What's on Tap

What's on Tap

All smiles: Rock 'n' Roll Marathon runners cross finish line in Raleigh

Posted March 31
Updated April 2

— Big, breathless smiles were on the faces of thousands of participants who crossed the finish line after running half and full marathons on Sunday morning.

In its 20th year, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is visiting Raleigh for a fourth time, with races ranging from 5K to a full marathon.

More than 8,500 participants – representing all 50 states and eight foreign countries – were registered to run Sunday morning in the race that starts in downtown Raleigh and ends with a concert and a party.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh is known to runners for its beautiful, if hilly, tree-lined course, and to Raleigh residents for widespread traffic disruptions.

The large event brings people of all ages from all walks of life together, including a 70-year-old runner celebrating his birthday and a man who traveled to Raleigh all the way from Kenya just to run in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

Edwin Kibowen finished first place in the half-marathon route. "I feel great," said Kibowen, who is in the United States for the first time. "I enjoyed the race. I thought this was a [great] opportunity to take to visit the U.S."

The ALS Association of North Carolina is the featured charity for the race. "This means the world to us," said Mary Luper, a board member for the organization who has the disease herself. "Getting out awareness of ALS, having people support us and trying to get more funding for research is my goal. This is awesome and we can't appreciate it enough."

Area motorists should expect road closures, especially within the square bordered by McDowell, Hargett, Fayetteville and South streets, where roads will close as early as 3 a.m. Sunday. Most other roads will be closed by 6 a.m. and will reopen as runners pass.

The race begins on Fayetteville Street at E. Davie Street and heads towards the historic Capitol Building before cruising by some of Raleigh’s most charming and historic areas. The journey ends at the new finish line on McDowell Street with a view of the Cree Shimmer Wall just outside of Red Hat Amphitheater.

After the race, runners and fans jam at the Finish Line Festival, headlined by '90s alternative rockers Cracker. The concert is free and open to the public.

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Be prepared to pay for parking

Those participating in the marathon can park in designated downtown garages. Those decks will charge a fee, and cars will be charged as they exit the garage.

Police warn against using GPS to get to the start/finish line, as streets will be closed. Police will be in place directing traffic, or drivers can use the Waze app to find available routes.

Race organizers recommend that runners be dropped off downtown by 5:30 a.m.

Drop-off points are set at Wilmington and Jones streets for access from the north and at Wilmington and South streets for those coming from the north.

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