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Originally published Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Running | Rock 'n' roll run set to replace Seafair Marathon

More than 70 bands will play along the 26.2-mile course in an event dubbed a "Running Nirvana." The marathon and half-marathon (13.1 miles) races will replace the Seafair Marathon and kick off the area's annual summer festival.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Ready to rock and run?

Organizers of the inaugural "Rock 'n' Roll Seattle" hope so.

More than 70 bands will play along the 26.2-mile course in an event dubbed a "Running Nirvana." The marathon and half-marathon (13.1 miles) races will replace the Seafair Marathon and kick off the area's annual summer festival.

Seattle is the eighth city to join the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. The series, which originated in San Diego and now includes San Antonio, Philadelphia and other cities, has hosted 45 races total. The Seattle race will be televised nationally on FSN.

"It will be a great opportunity for us to showcase Seattle in the summer, especially since it will be broadcast nationally," said Beth Knox, executive director of Seafair. "We're excited to show the world what makes Seattle an ideal vacation city and know that the race will be a perfect kickoff to our annual Seafair."

Organizers hope to attract at least 15,000 runners, including elite-level international competitors aiming for the approximate $100,000 in total prize money. The course will be unveiled later this year.

The bands and cheerleaders sprinkled along the course from Tukwila to Seattle will have a local flavor. Registration is open online at www.rnrseattle.com to groups who want to participate. All high-energy bands are welcome, from hip-hop to mariachi, according to the organizers.

Qwest Field is the scheduled finish line and site of a Heath & Fitness Expo. After the race, all runners, walkers and event volunteers will be treated to a post-race concert at Marymoor Park. Non-participants will pay an entry fee.

Past Rock 'n' Roll Marathons have booked Seal, INXS, Goo Goo Dolls and Pat Benatar.

"People love it," said Bruce Herring, senior vice president of The Competitor Group, the parent company of the marathon and half-marathon. "Running a marathon can be a little tough and this takes their mind sort of off the drudgery of it and the bands have fun."

Megan Young, event manager, said she doesn't anticipate any problems shuttling people to the starting line in Tukwila. About 400 runners missed the start of the Seafair Marathon in June when there wasn't enough space on buses in Bellevue to transfer everyone to the starting line in time. Some runners were taken to the halfway point and ran the half-marathon.

Young still is working on the logistics of transportation to Marymoor Park for the after-party concert, however. Making it from Qwest Field to the Eastside sans marathon can be difficult. Add more than 15,000 people and you have a traffic nightmare.

"We're going to have a huge shuttle program going on," Young said. "We're used to the masses of participants and getting everybody to the start on time. That's the most important thing. [Marymoor] is in the works."

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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