In 1998 the simple idea of making running fun became a phenomenon and in 2017 the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is celebrating 20 years running. This weekend more than 23,000 runners from all 50 states and 21 countries will kick off the 2017 tour at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon.
The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon forever changed the running industry by placing live bands on stages, interspersed with cheerleaders and themed water stations at each mile along the race course to entertain participants.
Arizona was the fourth destination which joined the series in 2003, breaking the record as the largest inaugural running event in U.S. history. Over the 14-year history of the Arizona event, more than 350,000 people have run on the roads of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe behind some of the world’s best professional elite athletes, “high-fived” guitarists and lead singers along the course, and ultimately, crossed the finish line to the cheers and tears of family and friends.
In addition to the music, local high school cheerleading squads will line the route, cheering on participants and competing for cash prizes. The band Toad the Wet Sprocket will cap-off the weekend’s festivities at the finish line concert, which is open to the public and free to all race participants and volunteers. Along with its massive participant numbers and innovative musical style the series had an immediate impact on the running industry by blending running, entertainment, tourism, retail and charity, effectively turning the average road race into a weekend-long event.