Meseret Defar places first in the women’s half marathon
Historic event celebrated 40 years with 23 original legacy runners
Big Head Todd and the Monsters headlined the post-race Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series
PHILADELPHIA: September 17, 2017 - The downtown streets of Philadelphia and scenic park setting along the Schuykill River proved no match for Galen Rupp. Nor did the thousands of runners who laced up their kicks for the 40th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.
Galen Rupp (Credit: Kevin Morris, PhotoRun)
A two-time Olympic medalist, Rupp performed a disappearing act Sunday morning. Rupp ran away from the field, winning the historic race in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Hometown favorite Marty Hehir took second in 1:04:00. Gebrekiden Abadi finished third in 1:04:05.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar was nearly as dominant as Rupp. Defar pulled away along the Schuykill near Mile 9, winning in 1:08:45. Caroline Rotich, winner of the 2016 Boston Marathon, placed second in 1:09:40. Jordan Hasay earned American female honors, finishing third in 1:10:41.
>P>While the runners were treated to cloud cover, it was accompanied by 90 percent humidity.
"The last three, four, five miles, I cannot lie, it was hot," said Rupp.
He dealt with the humidity better than his rivals. For six miles, Rupp hung with the pack.
"I tried to help the guys, biding my time," Rupp said.
But along Boat House Row, where the Penn, Temple and other college rowers store their boats, Rupp took off. From Mile 6, he ripped off mile splits of 4:34, 4:38, 4:44, 4:36 and 4:34. He would have showed his rivals his back except they weren’t close enough to even see his singlet.
"This is crazy," said RunWESTIN Concierge Chris Heuisler, who was providing commentary for the Periscope broadcast from the press truck. "We’ve got serious talent here, and there’s not another runner in sight. He’s like, ‘Where are they?’ He blew them out of the water. This is the Galen Rupp Show."
Running by himself proved no challenge for Rupp.
"You have to get used to it," Rupp said. "You can’t always expect to sit behind everyone."
Defar has been slowed more than a year by a calf injury that prevented her from running in the 2016 Olympics. She showed no ill effects Sunday, crossing the finish line with her hands held high, then lifting her 3-year-old daughter, Gabriella.
Meseret Defar (Credit: Kevin Morries, PhotoRun)
"For me, now that I’m healthy, I am so happy," said Defar. "It is a very good feeling."
Nearly 18,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes took to the streets of Philadelphia for the weekend. They started and finished near the footsteps of the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Rocky statue sits on one side of the road, the George Washington statue on the other.
Some 23 legacy men and women celebrated running in the race for the 40th time, dating back to its 1978 debut. The Academy Award for film of the year back then: "Deer Hunter." Disco was in vogue, with "Greece" and "Saturday Night Fever" hot on the radio airwaves.
"Running is just a part of my life," said 70-year-old Vince Cloud of Palm Beach, Fla., one of the legacy runners. "I can’t miss this race."
Upon finishing, runners celebrated their accomplishments at the finish line festival where Big Head Todd and the Monsters headlined the post-race Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series.
2017 Race Results
Name, Age, Hometown, Time, Prize
Men’s Half Marathon
1. Galen Rupp, 31, Portland, OR, 1:02:18, $2,500
2. Marty Hehir, 24, Philadelphia, PA, 1:04:00, $1,150
3. Gebrekiden Abadi, 32, Boulder, CO, 1:04:05, $500
4. Yuki Sato, 30, Japan, 1:04:34, $250
5. Jared Ward, 29, Kaysville, UT, 1:04:43, $100
Women’s Half Marathon
1. Meseret Defar, 33, Ethiopia, 1:08:45, $2,500
2. Caroline Rotich, 33, Kenya, 1:09:40, $1,150
3. Jordan Hasay, 25, Portland, OR, 1:10:41, $500
4. Buzunesh Deba, 30, Queens, NY, 1:11:42, $250
5. Reia Iwade, 22, Japan, 1:14:00, $100
About the American Association for Cancer Research Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon will take place the weekend of September 16 – 17, 2017. One of the world’s most prestigious road races, the AACR Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is the home of five world records, five American records and the current men’s and women’s U.S. all-comers’ records. The race will give runners a first-class tour of Philadelphia and will start and finish in Fairmount Park. Participants can rock to the sounds of live entertainment along with enthusiastic cheerleaders along the course. Event weekend kicks off with a free Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday, September 15, and Saturday, September 16. The Expo will have numerous vendors featuring the latest in running gear, nutrition and training tips. For more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll< on Twitter.