Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh's beautiful, rolling hills are an attraction for many, but for the thousands registered for the April 12 Rock and Roll Raleigh Marathon and Half-Marathon presented by WRAL, they present a challenge.
The Rock and Roll's appeal – a party atmosphere and bands along the way – draws many runners looking to increase their distance. Many are running their first marathon or half-marathon, and those hills can be a turnoff.
Sherrie Mazur, vice president of communications for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, made her first half-marathon attempt on 2014.
"I'm not gonna lie, there were a lot of hills, and it was tough," she said. "But (it was) very rewarding to have finished it." 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon route
The marathon benefits a different nonprofit in each city where it is run. In Raleigh, that beneficiary is the V Foundation.
Chase Williams, running coach for Team V, offered said runners should engage the whole body, not just the legs, to tackle those hills.
"Don't forget to use your arms," he said. "Pump your arms when your legs are starting to give out on you. Pump your arms as hard as you can, because your legs will move as fast as your arms will."
The eyes are important too, Williams said.
"Try not to look up too much. Try to look level at the hill. When you look up, sometimes that's a little discouraging," he said.
To answer the complaints of Mazur and others, organizers of the Rock and Roll Marathon made changes for 2015. The half-marathon course remains the same, but the route for the full marathon will be much flatter.
Both races start in downtown Raleigh and wind east past Chavis Park, Oakwood Cemetery and William Peace University.
The 1/2 marathon route diverges from the marathon on the campus of NC State and winds back down Western Blvd to return to the Fayetteville Street finish line.
The marathon route heads west to the campus of Meredith College, then south to Lake Johnson before a return through Centennial Campus and to the finish line.
Mazur said another aid is the cheering of Raleigh residents who turn out along the course.
"When you're running that long, you need all the encouragement you can get," she said.
"Take it easy and don't run too fast at the beginning because there are a lot of miles ahead."
The races on April 12 are part of an entire weekend of events.