Runners Rocking Out & Staying Strong

Early Sunday morning I awoke to an unfamiliar band playing an upbeat number with some piano action. The song was very loud and I couldn’t determine where it was coming from.

The neighbors?

A car in the parking lot?

I decided to get up and check out the source of the mysterious ballad.

It didn’t take too long to realize a band was playing across the street from my apartment, on stage for the P.F. Changs Rock “n” Roll Marathon Series. As I walked closer to University Drive, I saw a water station and row of port-o-potties, people of all ages walking, jogging or running by, and a band playing hits from the 70s.

Cosmic Shindig playing P.F. Changs Half Marathon

I saw a family of three rooting on their mother in the race. They told me this was the half marathon, which is 13.1 miles long. The race began at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue and Third Street. Since it was almost 9 a.m., the race was well on it’s way. Someone ran by holding a sign reading 3:00, meaning this group of people would finish in approximately three hours.

The full marathon started at CityScape in downtown Phoenix, early this morning also. Both events had a new course this year, to view the new routes click here.

The finish line for both races is between Sun Devil and Sun Angel Stadium’s on Packard Drive. For those people visiting Tempe, it’s near Lot 59, which is easy to spot because it’s covered in solar panels.

The familiar, classy rock tunes were helping to motivate the runners as they moved forward. I captured a video of athletes running down University Drive as the band, Cosmic Shindig, played “Black Magic Woman”.

People were yelling, “You can do it!” and ringing cowbells to cheer on their favorite athletes. The athletes friends and families set up cheering sections with chairs alongside the road, to view the finish line from a comfortable distance. Lots of people made colorful signs to encourage runners to finish strong.

Almost to the finish line!

I especially like the outfits some runners chose to wear.

Nice outfits ladies!

I saw tutus, skirts, tall socks, CamelBaks, homemade team shirts, and even a few groups from GoDaddy in bright orange running shirts. It was pretty hard to miss them!

The best gear of the day had to be a group of women who were wearing spandex Wonder Woman outfits. Maybe they saved their Halloween costumes to wear on race day!

I spotted two ladies wearing pink tutu’s on Rio Salado Parkway. They sure look determined with less than a mile to reach the finish line!

When participants wear bright or unique clothing, it’s easier for spectators to find them in the crowds.

The race day turned out to be successful. Fortunately, the weather was slightly overcast- perfect for running in Tempe.


Here are the results for winners of the two events.

The Results:

Winner- Full Marathon (26.2 miles):

  • Men: Peter Omae Ayieni finished in 2:25:45
  • Women: Trisha Miller finished in 2:51:11

Winner- Half Marathon (13.1 miles):

  • Men: Dylan Wykes finished in 1:02:39
  • Women: Sara Slattery finished in 1:16:24

 Helpful Links: 

  • Click here to view more photos from the race via the Rock “n” Roll Marathon’s website.
  • Click here for the leaderboard race results.
  • Click here to enter a participant’s name or bib number.


Contact the author at

P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Sets New Course

  • Marathon Start Line Moved to CityScape; Half Marathon to Start from in Tempe
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society Announced as Benefiting Charity
  • 9th Annual Event to Welcome 30,000 Runners Sunday, January 15

Phoenix, AZ – September 29, 2011 – For the thousands of runners who flock to Arizona each winter for the ultimate running experience, 2012 is set to shake up their expectations. In its 9th year, the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon returns with a brand new course, including two new start lines.

“Arizona is one of our marquee events, and it’s time for the course to live up to how great the Valley of the Sun is,” said, Scott Dickey, President of Competitor Group. “Our goal is to refresh the experience, with the new route the half marathon is much more runner and spectator friendly on a scenic loop course.”

More than 30,000 runners are expected for the annual mash-up of entertainment and fitness, with live bands rocking stages along each mile of the 26.2 and 13.1 mile courses. The marathon course will once again highlight the neighboring cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, but with some major updates.

The half-marathon will now start in downtown Tempe, and features a fast course touring beautiful Scottsdale, Skysong and Papago Park. Full marathoners will enjoy an exciting downtown start line as well, at the brand new Cityscape in Phoenix before heading along Indian School Road and touring Old Town Scottsdale.

