Sunday was the start of what I hope is a great tradition in San Jose: the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. For a day, San Jose was a place you could find cool bands, and people cheering on local and foreign runners not only downtown, but through neighborhood streets. This is exactly the type of event we need here in San Jose—one lasting not just for a year or two, but strong enough to be sustained over the years until it becomes a staple in the culture of the city.
In Boston, for example, everyone knows what weekend the Boston Marathon falls on. And it’s not just for the runners; everyone in the city gets involved. Restaurants and bars are packed with people like me just looking to have a good time, turning an event for extremely fit people into an event that extremely unhealthy people can participate in too (from their stool in a bar or seat on the street). I hope the Rock and Roll Marathon becomes that for San Jose. However, can such events be forced, or do they have to happen organically and we have to accept that there is no way to know whether or not they will catch on and be embraced by the community?
I think the Rock and Roll Marathon has more of a chance to stick around than the Grand Prix because it isn’t marred with controversy. To be successful over time, it will take people going to it year after year, eventually bringing each new generation of their family to the event. I can’t see the Grand Prix being around long enough to do that, but something like the Rock and Roll Marathon has that potential. There isn’t anything controversial about it (yet) and it just seems it’s an event that everyone can enjoy.
Let’s hope that the people at City Hall keep their hands off of it—then it has a chance.