There seems to be tremendous interest right now in the health effects of sugar in our diets. Many people say that it is sugar, rather than fat, that is leading people to be overweight. Documentaries like "Fed Up" talk about both the addictive nature of sugar and how the idea of "eating better and exercising more" makes little sense when the environment makes it practically impossible to eliminate sugar additives from your diet in the first place. No matter how hard you try, the deck is simply stacked against you, so the thinking goes. So 21 days ago I set ...
SAN 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.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.”
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — June 1, 2012 – Don’t confuse the Robert Cheruiyot who won the 2010 Boston Marathon with the Robert Cheruiyot, who won the Boston Marathon in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The first and last names are the same, but that’s one of the few resemblances. The more recent Boston winner is 23, the other is 32. The 2010 winner’s middle name is Kiprono, the other’s is Kipkoech. The younger Cheruiyot will be heading a strong professional field for Sunday’s 15th annual Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. The other Cheruiyot will not be competing.On top of one of the strongest marathon fields in memory at Rock N Roll San Diego, the Half Marathon will feature two of America’s top runners in their final preparations for the upcoming 2012 Olympics. Both Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi will be gunning for a win Sunday as they test their fitness for the games.
Back to the Cheruiyots. “We are not related,” Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot said on Friday for the other Boston winning Cheruiyot.. “I’m not the one who won Boston four times. But now I have done it and I’m very happy to have done it.” Both Cheruiyots live in Kenya, but a great distance apart. The older one lives in Nairobi, the younger in the village of Sarucha.
When Kiprono returned to his little township two years ago after his Boston triumph, he was greeted like a conquering hero. He estimstes that about 20,000 people from villages all around his home base turned out to greet him and threw him a celebatory party. They also presented him with five cows, which he gave to his mother. Should he win in San Diego on Sunday, the celebration won’t be as large, but it will be significant, he said.
MADRID, 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.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.
Pittsburgh, PA – March 21, 2012 – Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) ), organizers of the Rock N Roll Marathon series, today announced Pittsburgh as the newest Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon destination beginning next year. The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Pittsburgh Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, August 4, 2013.
“We’re excited to welcome nearly 12,000 runners from around the world to the City of Pittsburgh next August. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is an excellent opportunity to show why National Geographic Traveler named Pittsburgh a ‘Best of the World’ place to visit,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.
The musically themed race series combines live, local bands, enthusiastic cheerleaders, and spectator-lined streets, taking runners on a 13.1-mile tour through one of America’s iconic cities. The race will promote Pittsburgh as a destination city, highlighting its landmarks, unique neighborhoods and scenic riverfront.
Estimates project more than 50 percent of event participants will travel from out of town and the event could fill 5,000 hotel rooms in the Pittsburgh area, providing an economic impact of $8 million for restaurants, shops and other local businesses in its first year.
Competitor 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.
Running Advice and News
DUBLIN, 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.
According to race officials this week the SunTrust National Marathon in Washington DC will be rebranded as the “SunTrust Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon” starting with the next running on March 17, 2012.
“Washington DC has an incredible running scene and a plethora of great musicians, making us the perfect city to host a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. It’s a winning combination for a spectacular event in the District of Columbia next year,” said Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray. “I heartily welcome anything that improves the health and wellness of our community and certainly welcome anything that generates revenue for our great city. That’s why you’ll see me at the starting line in March.”
Even organizers claim that the event is the only marathon run entirely within the District of Columbia, featuring a picturesque route through the nation’s capital that highlights the many monuments and landmarks which celebrate American history.
Registration is now open online, featuring a special 50 state challenge offering a free entry to the first participant to register from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Free entry winners will be announced throughout the week on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RnRUSA. A special 48- hour promotional price of $60 for the half-marathon and $75 for the marathon is available online. The price increases on Wednesday, August 3 to $80 for the half and $95 for the marathon.
Virginia Beach, VA –– U.S. Half Marathon record holder Ryan Hall has confirmed that he will be racing in the eleventh edition of the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, September 4. And after nine straight years of Kenyan domination, an American will toe the start line as the favorite to become the event’s first U.S. champion.
“I’m looking forward to my first Rock ‘n’ Roll event of the year in Virginia Beach,” said Hall, America’s fastest distance runner, who has spent the past month training in Europe. “It will be nice to head back to the U.S. and run on home soil after the summer season as I continue to prepare for the Olympic Marathon Trials. I’m sure there will be some great competition and I’m looking forward to a good solid race on Labor Day Weekend.”
Throughout its history, the Virginia Beach event has produced some great champions including Paul Tergat and Martin Lel. If Hall was to follow in their footsteps he would have to break the stranglehold of African domination at the race; nine of the ten races to date have seen the champion hail from Kenya aside from year one, which was won by Shadrack Hoff of South Africa.
The soundtrack of the weekend will be provided by a star-studded Verizon Wireless American Music Festival lineup featuring the Stone Temple Pilots, ZZ Top and Bret Michaels headlining the Labor Day Weekend extravaganza.
If 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.”
Running competitively on the roads for the first time in his hometown, Meb Keflezighi didn’t have time to acknowledge all the well-wishers along his half-marathon route at Sunday’s Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & ½ Marathon to Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Instead, he rewarded them with one of the most memorable races of his illustrious career.At the second edition, Keflezighi delighted a cheering, happy crowd at the SeaWorld finish line by winning handily in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 40 seconds, nearly three minutes ahead of runner-up Drew Polley (1:05:38).
As much as the spectators reveled in Keflezighi’s victory, they also marveled at Bizunesh Deba’s triumph in the women’s marathon. At the 14th running, the 23-year-old Ethiopian burst across the finish line in 2:23:31, an event record and the fastest time ever run by a woman in California. The previous state best was 2:24:52 by Joan Benoit (USA) at the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles on August 5, 1984. The Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon course is not record standard per USA Track & Field rule because it drops more than 1 meter per kilometer.
The men’s marathon winner was Terfa Negari also of Ethiopia in 2:11:18, and the women’s half-marathon champion was Gina Slaby of Tucson, Ariz., in 1:16:33. While the performances by Deba, Negari and Slaby were impressive, it was Keflezighi who intrigued the crowd the most.
The UCLA grad led all the way, pulling away from Kenya’s Martin Lel after four miles on the undulating, curvy course through the streets of San Diego. Lel, a three-time winner of the London Marathon and the runner-up of that event this year, shadowed Keflezighi through the early stages of the race. Then, when Keflezighi ripped off a 4:24 spurt from mile three to four, Lel was done. He struggled for another two miles before dropping out. After that, it was Keflezighi against the clock.