-advice-bugMADRID, SPAIN — The Competitor Group’s Rock N Roll Marathon series has made its debut in Europe. With its first new races in Scotland and Spain, the series of marathons that has brought big marathons to cities around the United States and Canada has landed on the Continent in style.

Preparing to Rock in Madrid

This weekend’s inaugural Rock N Roll Madrid Marathon showed that the popular format that includes rock bands, post-race concerts and smooth race organization can be transplanted to other parts of the world. The most notable impacts to the 35 year old Maraton de Madrid were a large increase in foreign competitors, from about 1,000 last year to 4,000 this year as well as a steep increase in the number of women competitors. Female participation in the event grew from only 8% in 2011 to more than 25% in the re-flagged 2012 event.

Rock N Roll Madrid drew approximately 19,000 participants across the Marathon and 10K distances with about 12,000 in the marathon and 7,000 in the 10K. Athletes from 78 countries took part in the event.

One notable difference between the Spanish event and many American marathons was a strict six hour time-limit for the marathon. Many races in the United States and Canada offer up to eight hours or more to finish, giving them wider appeal among first-timers and walkers. As Scott Dickey, CEO of Competitor Group told an audience on Saturday evening, “this is a race, not a run.”

Tough but Beautiful
The Rock N Roll Madrid Marathon route was routinely called “tough” by competitors afterward. The course sports nearly 20 kilometers of rolling downhill in the middle and a tough uphill section over its last eight kilometers. As one runner told me after the race, he recalled thinking to himself, “oh yeah, this thing goes up at the end,” when he hit the final long series of hills. Another simply told me it was “a real meat grinder.” A number of runners compared the course to the New York City Marathon, known for its tough bridge ascents and descents.

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Races — Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon Announces Race Route

running-advice-bugCompetitor Group, Inc. (CGI), organizers of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon, have unveiled the race course for the inaugural event. Approximately 15,000 runners are expected at the half marathon that will kick off the Rose Festival with a uniquely Portland flavor when it debuts for its first running on Sunday, May 20.

“The Rose Festival is proud to partner with an event that will showcase Portland, promote a healthy lifestyle and most importantly, bring even more visitors to our great city,” said Jeff Curtis, CEO of the Rose Festival. “We thank the City of Portland and all of our community partners involved with designing a course that both local and visiting runners have never had the chance to experience, including downtown, the waterfront, two bridges and inner eastside neighborhoods.”

The half-marathon start venue will be located on Naito Parkway, which is adjacent to downtown Portland’s scenic Tom McCall Waterfront Park alongside the Willamette River. After a short tour of downtown, runners will enjoy the first of two bridge crossings as they head to beautiful east Portland. There they will experience an eclectic mix of Portland neighborhoods, gorgeous Laurelhurst Park and a wonderful downhill finish heading back towards downtown on Lloyd Blvd. After the final crossing on the iconic Steel Bridge, runners finish back at the Waterfront Park on Naito Parkway at the corner of Salmon Street.

“Portland is a beautiful city with a strong local running community and this course was designed with the runner experience in mind. I truly believe it’s the best course the area has to offer, given the unique layout of the city, mass transit and our goal to be sensitive to churches and bus routes,” said Alan Culpepper, two-time Olympian and Operations Director at CGI. “The route offers an abundance of scenic views, including the Willamette River bridges, East Portland and Laurelhurst Park highlighting the very best of the City of Roses.”

A free two-day Health and Fitness Expo will kickoff event weekend on Friday, May 18 at the Oregon Convention Center. The expo is free and open to the public featuring the latest health and nutrition information with a variety of products for sample and sale, as well as a series of interactive fitness clinics.

Event weekend concludes with a finish line concert at Waterfront Park. Past Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon headliners have included SEAL, Blues Traveler, Journey, B-52s, Goo Goo Dolls and Bret Michaels. The headline act for Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland will be announced at a later date.

To see the new Portland Half Marathon race route on Competitor Group’s web-site, click here.

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Races — Dublin Joins Rock N Roll Marathon Series

running-advice-bugDUBLIN, IRELAND — The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series will officially add a half-marathon in Dublin, Ireland to its schedule of events in 2012. Competitor Group Inc., parent company of the Rock N Roll Marathon Series, has reached a partnership with Athletics Ireland to launch the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon, which is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants and is currently scheduled for Monday, August 6, 2012.

“Ireland and its capital city of Dublin are a perfect fit to host a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event,” said Peter Englehart, CEO of CGI. “Dublin is a bustling city with a great love of sports, outdoor entertainment and world-class cultural offerings. We are extremely happy and pleased to bring an event of this caliber to the city and we know there will be a lot of excitement around this race every year.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon is now part of an international series of musically themed marathons and half-marathons, uniquely combining entertainment with a scenic 13.1-mile road course. The event features live bands performing at every mile along the route, cheerleaders encouraging runners, themed water stations and a finish line concert headlined by a major act.

