What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Local runners shine in Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Posted April 12, 2015
Updated March 31

11:30 a.m.: Dan Cruz, of Rock 'n' Roll Marathon organizers the Competitor Group, credited the spring-like weather with keeping conditions easy for runners.

"Overall just two runners were transported to the hospital and are both in good condition," Cruz said.

"The perfect weather has certainly played a helpful role this morning."

11 a.m.: As runners finish the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, the course is being reopened to traffic. Western Boulevard and Hillsborough Street were open by 11 a.m. and other parts of the course were opened as runners passed.

Thousands of runners completed the 26.2 mile course and will celebrate with more music – a free concert at Red Hat Amphitheater by Smash Mouth.

The party in downtown Raleigh lasted all morning long as enthusiastic crowds greeted runners at the finish line.

10:20 a.m.: A Durham runner, Heidi Bretscher, finished the marathon first among female runners, in 3:07, She was almost 10 minutes faster than then second-place woman.

10 a.m.: The post-race party has begun in Red Hat Amphitheater, where headline band Smash Mouth is set to entertain runners and fans in a free concert.

Winners of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon will get their awards immediately before the concert.

9:40 a.m.: About 2 hours and 40 minutes after they started, the first male marathoners crossed the finish line in downtown Raleigh.

New Yorker Ben Ludovici finished first, but Michael O'Brian, a first-time marathoner, was right on his heels, less than a minute behind.

Ludovici, a regular marathoner running his first marathon in Raleigh, called the last four miles "just brutal" and praised the competition put up by O'Brian.

9 a.m.: The bulk of the half marathon pack poured across the finish line about two hours after they began. Some stumbled and limped, while others appeared to have plenty left in their legs.

8:30 a.m.: Residents of Raleigh in neighborhoods along the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon course created signs and donned costumes to add to the party atmosphere along the way. Leyla Santiago gives out high fives to Rock 'n' Roll runners Video: Start, finish and cheering sections along the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

At Shaw University, students lined a bridge. In Oakwood, residents wore their sparkly best.

8:05 a.m.: Bobby Mack, who ran and now coaches track at North Carolina State University, finished the half marathon in a little over an hour, the first person to cross the finish line at the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon.

The winner of the women's half marathon was a Salome Kosgei, a Kenyan living in New York running in her fifth marathon.

7:25 a.m.: North Carolina State University graduate assistant track coach Bobby Mack, one of the top young runners in the country, leads the pack in the Half Marathon portion of the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

7 a.m.: Elite runners were among the first to start the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in downtown Raleigh right on time at 7 a.m.

Runners are slotted into start "waves" based on their estimates of their pace. Each wave gets a countdown and shotgun start so that those at the front of the pack can start at full speed.

Along the course, on Hillsborough Street, NC State students with signs of encouragement awaited the runners. Two bands -- the Wakefield High School Marching Band and @Risk, an 80s rock band -- were slated to play at that location.

6 a.m.: Police and marathon organizers had closed many major thoroughfares in downtown Raleigh by 6 a.m. to prepare the course for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Detours were posted for drivers, and cars left along the race route overnight were towed by police.

Runner Laura Galvin, among thousands gathered in downtown Raleigh said she was really nervous and a little cold as she waited in the dark where pre-dawn temperatures were in the mid-50s.

A first-time marathoner described herself as "a little scared and excited."


The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, described as a "26.2-mile block party," dominates downtown Raleigh Sunday.

Runners – who will participate in either full or half marathon races – will start on South Salisbury Street at West Davie Street in downtown Raleigh and finish on Fayetteville Street at East Davie Street.

The race starts at 7 a.m. and select roads will be closed to allow the runners safe passage.

Law enforcement will be stationed along the route at designated intersections to allow traffic to cross when it is safe for the runners.

Race organizers have been working with downtown Raleigh churches to develop alternate routes for worshippers headed to area churches. They have posted individual directions for dozens of congregations and will have officers directing traffic to and from houses of worship along the route.

Routes change for 2015

Runners who competed last year's marathon will notice some charges this year to the route. The marathon still begins and ends in the heart of downtown Raleigh, and runners will wind their way east to Chavis Park, north through the Oakwood neighborhood before making a turn to the west. The course passes William Peace University and Cameron Village. The revised route adds segments through N.C. State University's Centennial Campus and Meredith College campuses, as well as around Lake Johnson.

Gear check info:

Before you enter your assigned corral, drop-off your pre-race/post-race clothing and belongings at the Gear Check. Each participant will receive a large, durable gear bag at the Health and Fitness Expo when you pick up your packet. Gear Check trucks will be arranged alphabetically and by truck number near the Start Line. Attach your gear tag to your gear bag before you leave it with the Gear Check crew. After the race, reclaim your checked bag at the designated Gear Check area. Do not leave any valuables, cash or jewelry in your gear bag. Remember to claim your bag before close of the Finish Line Festival on race day.

Wave Start/Corral Systems

In an effort to provide everyone with as comfortable a run as possible, the Wave Start has been incorporated in most Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events. Participants are assigned to an appropriate corral based on the projected finishing time submitted on their entry form. Typically, there are multiple waves assigned to several of the finishing times. All spectators should be aware of this when organizing their viewing schedule for the day.

When the gun fires, the first corral will be released. The rest of the participants will be held at the start line. At pre-determined intervals the next corral will be released.

By using this staggered starting method, the pack will be spread out and allow every runner to settle into their racing rhythm from the first step right to the finish line.

Course Time Limits:

To ensure that roads reopen to vehicular traffic at the scheduled times, the course time limits will be STRICTLY ENFORCED. Participants must maintain a pace faster than the course time limits in order to complete the race on closed city streets. A cut-off location will be enforced on the course; runners or walkers who do not reach the cut-off location by this time will be stopped and shuttled to the finish line area. Please note – this is timing tag time, not gun time. Course time limits begin when the last participant and Tail Vehicle cross the start line.

When and where to watch:

Prime spectator times are between 9 and 10 a.m. as the bulk of the half-marathoners cross the finish line and between 10 a.m. and noon as the marathoners complete the course. The winning runners are expected to complete the half marathon in about an hour and the full marathon in about 2 1/2 hours.

Where to park:

Last year, the city released a list of three parking decks that officials recommend runners, families and friends use:

  • Blount Street Deck, at 314 S. Blount St.
  • Moore Square Deck, at 233 S. Wilmington St.
  • Wilmington Station Deck, at 115 S. Wilmington St.

Roads will be closed starting at 5 a.m. April 12 and city officials recommend that those seeking to park downtown be in place by that time.

Roads will open to traffic after runners have cleared the area. Race organizers said they expect all roads to be open after 4 p.m.

Finish line:

After the race, meet up with your loved ones at the Family Reunion area and relish in your post race accomplishment with refreshments and live music at the finish line stage. With so many people competing, you should designate a meet-up location before the race. The Family Reunion area will post tall, clearly-marked signs by letter (A – Z), so be sure to coordinate and plan to meet at a pre-determined letter.

Post-Race Concert at the Finish Line Festival:

It wouldn’t be rock ‘n’ roll without a live concert at the finish line where you can celebrate your accomplishment with some of rock music’s favorite acts! Rock band Smash Mouth will be headlining the concert at Red Hat Amphitheater, which is free and open to the public.

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