It’s become an annual event in Seattle since…what, 2009?, and if you are a runner you might want to stop reading now.
While all of us at KZOK love rock and roll, some of us would not put one thin dime in this jukebox, baby.
Our first complaint: It’s a marathon. A marathon is called a marathon in honor of ancient Greek soldier Pheidippides, who according to legend ran non-stop the 26 miles and 385 yards from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. to deliver the message that the Athenian Greeks had miraculously won their battle with the invading Persians. On announcing the words “Joy to you, we have won!”, he dropped dead. Why anyone would want to reenact this is beyond us, but many people who enjoy running see it as the ultimate challenge and put running a marathon on their “bucket list”….and will gladly pony up well over $100 for the privilege. The Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon, not surprisingly rakes in massive piles of cash for promoters Competitor Group, Inc., who run rock and roll marathons in 24 major U.S. cities, and a few more internationally. They do give some to charities like the American Cancer Society, but we’re going to guess some of the people who work on it are very well paid indeed…good for them, we suppose, but people who have no connection to this event have to pay a price as well, which brings us to…
Our second complaint: Seattle traffic is a total cluster-#%&* already, why do they need to close so many streets? The Alaska Way Viaduct will be closed most of the day Saturday. West Seattle residents in particular are sharpening pitchforks and lighting torches over the tear down already. Former Mayor Greg Nickels once called it “The Big Ugly”, but runners love the view, and get to have it shut down to vehicular traffic for their pleasure a couple of times a year, making North-South travel through the city nearly impossible. Getting to the radio station for a weekend airshift means we have to load up on extra smokes and beer, as what is normally a 10 minute drive from West Seattle will take upwards of two hours. Couldn’t they just run around a track somewhere?
And our last complaint: They exploit musicians. There’s a stage about every mile along the course, each stocked with a local rock band dreaming of a career in music. The Rock and Roll Marathon does pay a pittance to some of the performers, but preference is given to bands that will play for free, hoping for exposure and attention. They get little. It is very difficult to find a list of the bands playing on the marathon’s website, let alone links to their websites or any of their music…and why would any band want to play in front of an audience that is running away from them?
Seattle’s Rock and Roll Marathon runs Saturday, June 23rd from 7:00 AM until the last Pheidippides wanna-be expires at the finish line in the afternoon.