Running California-style came to the UK today with the launch of the Rock 'n' Roll Edinburgh half marathon. The event replaces the ADT Edinburgh half marathon that currently takes place in the Scottish capital in April. Highlighting the Rock 'n' Roll series' fusion of music and running to create a high-energy event, the launch starred the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
Scott Dickey, president of the Competitor group told a large audience at the brunch launch that he hoped to double the numbers taking part in the event on April 15, 2012 to 8,000/10,000 and to have that level of entry as a basis for greater numbers in future years. He sketched the development of the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series across the United Stated from the initial event in San Diego to a 25 location programme that involves 450,000 participants each year.
Dickey went on to outline the Competitors group's plans for expansion in Europe - they have already reached a deal to bring the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series to Madrid - and in particular to the UK. He noted the potential of Rock 'n' Roll Edinburgh half marathon to attract greater numbers of visitors to the city for the event, and the positive economic impact they would have. He also said that Rock 'n' Roll events in the United States attracted 60% female participation and women would be a major target of an ambitious marketing effort.
Councillor Steve Cardownie backed the new event and promised that council officials would work closely with event organisers to ensure a smoothly-run race and to maximise benefits to the city. He underlined his personal enthusiasm for the Rock 'n' Roll Edinburgh half marathon by signing up for the April 15 event.
Mike James of GB Events, the previous owners, will continue in the role of race director and he told our correspondent: "I'm proud of how the Edinburgh half marathon has developed in recent years. Now with the support of what is probably the world's largest running event provider, I'm certain that this event can go to a new level."