Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon a Challenge for a New Year

To ring in the New Year, I challenge you to the best and worst four-plus hours of your life. Without sounding too much like a “Go Army” commercial, it’s a challenge that not many will even bother to consider, few will start and even fewer will finish. Five months to train. Four words: the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, in San Diego on June 4. Three-plus grueling hours. Two stopping points: start and finish. And only one person: you.

Before you quit reading, think about how impressed people will be when you say, “I am training for a marathon.” But even before that, think about how impressed you’ll be when you set foot over the finish line of the 26.2-mile course. When was the last time you really pressed yourself to do something you would have never thought possible? Do you hear R. Kelly singing “I believe I can fly” yet?

I admit, it seems like a long shot for some to go from not running at all to running a fairly distant car drive but, hey, we all have to start somewhere, right? Honestly, there are very few challenges that will force you to psych your body and mind out at the same time; when you feel as though you’re going to collapse at any moment ­— all of which gives you more support to “just do it.”

Why this marathon?

Ask any one of the other 20,000 people that are crazy enough to run the race with you, and maybe they’ll say it’s the live bands and cheerleaders at every mile, the postrace concert/party, the medals at the end or the “crazies” dressed up as Elvis that keep them going. All of which are reasons that Runner’s World magazine has named the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon one of the top 10 most fun marathons in the nation to run in 2006.

I’m not challenging you to win the entire race (but if you’re motivated enough to do so, I give you the biggest of all thumbs-up); instead it’s just about finishing.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon offers a lot of more than its reputation; when else will you have some of the biggest roads in San Diego blocked off for your own personal foot-tour? With past postrace concert headliners such as Hootie and the Blowfish, and live reggae, rock and jazz bands lining the way to the finish line, you’ll feel like you’ve brought your entire high school graduation cheering section, multiplied it by a thousand and had them chant your name.

If after reading about all this hype, you don’t want to rush out and go for the gold medal just yet, consider the La Jolla Half Marathon on April 23. This shorter distance could be up your alley, or if you’re in it “just-for-kicks,” try the world famous Camp Pendleton Mud Run on June 10 further north.

I can only provide the information, but it’s up to you to do the rest of the work. If you’ve made it through to the end of this article, you’ve already taken the first step. If this isn’t sufficiently motivational, grab a partner or two and do some “Go team” ass-slappin’ and hit the road. Go get ‘em, tiger — I’ll see you at the finish line.