Race weekend in Dublin will begin with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo where all participants go to pick up their race number. The expo will feature several running and fitness retailers, exhibits with free nutritional samples and a series of interactive clinics.

“This event provides a perfect stage to grow local participation in athletics and it also comes at a time when we are increasing our focus on sports tourism,” said John Foley, CEO of Athletics Ireland. “Competitor Group is a worldwide leader in the endurance sports sector and it has an international presence that will help bring runners to Dublin from around the world. We want people to come to Dublin for our beauty and our culture and leave with an unforgettable running experience.”

Runners can take advantage of a special three day registration offer through 19 November by registering online at RunRocknRoll.com. Registration will officially open 1 December, and be provided by the Active Network.
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News — Rock N Roll Adds Edinburgh Half-marathon

running-advice-bugIf you’re looking for a reason for a trip to Scotland, you may not have your ticket. The Competitor Group announced this week the next race in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in Europe with the first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon, scheduled for April 15, 2012.

“We are pleased to announce our newest destination of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in Edinburgh, the storied capital city of Scotland,” said Scott Dickey, President of CGI. “Under the grand backdrop of the city’s momentous castles and iconic history, we will create an event weekend experience unlike any other. This expansion will create new opportunities for partners to reach the United Kingdom’s vast number of affluent participants in the running sector.”

Through an agreement with GB Events, CGI has acquired the ADT Edinburgh Half Marathon and will rebrand the event under CGI’s flagship Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series umbrella. The deal includes the retention of existing race director Mike James and the event’s rebranding will focus on providing an upgraded entertainment experience for participants.

“The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series is very well established in the USA and it’s a great honor for Edinburgh to have been selected as the first UK city alongside Madrid, Spain in its new European line-up,” said Councilor Steve Cardownie, Festivals and Events Champion for the City of Edinburgh, who also announced he would participate in April’s half-marathon. “That they’ve come to Edinburgh first is a fantastic indication of our sterling reputation as a world-leading events destination – our ‘can-do’ attitude and spectacular backdrops are the ideal ingredients for a highly successful event.”
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Races — Ethiopians Sweep Carlsbad 5000

running-advice-bugCARLSBAD, Calif. –– A confident Dejen Gebremeskel and a wispy Aheza Kiros gave Ethiopia a sweep of the men’s and women’s invitational races on the 26th annual Carlsbad 5000 on Sunday morning. Both events produced dramatic finishes.

Dejene Gebremeskel Wins 2011 Carlsbad 5000

Gebremeskel, last year’s runner-up, sat behind defending champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya for most of the 3.1-mile race before spurting ahead in the final 100 meters and finishing in 13 minutes, 11 seconds. The time matched Kipchoge’s winning performance of 2010 and equaled the fourth-fastest clocking in history.

By winning, Gebremeskel spoiled Kipchoge’s bid to break the world record of 13:00, established by Sammy Kipketer in 2000 and tied by him a year later. Kipchoge had said prior to the race that he thought he had a good chance of taking down the record. However, he was sidetracked by pacesetter Haron Lagat. Lagat was supposed to take the leaders through the first two miles, but only managed to hang on for just over a mile.

By dropping out, Lagat left Kipchoge to assume the lead. That led to some gamesmanship between Kipchoge and Gebremeskel. Shortly past two miles, Kipchoge signaled to Gebremeskel to take over the lead. The Ethiopian refused, continuing to run just behind Kipchoge. Then when Gebremeskel was only a few steps from the end, he pointed to the finish line, indicating that he was the winner.

“I knew I would win,” the 21-year-old Gebremeskel said. About his finger-pointing, he said, “I got to the finish line first. I pointed because I was happy that I won.”
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Races — Americans Wurth-Thomas, Rhines lead 2011 Carlsbad 5000

running-advice-bugCARLSBAD, Calif. –– Off her past two performances in the Carlsbad 5000, Ethiopian Aheza Kiros should be considered the favorite for the race’s 26th running on Sunday, April 3, 2011. However, there is a strong international field arrayed against her, including Americans Christin Wurth-Thomas and Jen Rhines.

Kiros, the 2009 champion and 2010 runner-up to world record-holder Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, has a 5,000m personal best of 14:56.33 on the track from 2009, and has run 15:26 at Carlsbad. The 25-year-old Ethiopian, who lives in Addis Ababa after growing up in the Tigray region, began running at a young age and almost always won her races during physical education classes. By the age of 16, she was representing her school at the All-Ethiopian School Championships, winning the 5,000m. Now, she is mostly a 10,000-meter runner and represented Ethiopia at that distance at the 2007 World Championships.

