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Posted: August 25, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: 20,000 Runners to Rock the Beach Labor Day Weekend

Online Registration for Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Closes August 30

Virginia Beach, VA -- August 26, 2009 -- The signature end of summer street party in Virginia Beach returns to the boardwalk on Sunday, September 6 for the ninth annual Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, presented by SunTrust. The region's premier road race features live bands at every mile and will host more than 20,000 runners from all 50 states and, for the first time ever, include a two-person Rock 'n' Roll Relay.

"Virginia Beach is thrilled with the annual popularity of the race," said Will Sessoms, Mayor of Virginia Beach, who will walk in this year’s event. "There is no better way to celebrate the end of summer or Labor Day Weekend than with a music-filled, running event that connects with our neighborhoods."

The largest half marathon in the Commonwealth of Virginia offers a scenic course that starts on 19th Street outside of the Virginia Beach Convention Center, winds through the area's coastal communities, with the finish line along the oceanfront boardwalk. Combined with the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival, the race has contributed to Virginia Beach's appeal as an end of summer family destination, with 50% of registered runners traveling from out of state and approximately 75% of all event participants visiting from outside Hampton Roads.

In addition to annually promoting fun and fitness, ten official charities will raise over $1 million at this year's race. Of the hundreds of charity runners, a majority will participate with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training (TNT). Over the nine year history of the Virginia Beach event, TNT has raised nearly $9 million for blood cancer research and more than $200 million throughout the entire Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.

"The changes we made to the course last year were extremely popular and 2009 is shaping up to be one of our best events yet," said Megan Bitsoff, event manager. "We're encouraging runners who are planning to participate in the relay, but have not registered to sign up before online registration closes on Sunday. However, we'll also have individual walk-up registration available at the Expo."

Race weekend kicks off Friday, September 4th with a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center that is open to the public. The Expo, where all participants must pick up their bib number and race packet, will be held from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Friday and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 5. Over 100 exhibitors will feature free samples, the latest in running gear and sports apparel, as well as interactive clinics. Relay and Get Fit Challenge registrations will not be accepted at the Expo, but individual race registration will be available.

Sunday's event begins with an invitational wheelchair race at 6:40 am. The wheelchair start is followed by the elite women's invitational at 6:45 am, with the elite men's invitational and full field starting at 7:00 am.

Adding to the excitement of the weekend, hundreds of local residents will participate in the "Rock around the Block" contest, presented by SunTrust. Neighborhoods annually design themed cheering stations to support runners, contributing to the 13.1-mile block party by motivating athletes to the finish line. Event festivities conclude Sunday night with an evening headliner concert featuring The Black Crowes at the 5th Street Beach Stage. All participants receive a free concert ticket to the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival with their race entry.

For those who still want to get involved with the event, volunteers also are needed to assist with the Health & Fitness Expo throughout race weekend and on race day. More information on volunteer opportunities is available at

About the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon
A Competitor Group event, the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon will celebrate its ninth anniversary in Virginia Beach on Sunday, September 6, 2009. Open to runners and walkers from novice to professional, more than 20 live bands entertain participants along the scenic course that winds through the area's coastal communities. Festivities begin with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on Fri., Sept. 4 and Sat., Sept 5. The Health & Fitness Expo is open to the public and features over 100 exhibitors with the latest in endurance sports gear and nutrition products. For more information or to register for the race, please visit or call 800-311-1255.

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