The Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series returned to the Valley of the Sun for the first time in two years, kicking off its 2022 calendar of events with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Arizona event.
Participants were provided a one of a kind running tour through the red rocks of Papago Park, past murals from local artists, and down urban streets of three major cities, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Over 17,000 registered participants took to the streets lined with cheer squads, local bands and entertainment from start to finish.
The 2022 Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Arizona racing kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 15 with the 5K taking place in Tempe from Mill Ave. Northern Arizona University’s Matthew’s Baxter (New Plymouth, New Zealand) took the overall win setting a 5K national record for his native New Zealand with a time of 13:55. Adrienne LeBlanc (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned top spot in the women’s race with a time of 21:00.
The excitement continued Sunday with the marathon, half marathon, 10K all taking off from University Dr. & College Ave in Tempe, traversing the three cities before returning to Tempe Beach Park for the Finish Line Festival and Encore Entertainment.
In the marathon, Zachary Garner (Bettendorf, Iowa) was crowned the winner for the men clocking a time of 2:28:48. Dan Kasprowicz (Wayland, Ohio) was second with a time of 2:32:10 and Charlie Ware (Tucson, Ariz.) followed in third place finishing in 2:35:49. Kai Sharbono (Spokane, Wash.) was the women’s winner with a final time of 2:55:01 with Sara Polatas (Findlay, Ohio) followed in second with a finishing time of 3:03:14 and Corey Petersen (Glendale, Ariz.)rounded out the podium with a time of 3:07:12.
In the half marathon, it was a Chris Frias (Ventura, Calif.) taking top spot clocking a time of 1:07:43. Bryant Byrd (Gunnison, Colo.) was second with a time of 1:08:01 and Austin Lavin (Glendale, Ariz.) followed in third place finishing 1:08:06. Stephanie Bruce (Flagstaff, Ariz.) was the women’s champion with a final time of 1:10:33 with Rosie Edwards (Scottsdale, Ariz. Originally from Great Britain) behind finishing in second with a finishing time of 1:16:39 and Amanda Millar (Paradise Valley, Arizona) rounding out the podium in 1:18:26.
Elite runners and fast times aside, the weekend’s events were all about the party atmosphere. Several local bands, including Come Back Buddy, Sky Daddy & The Pop Rocks, Cesar Chavez High School, DJ Munition, The Noisemakers and The Phoenician Four among many other talented artists from the Arizona community performed live on band stages along the route interspersed with cheerleaders and crowd support. The party wasn’t only on course – Phoenix based cover band Rock Lobster and country rock band Mogollon closed out the show as the Encore Entertainment.