Dallas Rocks

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Comes To Dallas Sunday With A New Half Marathon

Written by: Matt Fitzgerald

An estimated 12,000 runners will take part in the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon on Sunday. Shakespeare’s warning about the Ides of March notwithstanding, mid-March is a perfect time of the year for running in North Texas. The weather forecast calls for a sunny day with temperatures in the low 50’s at race start time and reaching a high of 71 degrees when everyone has finished and is ready to celebrate.

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Not only the weather but the course also favors fast running. The course trends very gradually uphill over the first 8 miles and then drops back down to the starting elevation over the closing 5 miles for a fast finish. The start line is located in downtown Dallas, right in front of City Hall. From there the course heads north into Highland Park and then turns east, passing Southern Methodist University at roughly the halfway mark. At 8 miles the route bends southward and ultimately delivers runners to the finish line at Fair Park.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Rock ‘n’ Roll event without music, and there will be plenty of that, with 13 band stations lining the course—one for every mile. Alternative rock band Better Than Ezra will perform at the Finish Festival.

If you have registered for the race with fantasies of winning it, be aware that some pretty fast runners are coming. The favorites on the men’s side include Kenyans Shadrack Songok, 25, a three-time NCAA champion; Stephen Ariga, 36, who has a half-marathon personal best of 1:02:06; Patrick Mutai, 25, who has run 28:38 for 10,000m and 13:41 for 5000m; and James Kirwa, 25, who has a half-marathon PR of 1:02:54. The top American contenders are Westly Keating, 28, a Texan and five-time NCAA All-American; and Drew Bean, just 20 years old, who hails from Orange, TX, and has run 1:06:25 over the half-marathon distance.

The women’s race has a good chance of being won by a Texan. Abbi Antablin, 28, of Houston, brings the fastest PR into Sunday’s competition (1:15). Melissa Christian, 33, of Dallas, was the winner of the Texas Showdown at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon in 2008 and 2009. Chasing these women will be Melissa Todd, 35, of Kansas City, MO, who has a half-marathon PR of 1:16:02.

Come back for full race reports on Sunday. And if you’re running the race, don’t forget that daylight savings ends on race morning! Set your clock one hour ahead. (You weren’t going to sleep much anyway!)

[sgi:MattFitzgerald]

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