Rock ‘n Roll Marathon


By Jack McDermott


Temporary insanity inspired me to run yet another marathon – the Suzuki Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego. I had very modest goals, basically, to not lose to anyone dressed as Elvis. (I failed. I’m so humiliated.) It is a unique race because Suzuki tries to make your “near-death” experience slightly more enjoyable by posting rock bands and cheerleaders along the route. The race has become so popular with yuppies that Suzuki now offers a similar race for rednecks. (The Country Music Marathon in Nashville.)

I have even approached them about having a third music marathon – one that would feature exclusively polka music. Still in the planning stages, the “Polka Potluck Marathon” will feature German Oompah bands at every mile, and instead of cheerleaders lining the course, they will have Austrian yodelers dressed in lederhosen. Aide stations at the 8, 14, and 22-mile marks will have Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and Pilsner beer to assist the weary runners.

After the race, I was disappointed to learn that some elite runners received appearance fees and have corporate sponsors. I have never received an appearance fee (however, one local race director gave me a “non-appearance fee”), and I have yet to receive one corporate sponsor which does not make sense. Not only am I out on the course longer, but I have a bigger butt than those thin Kenyans, which, put simply, translates into more advertising space. I am hoping by next year to have a large “Drink Pepsi” logo splashed on the seat of my shorts – and a new car.

Pre-Race: The pre-race EXPO was fun, and I had the privilege of traveling with Sue “the forager” Kelly. We kept grazing off the free-samples so many times that we had to come back with disguises and assumed names until we were expelled by the race directors.

I even met this guy who had run marathons in all 50 states including 4 in Florida. I asked him if he had ever run Tallahassee and he said, “No. I heard that one is tough.” (And that guy was from California!)

Starting the Race: Bill Rodgers was the official race starter which I thought was pretty nifty. The young man next to me (having never heard of him) said he was hoping they would get Ricky Martin to start the race. (Ricky Martin?!?! I’ll bet that talentless hack can’t run 2-miles without collapsing a lung!) I told him next year they are supposed to have Jeff Galloway start the race, and Nilli/Vanilli lip-sync the national anthem.

Early in the Race: The race started with 18,000 people crammed into Balboa Park. As we surged forward, I was overwhelmed with the sensation that we were cows being herded into the slaughterhouse, or lemmings going off a cliff. The early going was made more special because a “village idiot” placed himself at the 0.2 mile mark and yelled, “Only 26 more to go!” (I think someone in my group beaned him with a water bottle.)

Race Summary: On a positive note, I did set two personal records during the race. My first record is that I consumed 10 GU Packets. This strategy worked well except around the 24-mile mark when I stopped sweating, and GU-paste leaked out of my pores. I also ran my first marathon where I did not have to stop and urinate. This problem has not been limited to my racing, but also affects my training runs. If you have wondered why the Fern Trail has become overgrown, it is probably due to all the nitrates I personally added to the soil. I am planning on writing a future article to address this issue titled: “The Amazing Adventures of Bladder Boy”.

Post-Race: The post-race party was good, but I did not like Suzuki’s “beer policy.” The first beer was free but you had pay for the second. Good thing I had an emergency $10 in my jock strap! There is nothing like seeing the expression on someone’s face when you whip out a sweaty bill and ask, “Excuse me sir, can you make change?” (Needless to say, my second beer was free also.)

The most entertaining moment came when Sue challenged a chain-smoker for the last chair in the Beer Garden. He learned the hard-way: There is nobody more determined than a menopausal woman who has just finished a marathon. Not only that, I was told that she wrestled a bull terrier to a draw at the 17-mile mark to get water.

Blue Angel Hangover: Even though I had a good race in San Diego, I am still bitter about my performance at the Blue Angel Marathon in February. Therefore, I would like to sue the organizers of the race (the U.S. Navy) for $7 million dollars. I am seeking $2 million for “emotional trauma” (having to look at my unsolicited race photos); $2 million for “defamation of character” (yeah … like any woman is going to date me after looking at those race photos); $3 million for “pain and suffering” (did I mention the race photos?); and $46 for uncovered medical expenses (mostly Advil). If any lawyers in the club are interested in some pro bono work … please let me know.

You may ask why I am pursuing my bogus lawsuit. I guess it is because the theme of the 19th century was “If at first you don’t succeed … try, try again.” The theme of the 20th century was “If at first you don’t succeed … try something easier.” The theme for the 21st century is “If at first you don’t succeed … try to find a lawyer and sue the sh** out of somebody.” Happy Trails.