Spence Gracey Ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll in New Orleans
Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & ½
Marathon attracts more than 22,000 entrants
Orleans, LA – February 25, 2016 – Neely Spence
Gracey boasts the fastest half marathon time of the
professional women entered in Sunday’s Humana Rock
‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & Half Marathon.
Spence Gracey, 25, set her personal record of 1 hour, 9
minutes, 59 seconds while winning the Rock ‘n’ Roll
Philadelphia Half Marathon on Oct. 31.At the time she
was focused on making her marathon debut at the U.S.
Olympic Team Trials on Feb. 14, but she suffered a foot
injury and on Jan. 1 made the difficult decision to pass
on the Trials.
was definitely frustrating for me when things didn’t
work out as planned,” said Spence Gracey, one of just
10 American women who have broken 1:10 for the
half-marathon. “I like to be in control of everything.
But that’s part of the sport. Running injuries are
part of the career I chose.”
she has decided to make her 26.2-mile debut at the
Boston Marathon on April 18. The Humana Rock ‘n’
Roll New Orleans Half Marathon will be a bit of a test
ride for Spence Gracey.
is my first opportunity to get in a hard, marathon-pace
effort,” she said.
Gracey, you could say, was born to be a distance runner.
The day she was born, April 16, 1990, her father, Steve
Spence, ran the Boston Marathon. Steve won the 1992
U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, then finished 12th at the
Barcelona Games in 2:15:21.
in Shippensburg, Pa., Spence Gracey watched the high
school Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships
on TV in the eighth grade and decided to follow in her
father’s footsteps. She later finished eighth and
fourth at Foot Locker, and headed to Shippensburg
University, where she was coached by her father and
became an eight-time NCAA Division II National Champion.
Orleans’ history for record road performances combined
with its flat course makes it an ideal spring running
destination. In addition to Spence Gracey, the women’s
field includes Canada’s Dayna Pidhoresky, who
owns a 1:11:45 personal best, and Sanna Mustonen
of Sweden, a track runner who will be making her
half-marathon debut on the roads. The men's
half-marathon field will be led by Emil Dobrowolski
and Jakub Nowak of Poland, who finished 1-2 at
the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon last
men’s event record is 1:00:59, set by Britain’s
double Olympic champion Mo Farah in 2013, while
the women’s mark is 1:07:36 set by New Zealand’s Kim
Smith in 2011. The races begin at 7:30 am in
downtown New Orleans on Poydras Street. With a fast
course that starts below sea level, the route traverses
beautiful St. Charles Avenue, running out and back
before touring the historic French Quarter, Esplanade
Avenue and iconic City Park.
races will once again finish on Roosevelt Mall behind
the New Orleans Museum of Art, where local favorite Preservation
Hall Jazz Band will be rocking the Toyota Rock
‘n’ Roll Concert Series followed by Virginia-based
group, J. Roddy Walston & the Business.
In addition to the two headliners, local bands and live
musicians will be stationed along the course to
entertain runners as they make their way to the finish
year’s headliners are going to give us a great mix of
authentic New Orleans jazz and soulful rock ‘n’
roll,” said Keli Kadota, entertainment manager,
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “Preservation
Hall Jazz Band has been established in New Orleans for a
long time and has a rich history here, and we also have
J. Roddy Walston & The Business who are sure to
amplify the celebration with their performance.”
more information on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
Series, visit RunRocknRoll.com
or follow @RunRocknRoll
Line (Credit Ryan Bethke)
Spence Gracey (Credit PhotoRun.net)
Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & ½ Marathon
7th annual Humana Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon
& Half-Marathon will take place the weekend of
February 26-28, 2016. Runner’s World named the event
one of the “Top 10 Most Fun Marathons” in 2016
featuring races with the biggest parties. Participants
get a first class tour of New Orleans architecture and
historical scenery while rocking to the sounds of live,
local bands playing every mile of the 26.2, 13.1-mile,
and 10 kilometer courses. Cheer teams will be posted
along the course to keep runners moving. The event
concludes with a headliner concert and finish line
festival in City Park where runners can celebrate their
accomplishments with unlimited post run beer. A two-day
Health & Fitness Expo kicks off race weekend at the
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. To
register for the race or for more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com.