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 funstarts when the nip of dawn is still in the air and lasts long intothe desert night. The soundtrack: reggae, rock, funk, country,jazz, and blues from 60 live bands. Spectators come out by thethousands to high-five passing runners and walkers and take inArizona's famous winter weather while enjoying free concerts. Withbands 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, andwrapping up in the heart of Tempe. Motivated to get moving afterwatching marathoners breeze by? Bring your dancing shoes to theFinish Line Festival at Arizona State University or to the eveningconcert 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 16thAve. and 17th Ave., Phoenix) take place Jan 15. The Finish LineFestival (free; Joe Selleh Track Stadium, ASU, Tempe, AZ) begins asrunners finish the race. For details on the evening concert (8p.m.; Tempe Beach Park, west of Mill Ave. and north of Rio SaladoPkwy., Tempe), races, and festival, visit www.rnraz.com or call800/311-1255.

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