Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon to bring road closures this weekend


SAN DIEGO — Organizers are gearing up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which will force road closures as up to 22,000 runners and thousands of spectators descend on the city this weekend.

The first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was held in San Diego in 1998.

This year’s race weekend kicks off Saturday with a new 5K route. It begins at Presidents Way and Park Boulevard and brings runners by some top sights at Balboa Park, including over the Cabrillo Bridge, before finishing along Balboa Drive.

Saturday will be followed by the half marathon and marathon on Sunday. Runners will take off at 6:45 a.m. from Sixth Ave and Quince St at Balboa Park and go through Hillcrest, North Park and Normal Heights before the marathon breaks from the half marathon just past mile 8. The marathon route also runs through Mission Hills and Old Town before both distances finish downtown, organizers say.

A detailed page with a street-by-street closure grid and alternate routes is available on the races’ website.

The COASTER train will offer special service for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon with a 5:01 a.m. arrival time at Santa Fe Depot. Early trains are also planned by MTS for all three trolley lines with many transit centers allowing for free parking.

When it comes to traffic, organizers suggest using the navigation app Waze to get around road closures, which are expected to last up to 7 hours.

This year’s finisher medals are 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.

Runners will be cheered on by live bands and cheer teams with new entertainment for the 2021 race including local Drag Queens and Anchorman and Top Gun impersonators. Race finishers and friends and family will celebrate at the Finish Line Festival at Waterfront Park with music and entertainment.

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