Huge news for the local race, but I still detest the RNR series.
by Jeff Metcalfe – Dec. 15, 2009 07:25 PM
The Arizona Republic
Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor, both 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champions, will make their P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona debuts by running in the 1/2 marathon Jan. 17.
More than 30,000 entrants are expected for the seventh annual event, the world’s largest marathon and 1/2 marathon combination. It will include a new 50K division.
Hall and Kastor are U.S. 1/2-marathon record holders: 59 minutes, 43 seconds in 2007 and 1:07:34 in 2006, respectively. Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia set a then-world 1/2-marathon record (58:55) here in 2006 on the back half of the marathon course.
“It’s great for Arizona (to host the U.S. Olympians),” said Matt Turnbull of Elite Racing. “Since Haile, we haven’t had a marquee athlete, if you like. Our goals are to get the best in America to run for us, and they fall in that category.”
Hall, 27, was 10th at the 2008 Olympic Marathon and fifth at the 2008 London Marathon, recording a personal-record time of 2:06:17.
Kastor, 36, was the bronze medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics but dropped out of the Beijing Olympics marathon because of a broken foot. She was sixth at the Chicago Marathon in October despite stomach problems and could be ready to run fast here in a field that will include Kim Smith of New Zealand (seventh at the 2009 World 1/2 Marathon Championships) and Phoenix native Sara Slattery.
The field for the Dean Kamazes Ultra 50K is limited to 150. Entrants will complete the extra five miles before the start of the 26.2-mile marathon.
Also new for 2010, headlining band Everclear will perform shows at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the finish line in Tempe rather than perform in an evening concert.