Races — A View of the Front of PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon

running-advice-bugOur own Coach Dean Hebert was at the Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon this weekend watching the athletes and helping out with some USATF referee duties. Coach Dean brought along with him one of his assistants Christina Heinle of Phoenix and the two were hosted to ride on the press truck at the front of the race. We want to thank Competitor Group for always showing us such hospitality at their races.

Christina experienced what Dean and I have experienced a few times now: watching the leaders from the press truck. It’s an interesting experience. For one thing, you are quite literally staring at the leaders as they run — really hard — for the entire race. You’re just a few few in front of them and you’re looking right at them for miles and miles, no matter what happens. Someone stops to tie their shoe, trips and falls, drops their water bottle, trips over a curb — whatever — and you’re right there to see it. I recall watching the lead women at the Country Music Marathon in 2009 when nearly all of them, the entire lead group, crashed into each other trying to get their bottles in an aid station. One second everything is fine, the next second everyone is on the ground.

It is also interesting in that you realize how long a marathon really is to cover on foot. The experience is very different when you run it yourself. When you’re sitting in the back of a truck rolling along at 10-12 miles per hour, it feels like a pretty long way. And since you’re personally not busy running, you get a chance to look at the buildings, the spectators, the neighborhoods — and you realize just far it really is.

Speaking of sitting in press trucks, I have to recall my first time watching the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon from a press truck. It was about 35 degrees that year, an unseasonably cold day for Phoenix. We climbed into the truck. The truck start rolling. The wind start hitting me and — I can remember the sensation — my fingers were so cold that I could barely type. Sitting still in the back of a truck for a couple of hours can be bone-chilling, no matter how hot the action is on the road right behind you.

There is also something oddly quiet at the front of a race. I know many of you are seasoned marathon runners and are used to the crowds on the road and the many people cheering next to the road. At the front of many races, their could be one, two, maybe up a small group of six to ten runners at any given point. And in many places along race courses (think bridges, freeways, and other places where spectators can’t gather) there is no one along the road. At these points, you really get a sense of how extraordinary it is what the athletes at the front are doing. Here there might be 30,000 people doing the same thing behind them, but that is many steps removed. They are out front, in the quiet, running along by themselves, distancing themselves from the rest of us with every footfall. You come away from witnessing this with a new awe at the talent on display by these runners.

Coach Dean and Christina watched the men’s race and Josh Cox’s attempt to set a new 50K record. Cox did break the American Record for his second time, missing the world mark by just seven seconds. He vowed to be back in two years to try again.

Christina wrote more about her experience and posted many photos on her blog Lazy Bones Running. To read about her Experience at the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon click here. Enjoy.

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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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Photo Gallery — Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon 2010

With the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon in the books for 2010, we have lots of photos to share. Here are my 30 favorite photos from the race on Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona.

If you see yourself in one of the photos here, please let us know and we’ll be happy to make the image file available to you.

To go to the gallery on Picassa, click here.

All photos by Joe English. Photos copyright 2010 Running Advice and News.

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Scoop — Kastor to chase 20K and 10 Mile records at PF Chang’s

running-advice-bugPHOENIX — There are unconfirmed reports that organizers of next weekend’s PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Half-Marathon are putting the pieces in place for Deena Kastor to make a world record attempt at the 10 mile and 20K distances during the half-marathon.

In order for world records to be officially sanctioned they must be precisely measured and timed by a group of officials. Event organizers were apparently working the details today to make sure all is ready for world record certification.

Kastor is set the American record in the half-marathon in Berlin in 2006 in a time of 1:07:34. She is considered one of America’s top distance runners, although she was recently side-lined by an injury in the Beijing Olympic Marathon.

Ryan Hall, one of the top American male distance runners, is also scheduled to run in the half-marathon next weekend. Hall set the American record with a 59:43 time in Houston in 2007.

As the story unfolds, we’ll provide additional details.

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Video: Coaches Joe and Dean talk Rock N Roll Arizona

Just before the 2009 PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, Coaches Joe English and Dean Hebert of Running Advice and News talk about the race, what it means for Arizona and why you might want to come here to run it next year.

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Races: Kigen Wins 2009 Rock N Roll Arizona in Marathon Debut

Rock N Roll Arizona Start 2009

Rock N Roll Arizona Start 2009

PHOENIX — Moses Kigen of Kenya won the men’s title in his marathon debut today at the 2009 PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, narrowly missing the course record. His final sprint was good for a half second victory over Ethiopian Tekeste Kebede.

Kigen, 25, won the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 36 seconds, the second-best time in the six year history of the event.

Run under perfect conditions, the day provided an excellent opportunity to go after the course the record. The weather was clear and mostly calm with temperatures starting at 48 degrees in the morning.

“It feels great to win in my first marathon,” said Kigan. “The course is fantastic, flat and very fast. The running conditions were perfect. I’m going to come back for the course record next year.”

How it Unfolded
Nearly the entire men’s field jockeyed for position over the first few miles of the race. A lead pack of seven runners then began to click off sub 5-minute miles. After the 10 mile mark, mile splits were 4:51, 4:53 and 4:44, with a half marathon split of 1:05:09. At the 25K mark, Kigan, Kebde, and fourth place finisher Keteme Nigusse of Ethiopia pulled away.
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Broadcasts: Rock N Roll Arizona Television Broadcast Information

PHOENIX — The PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon will be held Sunday January 18, 2009. The event will be covered on television in a special broadcast to air nationally on the Fox Sports networks.

Local Broadcast in Phoenix
In the Phoenix area, a special race coverage show will be aired on Fox Channel 10 (Fox 10) Sunday January 25th, 2009 from 3-4PM Mountain Standard Time. This is one week after the race.

National Broadcast on Fox Sports Network
The race coverage special will also air nationally on the Fox Sports Network. The special will air on Saturday January 31st 2009. Air time will vary depending on the station, so check your local listings.

We will have complete coverage here on Running Advice and News throughout the weekend. Check back here for more.

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Interview: Susan Loken, US Women’s Masters Marathon Champion

Ahead of Sunday’s PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon, I had a chance to talk to Susan Loken, US Women’s Master’s Marathon Champion. She earned that title last October at the Twin Cities Marathon, which was held the same day as the Chicago Marathon. She told me that the Twin Cities race was hot, but not as hot as Chicago. Susan ran a 2:48:36 there, a time that reflected the heat. She ran two other marathons in 2007, both in times of 2:47. At PF Chang’s she hoped to better all three of those times.

Susan Loken at PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon

Coach Joe (CJ): What’s your lifetime Personal Best in the Marathon?

Susan Loken (SL): 2:41:00.
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Interview: Sally Meyerhoff after the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon

Sally Meyerhoff set out to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in her debut marathon at PF Chang’s Arizona. Read a pre-race interview with Sally by clicking here. Sally ran well and secured an entry into the trials with her 2:42:45 run through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe.

Sally Meyerhoff at the finish
Photo: Joe English, Running Advice and News

I caught up with Sally at the finish line to ask her about the race.
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Images from PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon 2008

This post is from the 2008 race. For 2009 Images click here. For 2009 race coverage, click here.




PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Marathon 2008

Originally uploaded by Coach Joe English

Here are some selected images from the 2008 PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Marathon in Phoenix, Arizona.

There are 26 images from the race, many of the elite women’s race which we were covering on race day.

Click here for a slide show of the images.

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