Music City welcomes 30,000 runners for St. Jude Rock ‘n Roll marathon

Last updated on January 17th, 2020 at 06:12 am

Roosevelt Cook, Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon winner. (photo: Donald Miralle, Getty Image)

Approximately 30,000 registered runners from age 12 to 86 took to the streets of Music last Saturday to participate in the 19th running of the St. Jude Rock ‘n Roll Nashville Marathon & ½ Marathon. With a renewed focus on the core pillars of ‘Bringing Fun to the Run’ with great music in a community environment, runners of all athletic levels enjoyed the sights and sounds of Nashville.

The best-in-class running event kicked off on Thursday evening with a one mile race at Nissan Stadium along Cumberland Park that included entertainment from the all-female group Kitty Hawk and Top 4 finalist from American Idol, Jessica Meuse. The main event took place on Saturday, with runners from all 50 states and 37 countries taking off on a tour of Nashville. While this year saw some course alterations, the race still started on Broadway taking runners past the honky-tonks of downtown Nashville. Runners passed numerous landmarks including Music Row, Belmont University and the Bicentennial Mall. The course lead participants past the Schermerhorn Symphony, Music City Center and the Musical Roundabout before finishing outside of Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans.

In the marathon, Scott Wietecha (Hendersonville, Tenn.) broke the tape as the overall champion for the sixth straight year in a row finishing in 2:28:19. Madut Garang (Lebanon, Tenn.) finished in second with a time of 2:29:54 as Kevin Fink (Tipp City, Ohio) rounded out the podium in third finishing in 2:39:03. Stella Christoforou (Campbell, Ky.) was the women’s marathon champion with a final time of 2:53:47. Heather Crowe (Palatine, Ill.) took the second-place spot in 3:07:48 and Cristina Noble (Brighton, Mich.) finish third in 3:08:22. Marathon finishers were treated to a brand new red-carpet finish and recovery zone that included massages and catered food.

In the half marathon, Roosevelt Cook (Hesperia, Calif.) won the race with his first-place effort clocking a time of 1:09:27. Lucas Cotter (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) was second with a time of 1:09:55. Nick French (Nashville, Tenn.) followed in third place finishing in 1:10:40. Gisela Olalde (Nashville, Tenn.) was the women’s champion with a final time of 1:19:50 with Lauren Hixon (Westminster Colo.) next behind her at 1:22:20. Amy Robillard (Montgomery, Ohio) rounded out the podium in 1:22:38.

Elite runners and fast times aside, Saturday’s races were all about the party atmosphere. Some of Nashville’s best live bands performed on improved band stages along the route, interspersed with cheerleaders and themed water stations. Participants moved along to more music than ever with all new mile-markers that included speakers and race pacers who ran with mobile speaker packs. Ryan Weaver and Jessica Meuse treated runners to the national anthem while Jillian Cardarelli entertained the crowd at the finish line festival. Later tonight, runners and spectators will be able to celebrate at the Toyota Rock ‘n Roll Concert Series at Ascend Amphitheater headlined by five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes with Erin Kinsey as the opener. The weekend concluded on Saturday with the one-mile KiDS ROCK at Nissan Stadium.

Advance Financial Marathon Support


The Advance Financial team hosted a volunteer event for participants and spectators at its 800 Jefferson Street store during the 2018 St. Jude Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Pictured are friends of Advance Financial cheering on the runners and a few team members keeping it cool while handing out hundreds of orange slices to those in the race.