Runners, supporters enjoy return of Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in San Diego


SAN DIEGO — One of San Diego’s most well-known events — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon — was back in action Sunday after nearly two years of being canceled or postponed.

After much anticipation, tens of thousands of people laced up and hit the streets to run just before 7 a.m., making their way through North Park, Hillcrest and Normal Heights before the race broke into either a half or full marathon. There were also many road closures due to the event.

Check out this interactive course map to get a better idea of the runners’ route.

“It was very challenging,” runner Carolyn Thomas said. “And mile two, it was already uphill and in your face kind of thing and it was like, ‘Oh no.’”

Another runner, Anthony Gonzales, described the race as a mental game. 

“It’s just you, yourself and your mind,” he said. “You’re just running or walking.”

To keep runners energized, there was music and cheering along the way.

“A lot of emotion, a lot,” said Michael Chock. “It’s finally over. I cried sometime through. It was mentally draining.”

Meanwhile, those like Dean Aclan came to support the participants.

“We love them, we support them,” Aclan said. “We did this marathon about five years ago. We know how tough it is, so all the love and support we want to give to them. We’re very proud of them. It’s a big accomplishment.” 

New entertainment for the 2021 race included local drag queens and Anchorman and Top Gun impersonators and this year’s finisher medals were inspired by neighborhoods on the course.

The marathon medal design is based on Hillcrest, while the half-marathon medal represents North Park and the 5K medal design has the famous California Tower and Dome.

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