• He's been called the Pied Piper of the Second Running Boom. Once an overweight couch potato with a glut of bad habits, including smoking and drinking, at the age of 43 Bingham looked mid-life in the face—and started running.

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Viva Las Vegas

I’m a pretty boring guy. I don’t like parties. I’ve never gambled. I worked for years as a professional musician so I’m not all that interested in going to shows. What I’m saying is that all the things that Las Vegas is famous for are lost on me.

But I cannot WAIT to get there.

This is my last Rock ‘n’ Roll event for 2011. It’s not the last for everyone. Some of the staff will be heading to Miami next week, but not me. The year started in Arizona and wandered through New Orleans, Nashville, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Providence, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Savannah, and San Antonio. I think that’s all of them. It’s been a fantastic year. By my calculations I’ve seen nearly 250,000 runners and walkers start a marathon or half marathon this year and welcomed nearly that many to the finish line. I’ve seen young people, old people, thin people, NOT thin people, men and women of every possible description. And every one of them looked great.

It’s hard to describe the emotions of being at the start line and watching 30,000 people take off chasing a dream. We’ve had celebrities and politicians on the announcer’s stage with us and they are always shocked when the crowd goes by for what seems like HOURS. Well, it is an hour or so at some events, but no one seems to care.

This year we’ll start in the evening and be rocking well into the night. This has GOT to be wild. And, since I’m NOT a morning person it seems much more civilized to start at 4pm [for the marathon] and 5:30 [for the half] than it does to start at 7am. More than anything it will be different. I don’t know if anyone knows for sure how it’s going to work but we’re all convinced that it will.

Next year I’ll be at 15 or 16 Rock ‘n’ Roll events including the new ones in St. Petersburg, Washington, DC and Portland. I’ll  also be back at my anchor events in Nashville and Chicago.

I was at the very first Rock ‘n’ Roll event in San Diego in 1998. I was there a part of the Runner’s World Pacing Team. No one could have predicted that the concept of staging event for the REST of us would become so popular. But it has.

So make your plans now. Find a race near you or one as far away as you can. Find a bunch of friends and plan your own break away weekend. But whatever you do, make SURE to register for Las Vegas 2012. I promise you it will be a weekend that you’ll never forget.

Waddle on, friends.


An Accidental Athlete is available now. BUY THE BOOK

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Review An Accidental Athlete on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

What others are saying: Because of runners like John, the wall of intimidation has crumbled, and tens of thousands of Americans are now believing in themselves. John has helped raise self-esteem and self-confidence in people all over the world. Nothing is more important to a person’s well-being.Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director

John “the Penguin” Bingham, Competitor Magazine columnist
Author, The Courage to Start,No Need for Speed, Marathoning for Mortals and Running for Mortals.

Order your copy of John’s NEW book An Accidental Athlete today.

Have a question for John? Write him.


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