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home > races/results > usa: rhode island > the rock ‘n’ roll providence half marathon and two-person half marathon relay is coming to rhode island

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon and Two-Person Half Marathon Relay is Coming to Rhode Island
The renowned Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series brings their outstanding Half Marathon to Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, August 19, 2012. A two-day Health and Fitness Expo, a headline band for post race entertainment, bands to rock you every mile, and the famous Providence WaterFire the night before the race make for a terrific and unique weekend for half marathoners and runners of all skill levels.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon and Two-Person Half Marathon Relay is Coming to Rhode Island

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 29 June, 2012

The 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon is a happening; it is planned and built for runners and music lovers, and those who simply want to have a really fun experience in the capital of the Ocean State. If you are not up to a 13.1-mile jaunt, plan to run the two-person half marathon relay with a friend and double your fun. The relay is new, but don’t wait to get in because they are only accepting 150 teams. Both the half marathon and relay blast off at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 19 as thousands of runners will enjoy the tour; and thousands of spectators will again enjoy New England’s largest half marathon.

This is the second year for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon; and in the inaugural it proved that magic happens when a great event finds an outstanding city as host, and the 7,000 participants all reaped the rewards in 2011.

Providence is less than an hour from Boston, and the region is a hotbed of running—probably more runners per capita than any other area in the world. And here comes the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series brought to you by Competitor Group.

With such a wonderful destination and so much to see, you will want to make a weekend of it and experience all that is offered in Providence—and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon and Relay. The Expo opens at 1:00 p.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m. on Friday the 17th. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday the 18th. Bib number and packet pick up—swag bag and Brooks technical T—will be available at the Expo during those hours. There is no race day pick up or registration.

This race is so easy to get to just off Interstate 95. You should consider Amtrak and MBTA Commuter Rail because the station is very close to the start and finish in the shadow of the state capitol. The train is one of the best options from many metro areas, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut or the Boston or Portland, Maine regions. Save 15% on Amtrak when you book through this website: Flying is another option with Theodore Francis Green State Airport only a few miles south of downtown Providence, or Boston Logan Airport only an hour north by car or by train.

The finish area on the State House grounds will include a live concert with headliner Karmin, who has a #18 hit on the Billboard charts, and the celebration continues right above the rail station at Station Park in the downtown. It is about the run! It is about the music! And about the destination.

Terrific organization and strong, supportive sponsorship, great entertainment, commitment to charities and awesome venues and facilities; these components make this race a big hit with the New England running community and beyond.

Please visit the Race Website for information on registration, training, charities, travel, course video tour and maps, course support-bands and cheer clubs, guidelines, participant perks, how to get to the start, corrals and wave start, pace teams, guidelines, gear check, time limits, family reunion area, parking and shuttles, volunteer opportunities, and so much more:

Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Two-Person Half Marathon Relay
It’s new, and limited to 150 teams! The Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence 2-person Half Marathon Relay runs the same course as the 13.1 trek, with two legs of about five and eight miles. Runners can enjoy all of the half marathon fun and amenities, just a shorter run!

Runners of all abilities can enjoy the half marathon experience by planning with a teammate; there are female teams, male teams, and mixed/coed pairs. Register your Relay team today because these slots are going fast!

Relay participants will be treated to all of the half marathon perks including: commemorative finisher’s medal, Brooks technical T-shirt, swag bag, Chronotrack timing, course support, finish line refreshments, and most importantly, a rockin’ half marathon memory.

Super Heroes? Famous couples or celebrities? Mascots? Use your imagination and add to the fun for you and for all. Relay Teams are encouraged to wear costumes and get into the spirit! Have twice the fun and rock the run!

Health and Fitness Expo
The Expo will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center, which is located in downtown between Exchange and Sabin Streets (One Sabin Street), and very close to the State Capitol, the start finish, the train station, Providence Place Mall, and several hotels. The Expo offers over 60 exhibitors and vendors, sponsor-partners, with lots of samples and the latest gear, shoes, and apparel. There will also be a variety of nutrition offerings and information along with general health exhibits. Race packets will be available, and, if not sold out, there may be registration for the Half Marathon. However, there will be no Relay registration at the Expo. Runners are always impressed with the swag bag, which can also be used for gear check before the race.

Online Registration closes Sunday, August 12, 2012 or at SELLOUT.

WaterFire Providence
On Saturday night, August 18 there will be a “Full Fire”, with many gas braziers on the water from 20 minutes after sunset, which is 7:42 p.m., to just after midnight. A sight to behold, and you will have plenty of company for this experience—unique, exciting, romantic, artful! Check it out at

Both the Half Marathon and the Relay start and finish in downtown Providence, with start and finish line only a few meters apart. The 13.1-mile race begins on Gaspee Street and finishes on Francis Street; both are adjacent to the State House grounds—Gaspee to the east or right side facing the front, and Francis to the west. Beautiful courses are always a plus. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon runs along the Woonasquatucket River, both sides of the Providence River (scene of the Water Fire the night before the race), and past the Roger Williams National Memorial. As it heads into the historic and pleasant East Side it passes Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University, and lovely homes and historic structures before zipping down along the Providence harbor, and passing scenic Seekonk River heading north past Blackstone Park and including Blackstone Boulevard.

It winds along the north side around the Swan Point area before returning to the downtown and more architectural and historic gems. The Half Marathon course is generally flat and fast with some rolls. There will be plenty of that famous Rock ‘n’ Roll race venue music, with many bands blasting at least every mile. Cheer clubs will help pick up your pace and your spirits, and there is excellent support along the course.

