With cooler weather and a flatter route, the second Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon appears to have ended happily for thousands of runners.
Streets closed, traffic piled up, and visitors and residents gathered on Sunday to watch some 8,300 registrants from around the world run a full or half-marathon.
Registration amounted to some 4,000 fewer runners than last year’s Rock ’n’ Roll event, a Raleigh first that drew about 12,500 registrants but was marred by two runners’ deaths.
However, this year’s total was more than organizers had expected in that first year, said Dan Cruz, spokesperson for the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series.
“We hit a home run last year in terms of excitement,” Cruz said. “It’s often difficult to recreate that excitement of an inaugural year.”
Many runners chose to run in teams, wearing coordinating shirts and outfits and using the race as a chance to raise money for their cause.
Adrienne Core of Raleigh, was part of Team V, which ran to benefit Cary-based The V Foundation. The foundation raises money for cancer research.
Runners on the team donned lime green shirts and often had personal ties to the organization.
“It’s such an incredible feeling, you’re running for so much more than yourself and your team,” she said.
Core completed the half-marathon in remembrance of her father, who died from multiple myeloma in 2006.
She has run half-marathons in the past, but being part of The V-Team allowed her access to coaches who helped keep members on track.
Running for three slain
Other runners had only a memory to fuel their effort.
A group of runners honoring Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha finished the half-marathon at about the three-hour mark.
The three college students were fatally shot in February following a parking dispute in their Chapel Hill condominium complex.
Finishing the race Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha was training for at the time of her death would make her proud, organizers posted on an online site where they recruited their group.
Other groups formed just to support each other. The Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon does not keep a count of the number of teams that participate, spokesperson Hilary Friedman said.
The two runners who died last year collapsed near the end of the half-marathon.
An autopsy report indicated Derrick Myers, 35, of Raleigh, likely had an undiagnosed heart problem that could have contributed to his death. No autopsy report has been released on Jason Schlosser, 31, of High Point, who also died.
The 13- and 26-mile routes were tweaked from last year to avoid some hills on the Reedy Creed and Edward Mill roads area. The changes were not in direct response to the deaths, Cruz said.
The new route is a more scenic route of Raleigh for runners who came from all 50 states and 10 countries.
Raleigh man triumphs
Raleigh resident Bobby Mack, 30, was first to finish the half-marathon, in an hour and five minutes. Salome Kosgei, 35, from Kenya, was the fastest woman in the half-marathon, finishing in an hour and 18 minutes.
New York native Benjamin Ludovici, 26, was first to complete the full marathon, in two hours and 41 minutes. Durham native Heidi Bretscher, 28, was the first female to finish the full marathon, in three hours and six minutes.
Last year’s Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon had an $8.1 million economic on the city, according to a study conducted San Diego State University.
An estimate of economic impact for this year will be available at a later date.
Team V ups its take
Even though overall participation was down, Team V, whose members run for The V Foundation, is on track to raise more money per runner than last year.
Team V members had to raise at least $750 each to be part of the foundation’s team.
At their pasta party the night before the race, 200 runners had raised about $140,000. They’ll have until the end of the month to finish raising money.
In July, Chicago will host its first Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and The V Foundation will be among charities benefiting from the race.
The V Foundation is named for Jim Valvano, the N.C. State University basketball coach who led the team to the 1983 national championship. The foundation was created when he died in 1993 to raise money that goes directly to cancer research.