Rock 'n' Roll Marathon events kick off Friday - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon events kick off Friday

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    Saturday, May 31 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-05-31 23:43:00 GMT
    Runners will take over the streets of San Diego Sunday for the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. More than 30,000 people are expected to participate in the race and many roads will be closed downtown to accommodate them. 
    Runners will take over the streets of San Diego Sunday for the Rock 'n' Roll marathon. More than 30,000 people are expected to participate in the race and many roads will be closed downtown to accommodate them. 

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi Friday helped kick off a series of weekend events planned around the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

Keflezighi, the San Diegan who in April became the first American male to win the prestigious Boston race since 1983, will run in the men's half-marathon Sunday. Race organizers said he would be the pace-setter for the 13.1-mile circuit.

"I've been very busy with the Boston win and I don't feel I'm in condition to win the (longer) race," Keflezighi told CBS News 8. "I'm here to help on Sunday. We're going to run 90 minutes -- or an hour and a half -- for the half-marathon."

Keflezighi said he hoped the pace would help the runners reach their goals for the race, which will go past the North Park apartment where he lived after immigrating from war-torn Eritrea when he was 12 years old. He said the full marathon course, ironically, goes past the Old Town residence where he currently lives.

A free health and fitness expo associated with the marathon opened Friday morning at the San Diego Convention Center, and will be open until 7 Friday night and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The public expo features more than 100 exhibitors offering running gear, training tips and interactive clinics, including one with three-time Boston Marathon women's winner Rita Jeptoo.

She will run in the women's half-marathon on Sunday, but an anticipated duel with London Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat is off because Kiplagat pulled out of the race. Keflezighi and Jeptoo are set to appear at the expo on Saturday, as well.

On Sunday, the marathon and half-marathon will begin at Sixth Avenue and Quince Street on the west side of Balboa Park. The finish line is at 13th and K streets by Petco Park in the East Village.

The course for the marathon, which begins at 6:15 a.m., winds through Mission Valley, Bay Park, East Mission Bay, Little Italy, downtown San Diego and Balboa Park.

The course for the half-marathon, which will begin a half-hour later, goes through North Park, Normal Heights and Balboa Park. Keflezighi will be the pace runner.

Organizers say 30,000 runners have entered, representing all 50 states and 40 countries. More than 40 bands will perform on 20 stages along the course. A post-race concert will be headlined by Aloe Blacc.

The grand marshal for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon will be Jim Ryun, who ran the first mile under four minutes 50 years ago. Proceeds will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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