Milestones – The Champion

Roger Craig ran his first marathon in 2004 at the event that spawned the Rock ‘n’ Roll running brand, Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego. He finished in 4 hours, 9 minutes, eventually slicing his PR to 3:46.

His log book includes 15 half marathons and 13 marathons. He runs five or six times a week and logs more than 2,500 miles by the end of the year.

“When you finish a race, inevitably, you’ve had to fight through adversity,” says Craig. “You take that back to your job, to your family. It helps you feel complete as a person.”

A three-time Super Bowl champion in the 1980s with the San Francisco 49ers, Craig was a founding member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon which is celebrating its twelfth year running in 2017.

To those who may have forgotten just how good of a running back Craig was, here’s a reminder of his accolades:

  • First NFL running back to rush for 1,000 yards and catch passes for another 1,000 yards in the same season.
  • First player to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl.
  • The consummate all-around running back, rushing for 8,189 yards, catching passes for another 4,911.

But now, his world is running and business. By day, he works for a multi-billion-dollar Bay Area software company.

Asked to explain his love of running, Craig virtually gives a dissertation on the journey over the destination.

“You come across that finish line, they drape that medal around your neck and you’re relieved. You did it. No one helped you. You didn’t have an offensive line blocking for you 13.1 miles. You had to reach within yourself, pull it out of your gut and finish.”

Craig owes his love of distance running, in part, to one of the greatest running backs to ever tuck a football in the crook of his arm.

Walter Payton, “Sweetness,” once told Craig at a Pro Bowl in Honolulu, “Never lose your endurance.”

View our other Milestones episodes:

  • The Game Changer | The debut episode of Milestones, looks back at the 1998 Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, which was the game changer of the running industry.
  • The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll | No tradition has endured quite like the legacy of the Running Elvi. The origin story of dressing up like The King, and taking to the streets.
  • A Run to Remember | Featuring wear blue: run to remember, the organization that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military.
  • Positively Harriette | In 2015 Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman in history to run a marathon.
  • The Celebration | A thank you to the participants, volunteers, sponsors, and staff that have made 20 years of running possible.


Every runner has a story. Share your favorite moments or memories from running with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.