Foothill Flyers Race Reviews
Last update Feb. 14, 2018

Rock 'N Roll Arizona Marathon

3rd Sunday in Janurary, Phoenix AZ, 7:35 AM Start.
Health and Music Expo

App and info: call 800-311-1255, email:

Julie Miller expounds:
Over 29,000 runners participated in the inaugural P.F. Chang Rock 'N Roll Arizona on Sunday, January 22, 2004. The marathon and half were supposed to start at 7:45 a.m. (but started half an hour late) in front of the State Capitol in Phoenix, and ended inside the Arizona State University Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

The half marathon sold out with 15,000 participants, and the full marathon almost sold out at about 14,000. This makes Rock 'N Roll Arizona the larges inaugural marathon in the world. About 200,000 spectators lined the course to cheer the runners, and listen to the 55 bands.

The course is pretty flat, and the largest hill being over a bridge crossing a river.

Flights to Phoenix are very reasonable. My friends and I flew from Burbank to Phoenix on Southwest for only $78 round trip, and rented a Chevy Malibu for three days for about $60, including the gas. If you're looking for a fast time, and like music, this may be the one for you.

This was a well-sponsored race, so the race expo was good - not quite as big as LA - but with great souvenirs. There were colorful t-shirts and cool color medals for both the half and the whole. The medal for the half is shaped like a cactus, and the medal for the full is shaped like the state of Arizona.

--from a volunteer's perspective by Diana Fredlund

After participating in marathons, a new opportunity arose to volunteer at the Rock N Roll Marathon in Phoenix. I signed up through my AZ running club, the Arizona Road Racers. I volunteered for two "jobs"--to do one shift at the expo and a shift at the finish line.

Prior to the race, the staff coordinating the volunteers kept the volunteers well informed via email and mail as to the instructions for our assignments, parking instructions and directions to site. Upon registration on duty day, we were given a Race Crew T shirt to wear while working and goody bags after completion of our work. My assignment at the expo was at the volunteer check-in booth. We registered several hundred volunteers for each work shift. Volunteers at the expo worked at packet pick-up, on site registration, the cashier desks, traffic direction outside and inside the hall, and as gofers, stockers, etc. We had many un-registered people come to volunteer to work, some were family members of runners from out of town who wanted to be at the start, finish or at a water station to cheer on their runner, and I think some just to get the parking passes.

I was surprised to see the number of runners picking up their packets at the opening of the expo--the line was all the way around the block, moving slowly for several hours. The sun and heat took its toll on some runners' sense of humor and we did get some complaints.

My second assignment was the most fun: handing out water at the finish line of the marathon. The half marathon and full marathon had different finish lines (nearby but separated by fences and first aid tents.) There were about twp hundred volunteers available for the finish line duties. The half marathon volunteers were dispatched earlier. When our turn came, they herded us through the finish line expo area and pealed off volunteers for the food stations, then the sports drink dispensing area, the timing chip removal area, (interestingly set up with stations for 3 volunteers each with chairs and a bar for the runners to hang on to as the chips were removed.) Then a section for the Mylar drapes--stacks and stacks that had to be separated for easy access by the runners, and lastly the water station with its pallets of water bottles to be uncrated and put into large trash barrels, alternating bottles and ice. About 50 volunteers "manned" the water station, handing out over 18,000 bottles of water to the runners as they swaggered, hopped, skipped, staggered, waddled by.

It was a thrill to see the winners come across the finish line. As they crossed the line to the cheers of the crowds, officials of the race and medics met each elite runner and escorted him/her directly to the VIP tent. With some 17,000 runners coming through, we did not have any down time. At first we had plenty of volunteers, but as the day wore on, the numbers dwindled and we became more rushed to get the water to the runners. The 1st aid workers were stationed right at the finish line and watched for runners having trouble. When I've been in the races, I never get to the finish line until most everyone is gone, so the activity was all new to me. Water is usually gone, food picked over, no sports drinks and the only Mylar wrap I found had been discarded by another runner.

Besides, loading the barrels with ice and water, cheering and clapping for the finishers, talking to anyone around me, we assisted runners who slipped by the 1st aid workers or didn't need first aid but human aid. A young girl was sobbing as she finished her first marathon, so I walked with her and talked her down. Another was suffering from blisters, which I could really relate to!

The reward for volunteering comes from the thank you's and smiles from the weary runners having completed their 26.2 for the day. Marathoners are a nice slice of people.

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