US athletes to join first music-themed marathon in Capital

Runners enjoy a musical interlude during the 2009 San Diego half marathon
Runners enjoy a musical interlude during the 2009 San Diego half marathon
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THERE will be runners of all ages and abilities, as well as guest “appearances” from Elvis and the flamboyant band members of KISS.

Now hundreds of US athletes are also expected to make the trek to Edinburgh to take part in the city’s first ever Rock’n’Roll half marathon – the first of its kind to be held outside America.

The Evening News-backed event, on April 15, 2012, is set to attract 7000 competitors, with 2000 already signed up, including 400 from the US.

Event manager Shannon Davis said: “A lot of our US runners are really excited to come and discover Scotland.

“Since we’re a US-based company, we’re marketing it to the current US running database we have.”

Organisers hope to recruit more runners from America in the coming months for the race which has already proved a huge phenomenon in the US, with 23 events across the country.

Many runners travel miles to take part in every single race, collecting medals from each.

Ms Davis added: “We have over 500,000 runners who participate in our races in the US, and there’s certainly a lot of interest to see the beauty of Scotland.”

She said the event was expected to be particularly popular with the so-called “Heavy Medal Groupies” who are known to organisers for the number of races they have completed.

The event, which is replacing the ADT Edinburgh Half Marathon, has been predicted to boost the city’s coffers by around £8 million.

It will see bands playing at every mile marker, and a concert at the finish line in Holyrood Park, where many participants will be able to show off the costumes they have completed the race in.

Ms Davis said: “Elvis is the big one and after that there’s a range. There are people who dress as KISS, and we’ve also had things like leprechauns and devils. They vary depending on what time of year it is.”

Race organiser Competitor Group this week announced the route for the race, which begins and ends in the park, taking competitors to Leith Links, Portobello Promenade and back through Holyrood Park before embarking on a loop around the city centre, past many of the Capital’s landmarks.

Ms Davis said: “We’ve got a lot of runners coming in and I think that will help the economy a lot. We were lucky enough to work with Edinburgh City Council to create the perfect race, and I think it’s a perfect destination.”

The Rock’n’Roll Marathon series events are already spread as far apart as Los Angeles and New York. Edinburgh is the first stop on its European tour, which will see races take place in Madrid, Lisbon and Dublin later in the year.

The Edinburgh event is offering earlybird entry for £32 until December 31. Registration is available at uk.competitor.com/edinburgh/register, and more information about the Rock’n’Roll Marathon series can be found at runrocknroll.competitor.com