Leesville rocks at local marathon


On Sun, April 13, Raleigh geared up its first Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and half marathon.

12,500 runners from 49 states began the race at 7:00 a.m. under perfect racing conditions. Due to the large turnout, racers were divided into 24 corrals or groups to ease congestions.

Racers passed along a scenic route along distinguished landmarks like the NC State Bell Tower, Fayetteville Street, Oakwood, Cameron Village, and Umstead State Park. Live, local bands, a pumped fan base [family, friends, supporters], and a post race concert with a festival at the conclusion of the race provided much entertainment for everyone.

Local distance prodigy Paul Himberger of Durham (2:38:57) and  Heidi Bretscher of Durham (2:49:45) took first place in the men’s and women’s full marathon.

Tibor Vegh of Raleigh took first place in the men’s half with a time of 1:03:32 and Michelle Langan of Cary won with a 1:19:56.

Leesville Road made a spectacular turnout in the race. Several students and faculty braved the mileage Sunday morning.

Nathan Gamble, freshman, comes from a family of runners. With experience in distance track events, 5k’s, and half marathons, he came in mentally prepared for the race. The difficulty of the 13.1 tempo run took him by surprise.

“It was definitely tough trying to help pace my friend in the first half,” said Gamble. “For experienced runners, it’s hard to grasp the difficulty of even a half marathon because you think you’re so used to running high mileage.”

Danielle Benson, senior and varsity lacrosse player, took several steps to prepare for the half-marathon. She started running 3 to 4 miles every other day. As the race approached, she and her father began holding long weekend runs of 10-12 miles. Increasing mileage slowly but steadily is an essential component to long distance training.

She got the idea to enter into the race spontaneously. She said, “My family and I were in the car and my dad suddenly asked, ‘who wants to train with me in the half. I was like why not? It’s a great way to stay healthy, and it is my senior year.”

Benson enjoyed the side street music, the energized crowd, and the extra pump of adrenaline during her race. Some of her LAX mates, family and friends showed up to see her race.

Racing is a mind game, an ordeal in which runners test the limit of their physical strength.

“After about 5 miles, that [the adrenaline] begins to fade away. There are times when you say you can’t do it, but you just have to push yourself,” said Benson.

After the race, Benson received a slight dose of reality. Her runner’s high faded and fatigue set in. Benson says she will rest for some time, but she plans to return to racing.

The Rock n’ Roll marathon came equipped with tens of thousands of racers from nearly every state, thousands of spectators, great live entertainment, picturesque landmarks along the route, and representation from Leesville Road High. All in all, the new annual event proved beneficial for the city.

Raleigh, NC will continue to host the Rock ‘n’ Marathon annually each April. Train, sign up, run, rock, and roll!

Check out the results of the race by clicking on this link.


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