Thousands run in Savannah's 7th Rock 'n' Roll marathon

Thousands run in Savannah's 7th Rock 'n' Roll marathon

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Thousands of runners hit the pavement in downtown Savannah for the 7th Rock 'n' Roll marathon Saturday morning.

People from all 50 states and 15 countries packed the streets for the race, and some runners tasted victory for the first time.

"I've never broken the tape at a big race before, and it was sort of a dream come true," said Laura Roberts, the winner of the woman's marathon.

While it wasn't Roberts first 26.2-mile race, this one has special meaning.

"This is my seventh marathon, but, actually, my very first marathon was this same marathon back in 2011," Roberts said

Roberts said coming full circle is overwhelming.

"It really is thrilling," she said. "When I was here in 2011, my second child was only about 1-year-old, and I never imagined I would be back here and in a position to win this race. It's amazing to me, and I'm thrilled."

She's not the only runner familiar with this course. All of the winners in both the marathon and half-marathon have run this race before. It's the atmosphere and the people that keep bringing them back.

"Oh it's fantastic," said Elle Ellender, who won the women's half-marathon race. "You couldn't ask for a better race."

"I mean, there really isn't a race like it where you get to run through a historic district like this," said Andris Goncarovs, the men's half-marathon winner. "Just a lot of fun. The crowds are big. You don't  get this atmosphere anyplace else."

"I had some moments where I went a little too fast because the spectators are so great, bands are great," says Ben Brown, the winner of the men's marathon. "They really, really do help."

The results of finishing times are listed as follows:

Men's Marathon:

Ben Brown, 36, Savannah, GA, 2:39:11, $500

Niclas Bez, 24, DE, 2:43:33

Kevin Lewis, 29, Golden, CO, 2:44:11

Women's Marathon:

Laura Roberts, 41, Saint Simons Island, GA, 3:05:35, $500

Lisa Steffes, 46, Hazelton, PA, 3:12:14

Eva Bach, 33, Jamestown, NC, 3:20:29

Men's Half-Marathon:

Andris Goncarvos, 25, Greensboro, NC, 1:10:18, $250

Matthew Blunden, 37, Destin, FL, 1:13:26

Jay Upchurch, 39, Charleston, SC, 1:19:57

Women's Half-Marathon:

Elle Ellender, 34, Hilton Head, SC, 1:23:21, $250

Holly Ballenger, 32, Tucker, GA, 1:26:39

Emily Palazzo, 34, Hilton Head, SC, 1:27:16

The Rock 'n' Roll marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017. Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach said Rock'n'Roll Savannah is a great event for both locals and tourists.

"15,000-16,000, plus their families, coming [to] enjoy the weekend and have a great time and spend money here in Savannah," he said. "We're the hostess city of the south, and they love coming here, and we love to have them."

DeLoach held the tape at the finish line for the marathon winners.

Fitz and the Tantrums headlined the Rock'n'Roll concert in Forsyth Park after the race. Drummer John Wicks ran the half-marathon before performing.

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