January 15, 2018
PHOENIX, Ariz. – With most of the country in the throes of winter, nearly 18,000 runners took to the streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe this weekend to participate in the 15th year running of the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon. Runners were introduced to the all-new Rock ‘n’ Roll Experience where the focus in 2018 is offering the best-in-class running events with music at the core.
Kiya Dandena of Flagstaff, Arizona was the first runner to cross the half marathon finish line at Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Dandana’s winning time of 1:04:54 was a commanding one as he broke away around mile 2 and ran by himself the rest of the way. The second-place finisher, Ahmed Osman, who also trains in Flagstaff, finished in 1:06:05 with Fermin Villagran taking third in 1:09:25.
“I wanted to run hard the first 5K then finish off with another hard effort, and kind of relax in the middle,” said Dandena of his game plan. “I left the guys at mile 2 and had to do it all by myself so I went at a comfortable pace.”
In a sprint to the finish, a former champion for the half marathon, Stephanie Bruce, took another victory in a time of 1:12:31 while Elvin Kibet was right behind finishing one second after in 1:12:32. Maggie Callahan rounded out the podium with her third-place time of 1:17:22.
“We had a pretty conservative race plan coming into this because I just ran New York a couple months ago,” said Bruce. “I could feel though Elvin (Kibet) was right on my shoulder and I didn’t think she was going to let me ease up. I was supposed to make a move around 9 or 10 miles and she was right on me. I’ve been working on kicking and I wanted to commit that last 400 (meters).”
In the marathon, last year’s runner up, Roosevelt Cook, finally came out victorious with a final time of 2:31:36. Cook dominated the rest of the competition with Denis Patrick coming in second at 2:35:45 and Jordan Chip coming in third at 2:35:37.
41-year-old, Kate Landau of Tacoma, WA finished first for the women in 2:42:04. Tanaya Gallagher took second in 2:44:53 with Ailsa McDonald of Canada in third finishing in 2:48:02.
Elite runners and fast times aside, Sunday’s races were all about the party. Rock band Everclear took to the stage as the headliner for the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series, getting runners and their families to their feet to celebrate the days accomplishments. The weekend kicked off on Friday with the inaugural 1 Mile race followed by the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5K presented by Brooks and KiDS ROCK races on Saturday morning.