Music marathon

Join the party at Arizona's rock 'n' roll race
By Melissa Castleman

The Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon is no run-of-the-mill race; it's more like metro Phoenix's biggest party of the year. The fun starts when the nip of dawn is still in the air and lasts long into the desert night. The soundtrack: reggae, rock, funk, country, jazz, and blues from 60 live bands. Spectators come out by the thousands to high-five passing runners and walkers and take in Arizona's famous winter weather while enjoying free concerts. With bands stationed about a mile apart along the two courses ― marathon and half-marathon ― it's a 39.3-mile, tri-city fete, kicking off in Phoenix, continuing on through Scottsdale, and wrapping up in the heart of Tempe. Motivated to get moving after watching marathoners breeze by? Bring your dancing shoes to the Finish Line Festival at Arizona State University or to the evening concert at Tempe Beach Park.

INFO: The marathon (7:40 a.m.; Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix) and half-marathon (8:30 a.m.; Jefferson St. between 16th Ave. and 17th Ave., Phoenix) take place Jan 15. The Finish Line Festival (free; Joe Selleh Track Stadium, ASU, Tempe, AZ) begins as runners finish the race. For details on the evening concert (8 p.m.; Tempe Beach Park, west of Mill Ave. and north of Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe), races, and festival, visit www.rnraz.com or call 800/311-1255.