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The San Francisco Marathon(TM) Attracts Local and Worldwide Participation

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Date: 
07/28/2008 - 03:31

July 28, 2008 from Running USA wire (SAN FRANCISCO CA) When over 19,000 entrants line up for The San Francisco Marathon(TM) and its companion two half-marathons and 5K Run / Walk on Sunday, August 3, San Francisco attorney Tony Rossmann won't be among them. The 67-year-old, long-time Bay Area runner from Oakland has already run his 26.2-mile marathon race over the event's scenic route. In fact, motivated by special "solo runner" status provided by the marathon's organizers, Rossmann completed his annual San Francisco Marathon run a month ago for the 30th time, keeping his unique, annual streak alive.

Neither will four members of the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan line up at the marathon's starting line on race day. Although they'd like to join runners from all 50 states and 56 countries in San Francisco, the soldiers have jobs fighting Taliban insurgents along the Pakistan border. Instead, led by Loren Weeks (Sunnyvale, Calif.), a Lieutenant Colonel in the California Army National Guard, they will run The San Francisco Marathon "remotely" by covering 26.2 miles on a half-mile loop around a cricket field at Forward Operating Base Fiaz in Asadabad, Afghanistan two days before the San Francisco event.

For the past several years, Rossmann has faced the prospect of ending his annual engagement with the race. Either that, or cancel his equally traditional mid-summer family trek to a camp in the Adirondack Mountains. So, the race granted Rossmann a "bye," allowing him to complete the run before race day while recording an official finishing time. The tenacious runner has more than earned the privilege as a race participant.

Rossmann completed his first marathon on his long running resume, which now includes more than 300 marathon and ultra-marathon finishes, at the inaugural marathon in San Francisco in 1977. In total, Rossmann has completed 30 San Francisco Marathons, and has only missed one since the race's inception.

His streak includes solo runs in 2007 and 2008, which he navigated without the bolstering support of fellow runners, aid stations, volunteers or traffic control.

"The race is very special to me. Every year, I run wearing my original race T-shirt from 1977," said Rossmann, who completed this year's solo jaunt in 4 hours, 57 minutes and 30 seconds. "There were 800 of us (runners) the first year. Now, it's really inspiring to see that The San Francisco Marathon has grown into its potential with a beautiful course that showcases the city. It matches any marathon in the country in terms of what they provide to their runners."

This year's expected 19,000-plus entrants (which includes the companion half-marathons and 5K Run / Walk) reflects a 20 percent increase from last year.

This year's expected 19,000-plus entrants (which includes the companion half-marathons and 5K Run / Walk) reflects a 20 percent increase from last year.

In fact, word about the event is spreading in unexpected places.

Lieutenant Colonel Weeks, 43, has had the San Francisco Marathon in his plans since he began competing in marathons last year while he was stationed in California. But his military schedule didn't allow him the opportunity. Now, he has it in Afghanistan.

Weeks registered for the San Francisco Marathon, contacted the race organizers, and arranged to run the race "remotely." He put the word out to other U.S. military posts in Afghanistan about his planned run, and invited companion participants. Two U.S. Army soldiers took up the offer: Robert Cortes (Miami, FL) and Alexander Tabayoyon (West Richland, WA). So did U.S. Navy man John Rousseau (Grayslake, IL).

For more race information, go to: www.runsfm.com.