In addition to the two top Americans, Kiros can expect challenges from Pauline Konikwiang of Kenya, seventh at the recent World Cross Country Championships and the national junior record-holder with a 5,000 PR of 14:45.98, who is making her debut on the roads; Olesya Syreva of Russia, the European indoor silver medalist over 3,000 meters, the national indoor record-holder for two miles with a 5,000 PR of 15:19.96; Eloise Wellings of Australia, the 2010 national 5,000 and 10,000 champion with a 5,000 PR of 14:54.11; and Adrienne Herzog of the Netherlands, the national record-holder for two miles with a 5,000 PR of 15:34.37.

Meanwhile, Wurth-Thomas and Rhines should be in close pursuit of Kiros. Wurth-Thomas, the 2008 U.S. indoor champion at 1,500 meters, the 2007 and 2009 outdoor runner-up, and 2008 Olympian, is looking to improve her endurance by running a 5k.
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News — Competitor Group Announces Rock N Roll Portland Half Marathon

running-advice-bugPORTLAND, ORE — Competitor Group, the hosts of the Rock N Roll Marathon series have announced a new stop on their series to be held in Portland, Oregon in 2012. The new race will be a half-marathon and will be held in conjunction with Portland’s Rose Festival. Dubbed the Rock N Roll Portland Half Marathon, the new event will be held May 20th, 2012.

At a press event today here, a few details emerged about the new race. The course is all new and has been designed by Olympian Alan Culpepper. The course will start and finish in downtown Portland and will travel through northern downtown, Waterfront Park, Wallace City Park, Champman and Lownsdale Squares and Laurelhurst Park. Culpepper, speaking through Competitor Group, promises “limited elevation changes” on the new course.

The Rock N Roll Marathon series will encompass 19 races in 2011 and is likely to see continued expansion. New races added in the last year included St. Louis, Savannah, and Providence. The Rock N Roll Marathons have combined music and sport in way that has brought in many new runners. The typical Rock N Roll Marathon event attracts approximately 15,000 runners and walkers. Competitor Group expects the event to attract that many runners in its first year in Portland.

Competitor Group and Rose Festival officials indicated that the new race will not displace the Starlight Run, which is traditionally part of the Rose Festival. The new Rock N Roll race will be an entirely new event within the Rose Festival.

More details on this developing story as they become available.

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Races — Goucher Questionable for Rock N Roll Arizona

running-advice-bugKara Goucher is due to make her return to competitive road racing this coming weekend at the Rock N Roll Arizona half-marathon in Phoenix. Goucher has been taking off time to give birth to her first child Colt, who was born on September 25th, 2010. In the last few weeks, race organizers have made much ado about Kara’s appearance and her battle of words with Mario Fraioli of Competitor Group, who had planned to take Kara on at the race. In a posting yesterday on her blog, it now sounds that Kara may be questionable for the race.

In a posting on January 12th, 2011, Kara explains that newborn Colt was recently admitted to the hospital with an abscess in his neck. Apparently the problem was big enough that he was having trouble holding his head up, according to the posting. Kara writes, “we were supposed to travel to Arizona today for the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon, but that’s not going to happen. The doctor says Colt can travel as soon as he’s released, but that might not happen until Friday.”

Goucher explained that with motherhood brings new priorities and sacrifices and “now [that] I am a mother . . . those sacrifices are a reality.”

Goucher ends the post noting that she is still looking forward to running the race and is keeping up hope that it will happen.

We wish baby Colt, Kara and husband Adam well and hope for a speedy recovery. We’ll keep you posted on Kara’s status for the race this weekend. Everyone is looking forward to the return of one of America’s best runners to competitive racing, whenever that happens.

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News — Latin Music Marathon Set For Miami

running-advice-bugMIAMI BEACH, FL — The folks that brought you the Rock N Roll Marathon series are continuing to expand their musical marathon offerings. The Competitor Group announced today the Dodge Latin Music Miami Beach Half-marathon. The new event is scheduled for Sunday, December 11, 2011.

“As the Rock ‘n’ Roll series continues to grow, we take special care in choosing a city we know our runners will love,” said Peter Englehart, CEO of CGI. “We have great respect for the vibrancy and diversity of the Latin music culture and the Miami Beach destination brings a unique flavor to our series as we strive to provide the very best to our participants by creating world-class events nationwide.”

The Dodge Latin Music Miami Beach Half Marathon joins the Country Music Marathon in Nashville as extensions of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series umbrella. The half-marathon will be the eighteenth event in the national series of musically themed marathons and half-marathons, which are famous for lining race routes with live bands and fanfare at each mile. The series, which started in San Diego in 1998, is held across the United States in major markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and Las Vegas, among others.

Vice Mayor of Miami Beach Michael Góngora joined Englehart for the official launch at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach, which was also named one of the headquarter hotels for the event. The launch also saw appearances from actress Cindy Taylor, models Las Senadoras from Univision’s “Republica Deportiva,” and two-time Olympian Arturo Barrios, with a live performance from DJ IRIE.
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