9th annual Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon takes over the Bay Area this weekend; Aaron Braun to race first half-marathon since runner-up finish in a U.S. Championships; Lauren Kleppin, Renee Metivier Baillie and Kellyn Johnson headline women's elite race; Large group of Americans seeking to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials
San Jose, CA: October 2, 2014 - Some of the biggest names in American distance running will take to the roads of Silicon Valley this weekend for the 9th annual Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon.
The flat, fast course starts and finishes in downtown San Jose and is ideal for runners seeking to achieve their personal best. The event is home to both of the current California state half-marathon records: 1:00:22, set by Kenya's Duncan Kibet in 2006, and 1:09:17, established by Silvia Skortsova of Russia in 2006, earning the title of California's fastest half-marathon.
"The event brings the entire community together in a positive way and offers a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people of all shapes and abilities to make it to the finish line, said Roger Craig, three-time Super Bowl champion for the San Francisco 49ers and co-founder of the event. "This year I'm looking forward to taking on the Remix Challenge by running the 5k on Saturday and the half-marathon on Sunday. It's going to be an incredible weekend."
For the first time in 2014, event weekend has expanded to include two days of running with a Rock 'n' Roll 5k on Saturday, October 4 and half-marathon and 10k on 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.
Leading the elite field is 27-year-old Aaron Braun who finished second at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston this year with an impressive time of 1:01:38. Braun won his first U.S. national title last year at the U.S. 12k championships, and he recently won the Cow Harbor 10k in Northport, NY. He will be joined by a six-pack fellow Americans Jeffrey Eggleston, Ahmed Osman, Craig Curley, Bolota Asmerom, Brett Hales and Andy Wacker.
One of the top U.S. distance runners, Eggleston recently ran his marathon PR of 2:10:52 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. In 2014, he won the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and also placed 8th at the Boston Marathon in April. Osman and Curley both ran their half-marathon PRs at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Houston, with times of 1:03:02 and 1:03:27, respectively.
A sub-four minute miler, UC Berkeley graduate Asmerom returns to race in San Jose where he set his half-marathon personal best in 2006. Asmerom, a three-year letter winner in track for Cal, owns a track PR over 5,000m of 13:15. While still in college, his dual citizenship allowed him to represent Eritrea in the 5000m at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. Hales, a Weber State graduate, won the Big Cottonwood Half Marathon this year in a personal best of 1:03:07. Wacker owns a half-marathon PR of 1:03:25 and won the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon in July.
The top seven American's will face an international challenge from Ethiopian Dereje Ali, who most notably won the 2012 Hong Kong Marathon in 2:11:27. The field features at least 21 athletes who have a chance to run under 1:05 minutes, which is the U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying standard.
The women's contest figures to be equally as competitive, with the Mammoth Track Club's Lauren Kleppin owning the fastest PR in the field. Kleppin ran her personal best of 1:10:15 at this year's IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Three other superb American women will challenge her: Renee Metivier Baillie, Kellyn Johnson and Kristen Zaitz.
Metivier Baille returns to the roads healthy after dealing with a chronic Achilles injury. An 11-time All-American at the University of Colorado, in 2012 she won the USATF 20k Championships and ran the fifth-fastest marathon debut in U.S. history when she was the top American at the Chicago Marathon in 2:27:17.
The reigning U.S. 25K champion, Johnson boasts a 1:11:51 best in the half-marathon. She's hoping to dip under 1:11 at San Jose. A professional runner for Brooks, Zaitz was top American at the 2013 BAA Boston Half Marathon. She holds a personal best for the half-marathon of 1:12:57.
"Our focus on supporting, promoting and rewarding athletes trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be front and center at Rock 'n' Roll San Jose, said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. In 2012, 89 of the 348 men and women (25.6%) who qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials ran qualifying marks at Rock 'n' Roll events, and 69 of them (19.8%) did so for the first time. We are committed to making sure that our events deliver the absolute best experience to every one of our elite participants.
Event weekend will kick off with a Health & Fitness Expo at the San Jose Convention Center. Race registration is available at the Expo on Friday, October 3 from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm and Saturday, October 4, from 9:30am to 5:00pm. The free Expo is open to the public and will showcase the latest in running products, services and free samples as all registered runners pick up their race number.
The new Rock 'n' Roll 5k on Saturday starts at 7:30 am. Each running event will include a post-race beer garden, entertainment on course and a finish line celebration party.
California's fastest half marathon starts at 8:00 am on Sunday at W. Santa Clara St. and Almaden Blvd. Local bands will play through the streets of San Jose, along with spectators and high school cheerleading teams lining the route to motivate runners to the finish line. Upon finishing at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, participants are invited to relax and celebrate with family and friends as headliner Echosmith takes the stage for the finish line concert.
For more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com.
Start List - Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon
As of Thursday, October 2, 2014
BIB #, NAME, HOMETOWN, PERSONAL BEST
Elite Women - Half Marathon
F1. Lauren Kleppin, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:10:15
F2. Renee Metivier Baillie, Bend, OR, 1:11:51
F3. Kellyn Johnson, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:11:51
F4. Kristen Zaitz, Broomfield, CO, 1:12:57
F5. Kara Lubieniecki, Boulder, CO, 1:13:38
F6. Rowan-Marie Torckler, Santa Rosa, CA, 1:14:01
F7. Addie Bracy, Longmont, CO, 1:14:03
F8. Marci Gage, Bend, OR, 1:14:48
F9. Bria Wetsch, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:15:35
F10.Brooke Kish, Evergreen, CO, 1:15:52
F11. Sharon Lemberger, Menlo Park, CA, 1:16
F12. Jenna Boren DeNucci, Menlo Park, CA, 1:16:12
F13. Lauren Johnson, Portland, OR, 1:16:15
F14. Catherine Watkins, Vancouver, BC, 1:16:48
F15. Alexandra Blake, Louisville, CO, 1:16:51
F16. Michelle Meyer, San Francisco, CA, 1:16:54
F17. Ramona Sanchez, Sparks, NV, 1:17:02
F18. Shannon Miller, Boulder, CO, 1:17:21
F19. Autumn Ray, Tucson, AZ, 1:17:23
F20. Claudia Copeland, Folsom, CA, 1:17:40
Elite Men - Half Marathon
1. Aaron Braun, Alamosa, CO, 1:01:38
2. Dereje Ali, Ethiopia, 1:02:44
3. Jeffrey Eggleston, Boulder, CO, 1:03:00
4. Ahmed Osman, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:03:02
5. Bolota Asmerom, Oakland, CA, 1:03:06
6. Brett Hales, Layton, UT, 1:03:07
7. Andy Wacker, Boulder, CO, 1:03:25
8. Craig Curley, Tucson, AZ, 1:03:27
9. Chris Chavez, Burlingame, CA, 1:04:35
10. Oscar Ogwaro, Rome, GA, 1:04:52
11. James Lander, Brea, CA, 1:04:56
12. Tommy Neal, Colorado Springs, CO, 1:05:00
13. Craig Hopkins, Portland, OR, 1:05:13
14. Austin Richmond, Erie, CO, 1:05:29
15. Carlos Carballo, Palm Springs, CA, 1:05:35
16. Mohammad Abu Rezeq, United Kingdom, 1:05:48
17. Curtis Begley Jr., Boulder, CO, 1:06:00
18. Paul Wellman, Encinitas, CA, 1:06:01
19. Charles Hillig Jr., Denver, CO, 1:06:42
20. Joseph A. Rivera, Tulare, CA, 1:06:46