March 29, 2015
San Francisco – (March 29, 2015) Nearly 9,000 runners took to the streets of San Francisco under blue skies to compete in the 3rd Annual Transamerica Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, March 29. Featuring a scenic 13.1-mile course, the half marathon took runners along the Great Highway, up Lincoln Blvd and across the Golden Gate Bridge before ending in the heart of the city at Civic Center Plaza.
Fernando Cabada, one of the top American entrants in next month’s Boston Marathon, took home the overall title at the Transamerica Rock ’n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon, breaking the tape in a course-record 1 hour, 6 minutes and 26 seconds. In the women’s race, Tania Morimoto, also prepping for this year’s edition of the world’s oldest annual marathon, pulled away from her closest pursuers with five miles to go, taking home the win in 1:20:54.
Fernando Cabada, Fresno, CA, 1:06:26
Tania Morimoto, Redwood City, CA, 1:20:54
Xavier Rodriguez, Poth, TX 1:09:44
Elle Pishny, San Francisco, CA 1:21:44
Chris Mocko, San Francisco, CA 1:10:02
Michelle Meyer, San Francisco, CA 1:25:27
“I love racing here in California,” said Cabada, who lives and trains in his hometown of Fresno, Calif. “It gives me a lot of pride to represent the Central Valley and represent California. This is where it all started for me. I’ve been away a long time but last year I came back for good and it’s been a lot of fun. In the past couple years I’ve been going in the right direction. I’m heading into the prime of my career and I just want to take advantage of it.”
The 32-year-old Cabada grabbed control of the race from the start, opening up a 10-second gap by the 1-mile mark (5:30) en route to his wire-to-wire win. Cabada rolled through 5K in 16:03, 38 seconds up on his closest pursuers, two-time defending champion Chris Mocko (3rd, 1:10:02) and Xavier Rodriguez (2nd, 1:09:44). At 10K (32:42), Cabada’s advantage had grown to 1:16 over Rodriguez and by 10 miles (50:38), he had added another minute to his already comfortable cushion. Heading up Polk Street just past 11 miles—the course’s final uphill section—Cabada focused on keeping his effort level in check so he could enjoy the screaming downhill finish into Civic Center Plaza.
“Today I just had fun out there,” said Cabada, who got a charge out of seeing his cousin, Chris Velez, running in the opposite direction on the Golden Gate Bridge just after Mile 7. “I really didn’t even worry about pace. I just wanted to break 1:07. Those hills were tough but I liked the way my body was feeling.”
Women’s winner Tania Morimoto didn’t have time much time to talk following her 1:20:54 win at the Transamerica Rock ’n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon—she had another hour to go run after the race.
“It was fun,” Morimoto, a member of the Strava Track Club, said of Sunday’s race. “The bridge was beautiful this morning. It was good to get a little tuneup and get on the start line and get that adrenaline going again. I felt pretty good.”
The Redwood City, Calif., resident and Stanford grad student, who says she just wants to “get out there and see what I can do” at Boston next month, put in a little surge coming off the Golden Gate Bridge right around Mile 8 to distance herself from two-time defending champion Elle Pishny of San Francisco. She hit the finish line at Civic Center Plaza 49 seconds ahead of Pishy, and was only 30 seconds off her personal best, set in 2013 at the much flatter Rock ’n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon.
Chris Mocko from San Francisco celebrated a third place finish, after winning the overall race in both 2013 and 2014. Past 2013 and 2014 Champion Elle Pishny, from San Francisco, enjoyed a second place finish this year. Racers from 12 to 74 years old participated in the half marathon including Challenged Athlete Foundation’s Adrian Broca, one of the fastest visually impaired marathon runners in the United States. Broca ran on behalf of Team Chocolate Milk with a guide and finished in 1:30:13. Three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig, an avid runner and big fan of the Rock ‘n’ Marathon Series completed the race in 1:58:20.
The scenic 13.1-mile course highlights San Francisco’s most famous sites, taking participants along the Great Highway with sprawling ocean views, through the Presidio, across closed lanes of the Golden Gate Bridge and along Crissy Field before ending in Civic Center Plaza.
From live bands and drag queens to go-go dancers and jugglers, participants were entertained and inspired along the course and also enjoyed a huge Finish Line Festival featuring a headliner concert by the popular rock band American Authors. American Authors rocked the Civic Center Plaza helping participants celebrate the day’s accomplishments with their chart-topping hit “Best Day of My Life,” among others.
Title sponsor Transamerica raised $5,751 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a unique “charity chaser” program. For every runner that “Tomorrow Chaser” Drew Thompson passed by in the race—starting from the last corral—Transamerica donated one dollar to St. Jude. Thompson ran strong passing more than 5,700 runners.