2013 P.F. Changs Rock and Roll Marathon recap
January 20, 2013
I didn’t run in any of this year’s P.F. Changs Rock and Roll Marathon events, but I did spend most of the day down in Tempe surrounded by the activities. Carolyn was running in the half as part of her training for Boston so I drove her down to the race. It is pretty nice working two blocks from the start line so we were able to park in my garage and then go to my office to use the bathroom, stay warm and use the bathroom again.
I walked to the corrals with Carolyn as she waited for the starting gun. A few minutes before she was able to shed her warm clothes and hand them to me. Then off she went. I went back to my office and changed for my own run. Just a short run to kill time until I positioned myself to cheer on the racers. When I left my office I was amazed they were still sending waves for the 1/2 off. I ran a little route that had me run past the finish line then around Tempe Town Lake and finally up Mill Avenue and along the finish route. I discovered that the race now had some bike event included as when I was running over the bridge into downtown Tempe, the bikers were shouting there is a runner, there is a runner. Yea it was embarrassing for me, but should have been for them as well. I don’t quite think I look like a sub 45 minute half marathon runner.
After my run I camped out along the street, watching the first of the half finishers, as well as runners from another new event – the mini marathon. I have no idea where the hell a mini marathon came from other than the opportunity to make more money. 1400 runners signed up to run 5.4 miles that promised to capture all the excitement of the marathon. I don’t begrudge anyone for participating in a race, but come on. First, 5.4? Couldn’t they just add another block and make it a 10K? And secondly, other than getting a medal, and being around people in the marathon, I don’t see how a 5K on steroids or a stunted 10K captures the glory of completing a grueling challenge of endurance and metal fortitude of marathon, but whatever, anything to get more people running.
Carolyn came in just shy of 1:41, right where she wanted. I then saw the great miler Stevc Scott, owner of 136 sub 4 minute miles, finish a couple of minutes later. I would love to say Carolyn beat an Olympian, but unfortunately he qualified for the boycotted 1980 games. Then I saw the winner of the marathon wheelchair division. If seeing those guys doesn’t inspire you, I think you need to check to see of you have a pulse.
After cheering on the elite, then the really good and then the beginning of the warriors at the half, the leader of the marathon turned the corner. It wasn’t the usual Kenyon, but a guy wearing a bib in the 50,000’s. Ryan Neely from Berkley, California won in just over 2:30. I don’t know if he has won any others or how serious of a racer he is, but I know on this day, he beat all the others. And anyone that can run 2:30 is bad ass regardless of bib number.
Not too much later, Christie Farber with a more appropriate 111 bib won the female race with a time just south of 2:45. From what I understand she lead from from wire to wire. This victory came on the heels of winning the Tucson Half last month (her husband won the men’s half).
It was a fun day being support for Carolyn and spectator for the thousands of other runners. Of course watching all of these impressive achievements regardless if it was a sub three hour marathon or a three hour half, made me wish I was out on the course myself.