The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is the ‘World’s Largest Running Series’ with more than 500,000 people taking part in 30 global cities each year. From training tips and race recaps to travel ideas, the Tempo running blog rocks. Get the most out of your Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series races, and read on.
Debbie Lazaroff is about to join the ranks of Rock ‘n’ Roll royalty this weekend as she lines up for her 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event in Virginia Beach. But don’t be surprised if you see the 62-year-old hitting her 200th race in the not too distant future, because Lazaroff intends to still be “running, skiing and playing” until she’s 90 and beyond.
Her insatiable appetite for running is enough to inspire anyone; last year alone she completed 17 marathons, the fastest in 3:28. She has also run two half marathons in two countries in one day (Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas and Rock ‘n’ Roll Mexico City) as well as marathons in 50 states. And not content with having run marathons in 50 states, she is now returning to the 17 states where she clocked over four hours so she can claim all 50 states in sub-four.
“Running is a privilege to me,” she says. “I work hard at becoming as good as I can be at my age, hoping through actions not words I can inspire others.”
Of the 100 Rock ‘n’ Roll events she has raced, almost half have been completed in the last few years, even though her running career spans four decades. The reason? As her 60th birthday loomed large on the horizon, she took a long hard look in the mirror and realized if she wanted to live to 90 and enjoy the final third of her life she needed to make some changes. As a mother of four and grandmother of four, she wanted to ensure she could be an active role model for her grandchildren.
Lazaroff, who lives in Jackson, Michigan, with Steve, her husband of 40 years, says: “I decided right there to change things in my life I had control over, which included eating and drinking more healthily.” She began running after the birth of her first daughter, primarily to help her stay in shape for skiing, another sport she loves. “Some people think what I do is crazy,” she says. “I train fairly hard – I don’t overtrain, but do enough to not get injured.”
Lazaroff, who used to work in education, credits her high volume of racing to having a good reset button. And while her own family gives her plenty of motivation and inspiration, the camaraderie of her “running family” proves just as supportive. She is an active member of the Facebook running group Black Sheep Run, ticking off events all over the globe with these friends and having a blast while doing it.
She also recognizes the importance of setting goals and while many people her age might be considering winding down their running careers, she still has plenty left on the agenda. “There’s still a whole world of marathons to check out – and running 26.2 miles isn’t a bad way to see a city!”
Last year she decided to aim for Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Marathon Challenge Medal, awarded to anyone who completes three marathons in a calendar year, and she more than exceeded that requirement with her 17 events, all of which she finished in Boston qualifying time. This has enabled her to race as an elite masters runner this year and she is on track to make the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame for the fourth time.
“I am very thankful to Rock ‘n’ Roll for all of their support and for helping to show that aging runners can still race well.
“There will always be someone slower than me who calls me fast and someone faster than me whom I call fast. But we all have one commonality in the brotherhood of this running community that I love. We just run!”
With a background in Exercise Science, personal trainer and owner of On Your Mark Coaching & Training in Chicago, Emily Hutchins knows what it takes to help people reach their goals and become better, stronger, and faster.
We sat down with Hutchins to get her advice for runners racing in upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll marathons.
Q:What is the most rewarding part of your career as a trainer and running coach?
EH: It’s rewarding to see my client’s hard work turn into results, but most importantly, into lifelong healthy habits. Whether my clients are striving to lose those last couple of pounds or completing their 100th marathon, the most important thing to me is that they’re on track to a long life of great health.
Q: What are your tips for chasing your fitness goals?
EH: My philosophy is quite simple: train hard, but train smart. Your body is built on a foundation of four principles; function, endurance, athleticism, and recovery. With these four principals, you are building a lifetime of increased performance. I strive to create a place where people of all walks of life and abilities are able to achieve their goals through smart training and strong coaching.
Q:How do you recover after workouts and why is it key to your performance and success?
EH: Throughout my career as a trainer I’ve learned that recovery, proper nutrition, and taking care of my body is crucial. This is something I pass on to all of my clients. What you give your body post-workout is a crucial piece of smart training, and gives you the strength to get up and train strong day after day. After a tough workout, chocolate milk is my go-to recovery beverage because it provides the ideal ratio of carbs to protein you need after a tough workout.
Q: Any tips on how to best recover after a long run?
EH: Long distance runners lose a lot of sweat and nutrients, which makes recovery even more important to help build muscle and stay physically strong. The 30 minutes right after exercise is the most important time for recovery. Lowfat chocolate milk is a simple option post-race. With the right mix of carbohydrates and high-quality protein, along with electrolytes like sodium and potassium, it’s an effective way to replenish fluids and nutrients you lose when you’re sweating during a half or full marathon.
