Last weekend packed a wallop of entertainment – San Francisco Giants postseason baseball at AT&T Park, Fleet Week, 49ers football and the seventh annual San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in downtown San Jose.
Perfect weather for the half marathon and the debut of the mini marathon five-miler attracted 14,000 to toe the line on Santa Clara Street. These devoted fans of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series loved the 13-mile party.
The sea of runners waited for the gun to go off. The spectators roared as we ran down the street and the energy from them fueled us for the entire race. Each mile featured a band with a different flavor of musical style, while cheerleaders gave many a runner a high-five or shouted encouragements.
The half marathon and mini marathon course split at mile four with the shorter distance runners streaming toward the left and the others toward the right.
The festive atmosphere and food at the finish made it all the more sweet. Nearby, the headliner Matt Nathanson rocked the masses at Plaza De Cesar Chavez Park.
The 5-mile top male finisher was Timothy Vago, 43, of San Jose, who won the mini marathon in 29 minutes, 53 seconds. Mariana Rivera, 38, of the same city won the women's division in 36:49.
Justin Baraona, 13, from San Jose ran the mini marathon. He took second in his age group and 16th overall with 37:20.
“It was pretty fun how you run through block after block in downtown. I like how there aren't any hills. I do pretty well in the flats,” Baraona remarked.
His aunt Carmen Santoya, 47, of Morgan Hill ran the same distance and finished in 51:16. Santoya said, “It was a new experience for me and my first race. I didn't know what to expect. The bands were entertaining; they kept me going, and I never stopped running.”
In the half marathon, the elite male racers zipped past the finish with Simon Bairu, 29, from Portland, Ore. winning the race overall in 1:03:28.
“It was a great course, great atmosphere,” he said. “The competition was tough from the get go, which was what I wanted. For me it was really getting ready for the New York City Marathon at the end of the month.”
Sergio Reyes, 30, of Palmdale snatched second in 1:03:31 and Scott Bauhs, 26, from Danville took third with 1:04:29.
Bauhs explained, “It was kind of tough. I didn't feel very good out there, but I toughed it out. Both Sergio and Simon were pushing the pace pretty hard.”
Clara Horowits Peterson, 28, from San Anselmo took first place as the top female finisher in 1:12:52.
Daniel Tapia, 25, from Prunedale nabbed 6th overall in the 13-miler with 1:05:44.
Tapia shared, “I felt really good coming into the race; my training is better than ever. I thought I was in good shape to run a fast time; I was a leader for five miles then they started to move along a little bit farther from me.”
Former San Francisco 49ers running back Roger Craig, three-time Super Bowl champion and race founder said, “I'm really excited about this race because it's been the largest ever out of the seven years I hosted this race. It's growing, which is great.”
Alan Simmonds, 49, from Morgan Hill ran the half.
“My wife and I run four or five half marathons every year and this is always our favorite, with the Morgan Hill half running a close second.” Simmonds said, happy about his personal best of 1:37:11.
“I have run this race every year since it started seven years ago, and fully intend to continue,” his wife Bernadette, 51, added. She ran it in 2:29:37.
Beth Deloria, 46, from Greensboro, N.C., ran 13 miles in 1:59:14 with the Allard USA leg brace.
“My condition is basically having paralysis of the ankle and partial paralysis in front of my leg. Without this on, my foot just drops. Anytime I get to the starting line I feel like I won the race. I loved every minute of it, because of the crowds, because of the bands, which takes my mind off the pain of running.”