Planning for Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon hits sour note
The Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon — a race built around a music theme that was planned for Aug. 4 in Pittsburgh — has been canceled before the first note could be played.
Organizers of the race, which would have featured live music along the course and a concert by a national music act at the finish line, notified 4,000 registrants by email over the weekend that the race was off, said Dan Cruz, a spokesman for Competitors Group Inc., based in San Diego, where the first Rock 'n' Roll race was held in 1998.
Cruz said on Sunday that the city has refused to issue a permit for the race. Organizers hope to reschedule the event for 2014.
“We've applied for a permit several times and have repeatedly been denied,” Cruz said. “In November, the city raised concerns about the heat associated with running a race in August. We offered other dates for September, but those were also turned down.
“We felt that we could no longer proceed with organizing this year's event without the support of the mayor's office, the director of public safety and the (city's) special events committee.”
Michael Huss, the city's director of public safety, said on Sunday that decision not to allow the race on Aug. 4 was made after consulting with city emergency medical services chiefs and a physician who advises the public safety department.
They raised concerns about problems runners might face because of high heat and humidity, he said.
“During last year's (Pittsburgh) marathon in May, we were up against the wall with resources even though we brought medical units from outside the city to help,” Huss said, adding that half marathons often can result in more medical problems among runners because they often do not train as hard as those running in full marathon races. Half marathons typically are around 13 miles long.
Part of the key to the Rock 'n' Roll series' popularity is its accessibility for novice racers, and its emphasis on fun and the overall race experience, organizers said when the event was announced at a March 2012 event at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.
“As far as offering us other dates, they (organizers) were dug in on Aug. 4, until recently,” Huss said. “We felt that holding it in September would conflict with the Great Race.”
Organizers said Aug. 4 was selected to prevent conflicts with the Dick's Sporting Goods Marathon on May 5 and the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race scheduled for Sept. 29.
About 4,000 runners — half of whom are from outside Western Pennsylvania — were registered for the race, Cruz said.
They were offered the option of applying their entry fee to another race, including the 2014 race in Pittsburgh, or a refund.
“We're very disappointed that we have to cancel this year's race (in Pittsburgh), but we're still hoping to have one next year if city officials will cooperate,” Cruz said.
There are 17 more Rock 'n' Roll races scheduled this year in the United States and Canada, as well as four in Europe. The closest ones to Pittsburgh are in Philadelphia on Sept. 15, and Cleveland on Oct. 5.
Craig Davis, CEO of tourism promotion agency VisitPittsburgh, which has been trying to add Pittsburgh to the lineup of Rock 'n' Roll races held each year, said his organization plans to continue offering its assistance.
“We will continue to work with the city and Rock 'n' Roll marathon officials to create a successful event in Pittsburgh in 2014,” he said.
The race was expected to generate about $7.9 million in direct spending in the city, Davis said.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh to consider measure to give city employees 6 weeks of paid parental leave
- Mt. Lebanon awaits Pennsylvania Game Commission approval to corral, kill deer
- Aging weather satellite may be leaving forecasters with a large blind spot
- 3-D images to help police in Western Pa. navigate terror, hostage scenes
- Pittsburgh City Council unanimous in opposition to bill that would change how Pa. defines tax-exempt status
- Owner of Italian Village Pizza stores in Western Pennsylvania gets house arrest for tax evasion
- Allegheny County assistant public defender Capone charged with lying to court staff
- NTSB: Better oversight needed to prevent natural gas pipeline accidents
- Pipelines key to growth in shale industry
- Developer wants to keep historic atom smasher in Forest Hills
- Water service restored in Brentwood