Runners hit the San Diego roadways for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An estimated 30,000 runners took to the San Diego roadways Sunday for the Rock `n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon.

The marathon runners started at 6:15 a.m. from Sixth Avenue and Quince Street. They followed the 26.2-mile course through Mission Valley, Bay Park, East Mission Bay, Little Italy, downtown San Diego and Balboa Park before finishing at Petco Park. Half-marathon participants set out a half-hour later, and ran through North Park, Normal Heights and Balboa Park. They will also finish at Petco Park. Most of the elite athletes ran the 13.1-mile course. 

The men’s side featured Meb Keflezighi, the San Diegan who became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 back in April. Keflezighi is was on hand as a pace-setter, and he planned on completing the course in about 90 minutes. Also in the field are Ryan Hall, the two-time Olympian who is the only American to break the one-hour barrier in a half-marathon, and Dickson Chumba of Kenya, this year’s Tokyo Marathon champion. 

Three-time Boston winner, Rita Jeptoo, led the women’s half-marathon field. Competition came from, among others, a pair of Ethiopians in Birhane Dibaba, who finished second in Tokyo, and Amone Golena, who won in Los Angeles last year. Organizers say 30,000 runners have entered, representing all 50 states and 40 countries. More than 40 bands will perform on 20 stages along the course. A post-race concert will be headlined by Aloe Blacc. The grand marshal for the Rock `n’ Roll Marathon will be Jim Ryun, who ran the first mile under four minutes 50 years ago. 

Proceeds will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Drivers should be aware of numerous road closures along the route during the morning hours and past lunchtime until around 2 p.m. The Metropolitan Transit System suggests that customers planning to ride a bus today should leave early because 20 bus routes will be disrupted. The trolley will begin running on the Blue Line at 4 a.m. from San Ysidro and on the Orange Line at 4:18 a.m. from El Cajon, according to the MTS. Officials with the transit agency said runners should get off at the Fifth Avenue station in downtown San Diego and walk to the starting line. While many roadways in the area will be closed, North Harbor Drive alongside the airport will remain open.

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