Olympic medalist to pace at Saturday's 5k and race in Sunday's Half Marathon
First of five scheduled Rock 'n' Roll Running Festivals to launch in Chicago on July 18-20
Runners can still register to a special Remix Challenge medal participating in both Saturday and Sunday's events
Chicago, Ill.: July 8, 2014 - Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan will lead two days of running at the first ever Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival in Chicago the weekend of July 18-20. America's top female marathoner will warm-up with runners at the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 5k on Saturday and then compete at the 6th annual Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon presented by HumanaVitality on Sunday. Both events start and finish at Grant Park in downtown Chicago.
"From the Billy Joel concert on Friday night at Wrigley Field to Saturday's 5k and Sunday's half-marathon, it's going to be an incredible weekend in Chicago,” said Flanagan, who set her half-marathon personal record (PR) of 1:08:31 at Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans last year. “This will be my first step towards a marathon this fall and I'm excited to see where my fitness is at after my recent training in Park City. It will also be a treat for me to shakeout with the Chicago running community at the 5k on Saturday while enjoying the amazing views of the downtown skyline along the city's beautiful lakefront."
In its 6th year as Chicago's premier half-marathon, the event will welcome more than 20,000 runners over race weekend. This year marks the first time race weekend will include two days of running with 5k events taking place on Saturday and Sunday. All finishers will earn a medal at each race, however runners who participate in both Saturday and Sunday's events will earn a special Remix Challenge medal to commemorate their accomplishment.
"To have Shalane Flanagan, one of America's best runners, earn the first ever Remix Challenge medal is truly going to be something special,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP and co-founder of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. “Chicago has one of the most passionate running communities in the world and some of the most knowledgeable fans in the sport. With two days of running and multiple concerts taking place in the city, it's going to be a summertime celebration unlike any other."
One of the best female long-distance runners in U.S. history, Flanagan recently finished seventh at the 2014 Boston Marathon in 2:22:02, the fastest time ever recorded by an American woman in Boston's 118-year history. Her time was a PR by more than three minutes.
A Colorado native who became a prep running star in Massachusetts, Flanagan won back-to-back NCAA cross country championships in 2002 and 2003 at the University of North Carolina. She won a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics. In 2010, Flanagan finished second in the New York City Marathon and in 2012 she set a U.S. Olympic Trials record of 2:25:38 in only her second marathon.
Other contenders in the women's race include Lindsey Scherf (1:11:45) of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Danish Olympian Jessica Draskau-Petersson (1:12:52) and USATF Masters Marathon Champion Nuta Olaru (1:08:59), a former runner-up at the Chicago Marathon. The women's event record is 1:08:05 by Kara Goucher in 2008, when she finished in first place overall.
Festival weekend kicks off on Friday, July 18 with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo at McCormick Place where participants pick up their T-shirt and race number. The new Rock 'n' Roll 5k on Saturday, July 19 starts at 8:00am. Each running event will include a post race beer garden, entertainment on course and a finish line celebration party.
Sunday's races begin at 6:30 am at the intersection of Columbus Dr. and Monroe, with 13.1 and 3.1-mile courses running on the streets of downtown Chicago. The fast, flat course passes many of the city's famous landmarks and unique architecture. After crossing the finish line, runners will join family and friends to celebrate their accomplishment at the concert headlined by the Cold War Kids in Grant Park.
Online registration closes Sunday night, July 13. Registration for all races will be available at the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, June 19. A select number of festival weekend VIP packages, featuring an exclusive reception Friday night on the rooftop near the Billy Joel concert at Wrigley Field are available online. To register for the event or for more information, please visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.
Shalane Flanagan (Credit PhotoRun.net)
About Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival Chicago
A Competitor Group event, the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival will welcome more than 20,000 participants to downtown Chicago the weekend of July 18-20. The festival weekend includes two days of running, a 5k on Saturday and Sunday and the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon presented by HumanaVitality on Sunday. All events feature live bands and entertainment along the course, with a beer garden and concert at the finish line.
A two-day Health & Fitness Expo kicks off festival weekend at McCormick Place on Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19. The free expo is open to the public and will feature the latest in running apparel and nutrition products. Sunday's half-marathon features a scenic course, which starts and finishes at Grant Park, while traveling past many of the city's famous landmarks and iconic attractions. Event weekend concludes with a finish line celebration and concert headlined by the Cold War Kids. For more information, or to register online, please visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.