PF Chang’s restaurant sure knows how to get tons of publicity and community good will. Thousands and thousands of runners and spectators were at this year’s P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon. Direct exposure for the restaurant chain and weeks of press coverage to boot.
More than twenty-four thousand runners took part in the event. Spectators lined the courses and the crowd at the finish line and ending events was estimated at fifty thousand. Some runners hoped to meet personal goals while others were there for the experience. Other participants were world class and Olympic runners using the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon as a tune-up for future events and trials.
The event raised more than $335,000 for charity, and it is expected that the event brought about $35 million into the Valley with runners from all 50 states and 17 different countries in attendance.
This year’s event was on Sunday January the 20th. The overall full marathon winner was Solomon Kandie of Kenya. He crossed the finish line winning the Men's Full Marathon with a time of 02:21:00.
The women’s winner was Amy Cole, a former collegiate swimmer at Colgate who is a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, was the women’s marathon winner in 2:49:26, slowest in the 11-year event history. She hopes to lower her new personal record to sub 2:43 to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
The Men’s Half Marathon winner was Rob Watson, of Vancouver, Canada, at 1:05:03. Canada’s Rob Watson surprised few when he sprinted through the final straightaway all alone at the conclusion.
The Women’s Half Marathon winner was Jess Petersson, Denmark, at 1:13:47. Few expected Denmark’s Jessica Draskau-Petersson, who hadn’t even tapered for the race, to take the women’s crown.
Petersson, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, clocked in at 1:13:47, just a few minutes faster than the 75-minute mark that determined prize money. The race winner received $500 but all female competitors that ran under 1:15:00 received an extra $1,000.
The Wheelchair marathon was won by James Senbeta, Champaign, IL at a time of 1:40:19.
On Friday and Saturday, January 17th and 18th a health and fitness expo was held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Runners and visitors saw more than fifty exhibitors with many free samples, the latest in running gear, sports apparel, health and nutritional information and more. Anyone participating in the races went to the expo to pick up their race number, swag bag and the event t-shirt.
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