If Sid Vaughn and Alice Wright want to know what it takes to win the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon, they don't have to look too far for answers.
Their NAZ Elite teammate Scott Smith won it in 2016. He set his PR of 1:02:34 in the distance at the event that year, but hasn't returned since.
NAZ Elite has been back, but the two runners it sent in 2018 are no longer with the team. This time around Vaughn and Wright, both first-year members on the team, will join Smith in Sunday's race.
All three are trending upward heading into the race in their own way.
Smith showed he's getting back to full strength after coming back from an injury with a second-place showing at the USATF 25k Championships on Saturday, May 11, crossing the finish line in 1:15:05. For the runner-up spot, he edged out Kiya Dandena, who joined NAZ Elite in January but left after only a few months with the team.
It's the season finale for Smith, and he's getting married next week. For head coach Ben Rosario, Smith's got "nothing to lose."
"He'll probably go for broke, and I think a personal best is a real possibility," Rosario said Wednesday.
There's a real possibility that Vaughn will have the finish he and his team have been expecting him to produce since joining the roster.
The big race he had lined up, the national half marathon championship, ended up a bust as illness forced him to sit it out.
"So he's got something to prove for sure," Rosario said. Vaughn has had success at the distance in his recent past, however, winning the 2018 edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon in 1:03:35 before joining NAZ Elite. It didn't take him long to improve in the half marathon once he came aboard. He set a PR at 1:03:30 in his second race for NAZ Elite, the United Airlines New York City half.
San Diego will be Vaughn's second half marathon with NAZ Elite, while Wright is on her third with the team.
Rosario said she's now prepared for the challenges a half marathon holds.
Wright seems to have been building for this outing. She set her PR of 1:13:17 for a 19th-place finish at the Houston Half Marathon in January. Then at the NYC half, she took 14th in 1:14:25.
It's what came after NYC that's really standing out. And NAZ Elite is not shy when it comes to racing hard in the half.
So far in 2019, NAZ Elite has won three half marathons. In February, Scott Fauble and Aliphine Tuliamuk both won the Gasparilla Half Marathon, and earlier this month, Stephanie Bruce won the USATF Half Marathon Championships with a PR time of 1:10:44. (05/30/2019) ⚡AMPby Sarah Cotton
ROCK the streets where it all began. The Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon & 1/2 Marathon returns for its 23rd year in 2020. Run through historic neighborhoods including Balboa Park and Old Town. The Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay are packed with live entertainment on course that will keep you rockin’ all the way to the finish line.
10-year-old Arielle Avina (Murrieta, Cali.) shocked the finish line crowd today (Sunday June 3) as she won the female division at the Synchrony Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego 5K presented by Brooks. With this year’s Boston Marathon Champion, Desiree Linden on hand to support and inspire runners, Avina found an extra gear past other competitors finishing the race in a time of 19:20 as she became the youngest female to ever win a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series 5K event. Baxter Arguinchona from Cardiff, California took home the men’s 5K race with a time of 16:59. (06/05/2018) ⚡AMP
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar of Ethiopia won the women's Synchrony Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday while Titus Ekiru of Kenya upset Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia in the men's race. The elite runners in the half and full marathon had finished long before the race was halted for about 10 minutes and rerouted after a police officer accidentally shot himself in the leg while pursuing a hit-and-run suspect who pointed a weapon at police and was eventually arrested on the roof of a parking structure near the finish line in downtown. Defar, a two-time Olympic champion in the 5,000 meters, finished in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 26 seconds, well ahead of Jane Kibii of Kenya, who clocked 1:12:00. Kaitlyn James of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was third in 1:13:54. Ekiru won the men's race in 1:01:02, 16 seconds ahead of Lilesa, who won the silver medal in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. Josphat Kipchirchir of Kenya was third in 1:02:21. (06/04/2018) ⚡AMP
Meseret Defar donated her 2004 Olympic 5,000-meter gold medal to a church museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She was 20 years old when that one was draped around her neck in Athens. Eight years later at the London Games, Defar became the only woman to win two gold medals in the 5,000. That medal is on display in the hallway of her Addis Ababa home. Since 2016, when knee pain prevented her from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Games — “That was the most difficult time for me.” — Defar has focused on marathon training. It has been a difficult transition for one of Ethiopia’s most revered runners. Because of recurring knee injuries, she still has not debuted at 26.2 miles. Come Sunday, when nearly 20,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes take to the streets for the 21st Synchrony Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & Half Marathon, Defar will be among them. She’s running the half. If her body cooperates, she hopes to make her marathon debut come fall, likely in Chicago, New York or Berlin.
Anna Hackenberg suffered punctured lungs, fractured ribs, a broken collarbone and broken leg. She developed pneumonia in the hospital. Her spinal cord was severed, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. Lying in the hospital bed, Hackenberg couldn’t feel her legs when she awoke. She was surrounded by her mother, father, brother and sister. But they didn’t want to deliver the devastating news. A doctor friend, Erin King, was also in the room. “Am I ever going to walk again?” Hackenberg asked King. King summarized the freak accident, then said, “No, you’ll never walk again.” “Well then,” Hackenberg said, “I will be a great swimmer.” Hackenberg, 31, was training for the Synchrony Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon when the accident occurred on April 13, 2017. Since then, she has swum, tried surfing, snow skied, practiced yoga, and hit golf balls. On Sunday, her arms cranking a hand-cycle wheelchair, Hackenberg will attend to unfinished business, racing in the 21st Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. At first, she planned to tackle the event’s half marathon. Asked why she would double the challenge, Hackenberg, sitting in her Little Italy apartment, her 13-pound rescue dog Max perched on her lap, smiled and said, “Why not?” (06/01/2018) ⚡AMP