This Sunday, more than 5,500 runners from 45 states and 15 countries will hit the San Francisco Waterfront in the city’s first Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.
The series, which hosts half-marathons around the nation with live bands lining the course, culminating in a larger concert at the finish line, has been in existence for 16 years, and officials say they are anxious to hold its inaugural San Francisco event this weekend.
According to Dan Cruz, half-marathon spokesman, race officials decided to come to San Francisco because of its desirable location.
“San Francisco is an international destination and there’s really nowhere people want to travel more for a marathon,” Cruz said. “There’s nothing like the city’s iconic attractions and it’s an amazing chance to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.”
Named the Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon, the race sold out in less than three months when it was first advertised in late October 2012 – a record sell out for half-marathons.
“We are very excited to be hosting this event in San Francisco – we believe it can become one of the premiere West Coast races,” Cruz said. “We hope to operate a great race this year and hope to grow the event to a bigger race in 2014.”
The scenic course highlights some of the city’s well-known sites including The Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, the Presidio, as well as the views of Alcatraz and the famous San Francisco Skyline.
Runners will begin their 13.1-mile trek on the Muni Pier on Van Ness Ave. and head to Old Mason Street by the second mile. The course continues through Crissy Field leading runners to the Golden Gate Bridge by mile five, carrying them about 1.7 miles to turn around and head across the historic Golden Gate in the opposite direction. At almost 11 miles, runners will hit the San Francisco Bay trail and continue on Marin Boulevard, concluding the run at the Aquatic Park Promenade, according to the race route.
Water and Gatorade stands will dot the course, as well as live bands at two stages along the course. Cheerleaders from local schools will be performing, encouraging race participants along the way.
“The Rock-n-Roll series makes running more fun by putting out some music and having the cheerleaders along the way to encourage the runners – it makes the 13 miles go by faster and it’s a lot more fun,” Cruz said.
While runners take to the streets, drivers might want to familiarize themselves with some road closures.
City residents can expect some road closures between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m., with streets opening on a rolling basis as the last participant passes, Cruz said.
Streets impacted include Jefferson Street between Hyde Street and Westerly Terminus; Polk and Beach streets; Beach, Bay and Laguna streets & Van Ness Avenue; Marina Boulevard westbound; Mason Street and Crissy Field and McDowell avenues; Lincoln Boulevard, Long Avenue and Conzelman Road;
Marine Drive and the San Francisco Bay Trail.
At the finish line, runners will enjoy the tunes from headliners The Mowgli, which will perform their hit single “San Francisco” at the finish line festival.
“It wouldn’t be a rock’n’roll marathon without a great rock concert at the finish line,” Cruz said.
The weekend kicks off Friday with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the Moscone Center where participants pick up their race number and packet. The expo will feature more than 100 running and fitness retailers, exhibits and interactive clinics.
Aimee Lewis Strain, Bay City News