Rock 'n' roll hits Chicago running

And the winners are....
July 31, 2009 (CHICAGO) It's the first ever Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

The race kicked off Sunday at Columbus and Congress, and music set the tempo for the 13-mile party.

Kara Goucher of Portland, Oregon won first place, finishing in 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 5 seconds. Chicago-area native Chad Ware came in about 20 seconds behind her.

Bands line the course at every mile for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon series that has been a huge success in other cities, like Phoenix. Sunday it came to Chicago for the first time. It had already been sold out for more than a month.

"These are events, these are celebrations, these are the parties that we throw now to celebrate the fact that you've done all that hard work in your training," executive race director John Bingham said.

The race weekend features an expo at McCormick Place where runners can find the latest in health and fitness products. The concept draws runners from around the country, including many first timers.

"The first thing I ran was the 10K and it went well so I'm scared out of my mind," San Antonio native Roel Zavalla said.

" I'm wondering if I'll finish it. Hopefully I won't stay by one of the stages," first-time runner Sonia Rios said the previous Friday.

In addition to the beginners, the race attracts some of the best distance runners in the country. Kara Goucher is an Olympian.

"This weekend is a great opportunity for a dress rehearsal for the world championship. We're three weeks out and it's a flat course," Goucher said. Watch an extended interview with Kara Goucher.

Elite marathon runner Ryan Hall is not running this weekend but has done rock and roll events and holds the American half marathon record.

"It just has this atmosphere and this feel and this energy like you're at a festival. It feels like a big party," Hall said. Watch an extended interview with Ryan Hall.

The race starts and finishes south of Balboa. In this case, they say the party starts after the race is over. They have big concert in the park right next door. It's free and open to everyone after the race is over.

There are several road closures for the race. Click here for that information.

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