What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Local bands hope to pump up runners along marathon route

Posted April 2, 2014
Updated April 9, 2014

Leeward Fate will play the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on April 13, 2014. (Photo by Eric Honeycutt)

— For Leeward Fate drummer Tom Miller, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon represents so much more than just another gig. 

The band from Raleigh played their first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 2011 in Savannah, Ga. Unlike other races, the Rock 'n' Roll marathon and half marathon are like giant block parties, with bands playing each mile to help motivate the runners. 

Once the rock/pop band finished their last set during the 2011 marathon, Miller said they started to put away their instruments. 

"All of a sudden...we see this guy running. He is a half-mile behind the last person. We were at mile 14 that year, and he was coming up toward the stage. He was a double amputee. He had prosthetic legs. He was running," Miller said. 

The band quickly set up their gear and played a song for the veteran, who was in obvious pain. 

"It was one of the most rewarding music experiences of my life," Miller said of honoring the runner. 

That is what the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is all about, Miller said, bringing people together and celebrating their perseverance. 

More than 12,000 people will run in the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon in downtown Raleigh on April 13. As these runners navigate the course, they will receive a high-energy soundtrack. 

"You feel like you are a part of this web of entertainment as a whole. Every band in each increment is providing motivation and good vibes to these runners until they get to the point where there is a new band," Miller said. 

Leeward Fate has played four Rock 'n' Roll Marathons, all in Savannah, and will be playing the Raleigh one. The band's bassist Richard McCorkell is from Raleigh and lead singer Daniel Nickels from Georgia. 

Miller said the band crafts their set list to give runners an "energy boost." They will play most of their third album "No Ordinary Kind" and will throw in some covers including some songs from Bruno Mars and Wham. 

"They let us know when they (the runners) are coming to our mile-marker. The most exciting part is anticipating this wall of runners coming," Miller said. "They all start high-fiving. You can tell if it is a song that is a favorite of theirs." 

With music along the route, most Rock 'n' Roll runners usually leave their iPod at home. 

"It is very primal hearing live music and not being isolated with an iPod," Miller said. 

Runners and spectators can look for Leeward Fate at mile-marker 13.3 in the half and 18.2 for the full marathon. If you like what you hear, they are also running a Rocket Hub campaign for their new album. 

Other local bands to look out for on the Rock 'n' Roll route: 

Mile-marker 1.1: Saints Apollo - This Raleigh band has a folksy sound reminiscent of Mumford and Sons.

Mile-marker 1.1: Shaw University Band - If a marching band doesn't get you moving, nothing will! 

Mile-marker 5: My Three Kilts - Not your traditional Celtic music! Punk and rock influences help make this a great marathon selection. 

Mile-marker 8.8/20.9: The Johnny Folsom 4 - This Johnny Cash tribute band will bring the Man in Black's hits to the route. 

Mile-marker 11.4/24.5: Gypsy Drugstore - This classic rock band with Raleigh ties will be playing this section of the race. 

Mile-marker 18.7/21.4: 3WB - This nine-piece band features a four-piece horn section. They play a mix of rock, blues, funk and soul. Listen for originals and covers of hits by B.B. King, The Blues Brothers, Chicago, Dr. John and Stevie Wonder. 

Mile-marker 12.5/25.6: Trophy Husbands - This Raleigh cover band plays everything from Billy Joel to Green Day. Look for a mix of rock, pop, country and R&B. 

Map of bands and where you can find them along the route 

Post-Race Concert at the Finish Line Festival:

Music continues after the race when rock band New Politics will be headlining a concert at Red Hat Amphitheater. The show starts at 10:30 a.m. with New Politics. Old Habits will play at noon. The concert is free and open to the public.


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  • Hubris Apr 8, 2014

    I'm sure the blaring music will make a nice soundtrack to the blessing of the palms at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This occurs outside before mass has it has for more than 60 years.

  • Concernedforourkids Apr 3, 2014

    Sounds like a long half marathon!

  • dwntwnboy2 Apr 2, 2014

    Will have to check the map to see who's playing near us! Might as well enjoy it and experience the fun. Can only hope the weather is good that day for the runners, bands and crowds alike. Oh, lets not forget our church going friends- may the day be bright and sunny so all the stained glass windows glow with the glory of a new day.

  • Peter Kerstetter Apr 2, 2014
    user avatar

    Ah, so not only are area churches having their Passion Sunday services disrupted, they also get to have a somber day that starts Holy Week with a block party.
    Looking at the map of the road race, it will be very difficult for me to leave my house and go anywhere.