Runners line up at the starting line. Photo by Matthew Busch.
Runners line up at the starting line before the 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Credit: Matthew Busch for the Rivard Report

For the 26,000 runners registered for the annual Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, this weekend provides an opportunity to experience a community runner’s high. For San Antonio motorists, the marathon and several associated events means navigating road closures in and around downtown.

Numerous roads will close on Saturday and Sunday as waves of runners pack the streets. A 10k race begins at Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Most road closures and detours will begin at 7 a.m., and roads are scheduled to reopen by 10:30 a.m.

On Sunday, the marathon, half marathon, 5k, and two-person relay start at 7:15 a.m. Most roads will close at 6:30 a.m. and reopen before 4 p.m.

The 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon map.
The 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon map. Credit: Courtesy / Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio.

The 2017 race routes have been modified since the previous year to accommodate downtown construction, but will continue to take runners past San Antonio landmarks such as the Alamo, San Fernando Cathedral, and Travis Park.

A full list of road closures can be found here.

Of the runners registered for this weekend, 230 have competed in the event each year it has taken place in San Antonio – with 2017 being its 10th year.

Olympic Medalist Meb Keflezighi
Meb Keflezighi, who won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon draws elite runners, including 2004 Olympic marathon silver medalist and 2014 Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi. He said that he will be running the 5K, the relay, and the half marathon this weekend, his fifth time participating.

“I love coming here and running by the River Walk,” Keflezighi told the Rivard Report, adding that San Antonio’s efforts to engage the community in health and fitness makes the marathon environment “fun to be around.”

Another running celebrity will be taking to the streets of San Antonio this weekend: Kathrine Switzer, who in 1967 defiantly became the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon as an official entry. Now 70 years old, she is scheduled to compete in the 5k and half marathon.

Woman’s Running Pioneer Kathrine Switzer
Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon as an official entry. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Speaking Friday at a kickoff event for the weekend running festival, Switzer recalled the moment that she said changed her life and “the lives of millions of other women” in both sports and society. As Switzer was running the course, a race official chased her, trying to remove her bib number, but she ran on, completing the marathon. Women were not officially allowed to enter the Boston Marathon until 1972.

“Here we are now, 50 years later, and 65 percent of the [runners this weekend are] women,” Switzer said. “And 58 percent of all the runners in the United States are women.”

Switzer told the audience that they best thing they can do for their health is to “keep putting one foot in front of the other,” and that it’s never too late to become an athlete and work toward health and wellness goals.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon events include a Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday and Sunday that will feature health and nutrition information, fitness apparel, and the latest in running technologies. The event takes place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and is free and open to the public.

Runners enter Expo Hall to pick up their race numbers for the 10th annual Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon.
Runners enter Expo Hall to pick up their race numbers for the 10th annual Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon & ½ Marathon. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

The 2015 Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio marathon generated a total economic impact of over $28.5 million for the local economy, according to an economic impact study by San Diego State University.

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Since 1998, marathon runners have raised over $310 million for participating charities, and event organizers accept charity partnerships on an ongoing basis.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the Rivard Report.