PF Changs Rock 'n' Roll races draw 24K runners


by Ryan O'Donnell

Bio | Email | Follow: @3TVODonnell

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 19 at 5:40 PM

PHOENIX -- About 24,000 runners hit the streets in this year's P.F. Chang’s Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon.

Some hoped to meet personal goals while others were there for the experience.

For first-time marathon runner Cindy Leonard, it was about running an entire 26.2 miles despite having chronic thyroiditis.

"January is thyroid awareness month and I have Hashimoto, so it's been hard," she said. "It's for me."

Runner Hanna Cilli said she just wanted to check something off her bucket list.

"This is the perfect time and place to do it," she said. "See family and be out in the desert and run a marathon."

The event raised more than $335,000 for charity, and it is expected to bring about $35 million into the Valley with runners from all 50 states and 17 different countries.

“I came a long ways to be here,"  said Lindsey Johnson. "I came from New York City and I'm here, and I'm going to enjoy Arizona and hopefully complete 26.2 (miles) and not die."

The marathon runner with the best time was Solomon Kandie, who crossed the finish line at Tempe Beach Park after a mere 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Kandie thanked his family, sponsors, fans and the marathon organizers for the experience.

"I thought it was one of the best races here and I'm happy with the win," he said.