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Posted: July 31, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon to Debut Sunday

Over 3,000 runners from 35 partner charities to raise over $3 million

Kara Goucher to throw first pitch at Saturday's White Sox-Yankee Game

Chicago, Ill --July 31, 2009 -- A sold-out field of 18,000 runners will take to the streets of downtown Chicago for the first running of the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, August 2. Formerly known as the Chicago Distance Classic, the 13.1-mile race course will include live bands at 14 entertainment stages interspersed with themed water stations and cheerleaders along each mile of the route.

"The downtown course and timing of the event have made the Chicago race one of the most anticipated Rock 'n' Roll events across the series," said Elizabeth O'Brien, General Manager of the event. "The local community has always welcomed the half-marathon with open arms and we are excited become a part of the tradition of the Distance Classic and show Chicago how fun a Rock 'n' Roll event can be."

The field will be led by American distance star Kara Goucher, who will be making her half marathon debut on U.S. soil. The race will be webcast on with live commentary provided by former U.S. track Olympians Todd Williams and Juli Henner Benson.

Goucher will use the race is a tuneup for the Marathon World Championships Aug. 23 in Berlin. The U.S. Olympian is also throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's nationally televised White Sox-Yankee game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

The race will begin at 6:30 am on Sunday morning on Columbus Drive, just north of Congress. Both the start and finish line parties will take place in Grant Park, centrally located adjacent to the city's downtown core. The course will run north on Columbus, through Millennium Park and over the Chicago River before venturing through the streets of downtown Chicago. The course then heads south on Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive, running east on 18th Street through McCormick place. Just after mile 8.5, the course turns north up the lake front path, running along the waterfront banks of Lake Michigan, highlighted by Solider Felid, the Memorial and Burnham Harbor, with the finish line located in Grant Park.

The event concludes with a post race party and concert, which will take place on an outdoor stage in Grant Park, featuring acclaimed blues artist Susan Tedeschi. The concert is free and open to the public.

Race weekend kicks off Friday, July 31 with a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place Hall C, which is open to the public. The Expo, where all participants pick up their bib number, t-shirt and race packet, will feature over 100 exhibitors with samples, the latest in running gear and sports apparel and a full schedule of interactive clinics.

From professional runners to part-time joggers, over 3,000 participants will raise over $3 million for the event's 35 official charities. Give Your Sole will also be collecting moderately worn athletic shoes throughout race weekend. All the shoes donated to Give Your Sole at this event will be distributed locally through the MorningStar Rescue Mission in Joliet. Runners can donate a pair of shoes right off their feet after the race and receive a free pair of flip flops for the donation. For more information, visit or call 800-311-1255.

About The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series
Produced by The Competitor Group, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series is known for lining race routes with live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations. The original Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego is still recognized for its record setting inaugural event that brought 15,771 participants across the finish line. Today, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series has spread to eleven cities nationwide, creating the first national series of marathons and half-marathons, which annually attract more than 250,000 participants. Event weekend kicks off with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo, where all participants must pick up their bib number and race packet. Over 100 exhibitors feature free samples, the latest in running gear and sports apparel and interactive clinics. For more information, please visit

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