What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Bands, fans provide pep for Rock 'n' Roll runners

Posted April 10

— The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in Raleigh Sunday racked up some pretty big numbers:

About 9,000 registered runners

from 50 states and 9 different countries,

1,300 volunteers,

200,000 cups of water

and the number that makes Rock 'n' Roll weekend unique: 30 live bands.

From swing to rock to marching bands, the music is the motivation for those attempting to run the long distances, and it works.

"Any little bit will help," one runner said as she passed the 8-mile mark.

At Western Boulevard and Pullen Road, where the two races diverged, students from Wakefield High School provided plenty of pep to encourage runners to keep pounding the pavement.

"That's what we're all about in our band program: Make everyone push to the fullest. So I hope we do that for them," said student Sam Shefte.

Sawyer Langston, a physician's assistant, was volunteering in the medical tent, but she found time to step to the street to cheer.

"My physician and myself are both big runners," she said. "I love the environment and love to help out."

Runners and volunteers agreed: It's the environment that makes the Rock 'n' Roll race series special, and, this year, kept the chill away.

"I feel fabulous. I have all of the energy to keep me warm," said Heather Awner, a Fort Bragg soldier who was running with Team V.

The V Foundation is the marathon's featured charity, runners have raised more than a half million dollars for cancer research over three years in Raleigh.

Sherrie Mazur, the foundation's vice president of communications, reiterated the words of former North Carolina State University basketball coach Jim Valvano, the charity's namesake on Sunday.

"It's Jim's 'don't give up, never give up' attitude that is applicable in life, especially endurance fundraising events like this," she said.

Valvano died of cancer in 1993 but not before recruiting a team of family and friends to start The V Foundation in his name to raise money for cancer research.

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