And if friends and family cannot compete, they can still participate as volunteers and enjoy the event from a different perspective. Please see the Race Website

This event has great charity partners too, and is instrumental in raising money for many, including the Determination Team of the American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program.

Last Year was Awesome—“Great City, Outstanding Event”
There were over 7,000 signed up and more than 5,800 crossed the finish line in 2011. They were led by Providence resident and New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith with a blistering 1:11:54 on a rainy day. Smith attended Providence College and now makes the city her home. In the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras (New Orleans) Half Marathon earlier in the year Smith ran the fastest ever half marathon by a woman in North America, 1:07: 36. Smith holds seven national records for New Zealand and will run in London. Tezata Dengersa, one of Turkey’s all time best women runners, finished second in 1:18: 56 last year.

Kumsa Adugna Megersa of Kenya took the men’s crown with his 1:07: 32. Tesfaye Dube finished second (1:07:50); both reside in New York. Former Providence College standout Patrick Moulton of Pelham, New Hampshire, now residing in Providence, captured third place with 1:09:01. Patrick is a three-time winner of the ING Hartford Marathon and an Olympic Trials qualifier.

Winners are awarded the Bruce Sundlun Trophy, named for the former Rhode Island Governor, who died before he could experience the inaugural race. His son, Tracy Sundlun, helped to found the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series and is now a Senior Vice President of Competitor Group, which is based in San Diego.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Series and Competitor Group
For those on the east coast there will be three more great opportunities to enjoy the Rock ‘n’ Roll mystique within a few weeks of Providence with a September 2nd running in Virginia Beach, Virginia; a September 16th event in Philadelphia; and a 10K in New YOrk on October 13th.

It started out 16 years ago in San Diego, and it has grown into an international phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of participants over the years. There are now 29 events on the schedule—either marathons or half marathons, or both with some relays and “mini marathons” at some destinations. There are 24 in the USA, split evenly geographically, with 12 east of the Mississippi and 12 to the west. There are five international venues, including Montreal; Dublin, Ireland; Edinburgh, Scotland; Madrid, Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Competitor Group also presents cycling and mountain biking events, triathlons, and the Carlsbad 5000, among others.

A Lot to See and Do in Providence
Sightseeing and shopping can be cross training in Providence. Participants and spectators alike should take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the area. There could not be a more interesting course in any downtown, in any city. The courses travel along both historic and modern streets that are as dynamic as they are varied. There are revitalized retail shops, the Providence Place Mall, historic canals, the Riverwalk, and 18th century homes and shops. And there is the State House.

If you have never been to Providence, you are in for a terrific treat with something for every interest. History buffs will love the area, especially the state house and the “Mile of History” on Benefit Street where there is a concentration of original Colonial and early Federal homes and other buildings. And there are many restaurants for those pre or post race meals and refreshments.

A monument on Gano Street (between Power and Williams Streets) marks the site where founder Roger Williams first arrived after spending the winter with the Wampanoags tribe who gave him the land to establish Providence. This was not, despite the name, a religious colony. It was quite the opposite, a place where there was “freedom for the souls of men”, and only civil laws—the foundation of the separation of state and church. Williams is buried at Prospect Terrace, Cushing and Congdon streets, marked by a 14-foot statue overlooking “Downcity”. The Roger Williams National Memorial is located at 282 North Main Street (site of the original settlement).

There is so much history and so many places of interest we can only list a few: Old State House, 1762, where Rhode Island declared Independence in May, 1776 (150 Benefit Street); Providence Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries and cultural centers in the USA (251 Benefit Street); 1774 Market House (Providence Tea Party); Trinity Repertory Theater, 201 Washington St.; Waterplace Park and Cove Basin (1848); the Riverwalk; Brown University; John Hay Library; First Unitarian Church, 1816 (Benefit and Benevolent Streets); Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design ( 224 Benefit); and much more.

The State House alone is an attraction, and a national historical landmark. The dome is the fourth largest self-supported dome in the world, topped by the sculpture “Independent Man”. This beautiful building of gleaming marble contains the original colonial charter of 1663 from King Charles II; the large, priceless parchment is visible to all in its glass and steel vault. An array of famous paintings and other treasures are on display.

Rhode Island
The State of Rhode Island, officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, offers a tremendous variety of running opportunities. Known as the Ocean State, as well as Little Rhody, a surprising number of its 1,214 square miles are open to recreation, and that includes some terrific running trails and bike paths—some that will take your breath away.

One of the many great things about Rhode Island is you can get to anywhere in the state very quickly. In addition to tours of Providence, visitors can quickly and easily visit the famous mansions of Newport, walk the Oceanside cliffs, or stroll the beaches of South County. There are hundreds of scenic places to run and walk and some unusual spots as well. Museums and parks abound, and are as varied as the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum in North Kingstown, and the Art Museum at Rhode Island School of Design.

Be sure to visit the Riverwalk, over a mile of paved walkways and several acres of parkland that runs through downtown and gives a romantic atmosphere. The race will showcase Providence and the history, growth and change it has enjoyed.

You Have Got to Experience Rock ‘n’ Roll--Go to Providence
Enjoy a beautiful summer day--or weekend--in Providence with a race that is sure to get you pumped. New Englanders now have an opportunity to take advantage of the nation-wide and international phenomenon that is the Rock n’ Roll series of races. Enjoy the city and the state, and participate in a growing classic road race. Make your plan with friends and family and run Providence in August.



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