Runners on both courses will enjoy a downhill finish, crossing the scenic Mill Avenue Bridge before reaching the familiar finish line at Sun Devil Stadium, where runners can relax and enjoy the finish line festival and headliner concert.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and I am certain our runners will find the new start lines to be more convenient, and will enjoy the new scenic highlights that have been incorporated into both new courses,” said U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper, Course Designer. “We’re really excited to debut these changes as we kick off 2012.”

The 2012 event will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, whose MS Rockstars will team up to raise money through their training to fight the debilitating disease by funding research toward a cure, working with legislators and assisting families and patients.

“We are thrilled to be the official charity partner of this inaugural event,” said Jim Elfline, Arizona, president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Arizona Chapter. “Our gratitude goes out to all the runners and volunteers who are helping us raise donations for multiple sclerosis research and programs for people living with MS. Many thanks for joining the movement to create a world free of multiple sclerosis.”

The P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will return for its 9th year on Sunday, January 15, 2012 with more than 30,000 participants.

Race weekend will begin with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo presented by Fox 10 and MY45 on January 13th and 14th at the Phoenix Convention Center.  The Expo, which will be free and open to the public, will showcase the latest in running products and services with interactive clinics from fitness experts. To register or for more information, please

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society serves people who are affected by multiple sclerosis, a chronic, unpredictable and disabling disease of the central nervous system with no known cause, cure or prevention. MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young to middle aged adults. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. More than twice as many women as men have MS. There is no known cause, cure or prevention. Symptoms cannot be predicted and can vary greatly, ranging from numbness in the limbs and extreme fatigue to loss of balance and muscle coordination or paralysis. Join the Movement® by visiting



Sweaty mayor to raise $1 million for Tempe charities

It’s a very sweaty million dollars that Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman has almost raised. 

This is the fifth year of the Mayor’s Run for Wellness, part of the P.F. Chang’s Rock n Roll Marathon.


Hallman, who turns 50 just two days before this year’s race, is marking the anniversary of his birth by running his first marathon (he’s already done more than a dozen half marathons) with 500 people who have raised money for Tempe charities. By race day, he will likely surpass the million dollar mark for Tempe non-profit organizations.



According to Dan Cruz at Competitor Group, the company that organizes the Rock n Roll Marathon nationally, Hallman is the single largest fundraiser the race has had by far. And that is saying a lot, considering the tens of thousands who run at the more than two dozen races around the world.


A live morning show opportunity will be available on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 5-9 a.m. at Tempe Beach Park. Hallman and his runners will be present along with representatives of the PF Chang’s Rock n Roll Marathon and Tempe charities. They will be doing practice runs, stretches and giving tips on running not only this race but running for overall good health.


Hallman, hundreds of runners and corporate sponsors such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tempe Marketplace, American Outdoor and many others, have distributed about $800,000 to charities in the last four years. This year, 19 charities will benefit from the Mayor’s pounding on the pavement. You can see the list of sponsors and charities at You can also still sign up to run the marathon or half marathon, or, if you’re feeling a little less ambitious, you can make a donation to the cause online.


Squeezing training runs in between his job at Tempe Preparatory Academy and council duties, Hallman plans to do something fairly outrageous this year: he’s going to run the brand new half marathon route twice. The first time he’ll do the 13.1 mile course backwards, without water stations or marathon staff, starting at 5 a.m. He’ll finish the half in about 2:15, just in time to start the half all over again – this time running the course with everyone else in the right direction.


“I wanted to challenge myself. I really didn’t start running as an adult until we decided to have the Mayor’s Run,” Hallman said. “I’ve seen people change their lives and their health for the better through training for this race, and we’ve helped a lot of organizations maintain and improve their services to the community. If I can do this, so can other people my age and older. Exercise is an extremely important component of healthy living, especially as we age.”


While wanting to run the marathon, Hallman also wanted to run the new, beautiful half-marathon course, with both a start and finish in downtown Tempe.


“The new course is gorgeous,” Hallman said. “What could be better than running from downtown Tempe into Scottsdale, through Phoenix’s portion of Papago Park, over the Mill Avenue Bridge and into Sun Devil Stadium?”


The last practice run for the Mayor’s Run team happens this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Tempe Family YMCA, 7070 S. Rural Road. Anyone who wants to run with the team is welcome.