Despite all the cold and rainy weather we've had of late, the conditions were excellent for Sunday's inaugural Rock 'N' Roll half-marathon, which started in Griffith Park and ended up in downtown Los Angeles. I did this on a bit of a whim, feeling strong after last week's walk/run in the Long Beach half- marathon, and I'm glad I did. Those guys really know how to put on a race.
Perhaps that's no surprise, given the cross-country slate of marathons and half-marathons they put on under the Rock 'N' Roll banner. But this team has it down to a science. By the time I decided to do the race, I'd missed the online-registration window. I arrived at the L.A. Convention Center late Friday afternoon, dreading the possibility of long lines at the registration tables and at the Expo. All that worry was wasted: I registered, paid for my bib and had my race packet in hand in about four minutes. Seriously. It seemed like the race organizers had one volunteer for ever runner in attendance. Was it different on Saturday when the crowds were larger? What was your experience like?
While at the Expo, I met race spokesman Dan Cruz, who kindly invited me to visit the V.I.P. tent on race morning with others from the media who were largely there to cover the celebrity quotient of the race. Among the competitors: actors Jerry O'Connell, Jennifer Love Hewitt and James Marsden, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his girlfriend, KTLA TV reporter Lu Parker. (The mayor began the race but peeled off shortly after the start for work obligations: He was there to support Parker, whose charity, the Lu Parker Project, helps at-risk youth and homeless animals and raised more than $7,000 on Sunday. Perhaps even more amazing? The Miss USA 1994 looked as picture perfect at the end of the race as she did at the beginning of the race. Maybe even better, thanks to the post-workout glow. See photographic proof below.)