Q: What piece of advice would you give marathon runners on race day?
EH: Keep your goals and training in mind. You have trained long and hard for this, so when it comes down to those last few miles, remind yourself of the work you’ve put in. Remind yourself why you train and take care of your body – because with smart training, you can accomplish any goal you set out to do.
Anna Hackenberg stirred awake from a hospital bed after being in an induced coma for X days. A week earlier, she had been walking with friends on a San Diego beach, when rocks tumbled off a cliff, crushing her.
Hackenberg suffered punctured lungs, fractured ribs, a broken collarbone, and broken leg in the accident. She developed pneumonia. Worst of all, her spinal cord was severed at the T9 thoracic vertebrae, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
When she regained consciousness, Hackenberg—a doctor herself—was surrounded by her mother, father, sister, brother and her friend, Erin King.
“Am I ever going to walk again?” Hackenberg asked.
King – who is also a doctor – offered details of the freak accident, then delivered the sad news that no, she would never walk again.
After a brief pause, Hackenberg replied, “Well then, I will be a great swimmer.”
The accident occurred on April 13, 2017. Hackenberg, now 31, was hospitalized for three weeks, then spent two months living in a rehab facility. Since then, she has gone swimming, ridden a surfboard, downhill skied, practiced yoga, and hit golf balls.
At the time of her accident, Hackenberg was training for the 20th Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. A year later, when she was approached by Toyota and CAF about accepting the challenge of finishing what she started, she dove in.
CAF arranged for Hackenberg to train with Ricky James. At 16, James suffered a motocross accident that paralyzed him from the sternum down. Since then, he has completed 10 IRONMAN triathlons.
On June 3, 2018, inspired by her family and friends on hand, Hackenberg – pushing a hand-crank wheelchair – finished the 21st Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. Her finish in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 17 seconds drew more applause than both the men’s and women’s marathon winners.
Beaming as she crossed the finish line, Hackenberg, who had run six marathons prior to her accident, said, “It feels like everything’s going to be OK. That I’m still me.”
Of CAF’s support, Hackenberg said, “After my injury, I was torn away from a lot of my community, the part of being active. CAF was my new active community, my new active family. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Now in its 25th year, CAF’s goal is to assist people with physical challenges so that they can continue to be active. A medical colleague connected Hackenberg with CAF. It was through CAF that Hackenberg met Alana Nichols. At 17, Nichols suffered a snowboarding accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. With CAF’s support, Nichols, 35, became the first woman to win a Paralympic winter (snow skiing) and summer (basketball) gold medal. The two women bonded immediately.
“Alana is somebody I draw energy from,” said Hackenberg.
Hackenberg’s friend Lennart Wesselmann and his girlfriend were visiting from Germany and walking with Hackenberg when the accident occurred.
“Very often I think what I would have done if I’d been hit. Or my girlfriend,” Wesselmann told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I can’t imagine having so much power, so much positive thought, so much optimism.”
“I really admire her,” said Marion Hackenberg, Anna’s mother. “It’s amazing that she keeps on going, looking forward.”
Anna is the first to say that her comeback has been assisted immeasurably by family and friends. Her sister, Daphne, 24, moved to San Diego to live with Anna for 15 months during her recovery. Her brother, Ken, 27, who lives in Phoenix, spent weekends at his sister’s side.
“My whole family has put their lives on hold to make sure I could survive,” said Hackenberg.
On the one-year anniversary of her accident, Hackenberg threw a party with nearly 150 people attending, including friends from Germany, Virginia, and Florida.
“I did it to show my gratitude to all those who showed their love through my recovery, who made it possible to get my life back,” said Hackenberg.
Some 141 days after her accident, Hackenberg returned to work as an Urgent Care physician.The day after the marathon, she began a regular, 50-percent rotation.
“After experiencing a taste of the hardship that many of my patients go through,” said Hackenberg, “it’s a gift to still be on the physician’s side.”
Looking back, Hackenberg calls the events of April 13, 2017 “just a freak accident.” She doesn’t see herself as an inspiration. But anyone who has sat down with her, seen her smile and listened to her laughter walks away inspired and touched by her genuine joy for life.
“I’m just trying to do the best with what I have,” she said. “It’s the only thing to do, to keep living life as beautifully as possible.”
Hackenberg will be participating in CAF’s Million Dollar Challenge, riding from Los Angeles to San Diego the final two days of the October event. To donate to her fundraising, log onto teamanna.org.