Rockin’ race for runners
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
It seems most local races try to capitalize on the appeal of a quiet run along a bike path on a scenic route. The Rock the Road 10k isn’t your typical Forest City race though — consider it more of a rock show run.
“It’s a whole different environment,” said Cliff Cadogan, co-director of Rock the Road taking place Sunday (Aug. 19). “One thing people talked about was the noise, they talked about the bands, they talked about the cheerleaders; it created a lot more excitement. Usually it’s just a race, but now it’s actually an event.”
Dubbed London’s biggest party race, runners won't need to bring their iPods as they make the trek down Richmond Street to Regent, then up to Adelaide and finally turning down to Fanshawe Park Road where they hit the finish line at Masonville Mall greeted by a concert.
If the athletes need a boost along the way, there’s no need to worry as the good times keep on rolling throughout the race route with about five other bands expected to perform on the sidelines and a special noise section coming down the hill on William Street where people viewing the race will be equipped with cowbells and inflatable boom sticks.
“When you’re racing or just out for a run, as soon as you hear music, and especially really good music, it gets the adrenaline going,” Cadogan said. “You start to pick up and run.”
Last year, in the race’s inaugural run, it even had an acoustic section on the route to accommodate the quiet north end.
The rock star treatment for the runners is to try and bring people to the Forest City, instead of having them take their act on the road.
“We’re all runners and one thing we talk about is how much travelling we do to go to races,” said John Haasen, another director of Rock the Road. “We went to Chicago for the Rocky Road half-marathon because it was exciting. Why can’t we create that same environment right here?”
One person who knows about going long distances for a good marathon is Rock the Road’s third director, Brandon Laan, who has travelled everywhere from Honolulu to New York City to participate in races.
“(Rock the Road) is kind of rolling out the red carpet for London people oppose to filling busloads and sending them elsewhere,” Laan said, 28, already training to compete in the 2016 Olympics marathon. ”Ottawa has 50,000 (runners), Vancouver has 50,000 in their sort of race weekend, and I think those are bigger scales, but I think we (London) can do 5,000 to 10,000 people no problem.”
The race directors are expanding the rockin’ race to a series of five events next year and hope to register about 15,000 runners over the months.
With Rock the Road the lone event this summer, the directors are looking to bring in between 400 and 500 athletes—about double from last year—and donate between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars to the MS Society of Canada.
Leading up to race day, a Health and Fitness Expo will be held inside Masonville Mall starting Friday (Aug. 17).
“I don’t want to necessarily call out London, but everyone keeps telling me that there’s 20,000 runners,” Laan said. “I’m still waiting to see them and I think it’s about taking pride in your own events.”
For more information on Rock the Road, visit www.rocktheroad10k.com.
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