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Rock marathon draws thousands to Seattle by making running fun

Running can be such drudgery, but with bands at every mile and plenty of partying throughout the weekend, it’s little wonder so many have taken to the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon.

Over 18,000 runners from all 50 states and 23 countries will take part in Saturday’s marathon and half marathon as it winds through the city, out to Mercer Island and back.

The Seattle stop, now in its sixth year, is one of the most popular in a series that spans several dozen cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Organizer Dan Cruz says it started back in 1998 in San Diego, when a group of runners first came up with the idea to create an experience that was far more enjoyable and accessible than Boston, New York, or any of the other traditional marathons.

In addition to the over 40 bands on the course, the event culminates with a free concert featuring The Presidents of United States of America and Sir Mix-A-Lot at Seattle Center.

“It really made running fun and something that was doable for the average person,” Cruz says. “It was about being more than a marathon, combining entertainment with fitness and travel, it’s really what people are passionate about.”

The event provides a huge shot to the local economy. Cruz says it will generate over $30 million in economic activity for the area, with thousands of visitors packing local hotels, shops and restaurants throughout the weekend. He says a number of local charities will benefit from groups raising money as part of the race.

“So be a little patient (Saturday) with the road closures and some of the community impacts, knowing that people are out there doing it for a good cause,” he says.

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