WRAL Staffers Rock the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Sloane Heffernan, Mark Simpson & Zac Gooch

WRAL-TV’s Sloane Heffernan and Zac Gooch wish best of luck to WRAL photojournalist Mark Simpson and his sister as they get ready to run the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.

WRAL-TV proudly sponsored the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Raleigh for the second year in a row.  The full and half marathon hit the roads through and around downtown on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

WRAL-TV proudly sponsored the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Raleigh for the second year in a row.  The full and half marathon hit the roads through and around downtown on Sunday, April 12, 2015.  CBC’ers participated in a variety of ways in this rockin’ good time event.

Running the Race
As a large team of WRAL staffers worked to cover the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on both television and the web, several station employees laced up their running shoes and actually participated in the half marathon.  Some were repeat rock ‘n’ rollers.

“I also took part last year,” said WRAL-TV Assistant News Director Aysu Basaran.  “I thought the race was so much fun the second time around. I knew what to expect, hills and all, and just had a blast!”

Miriam Melvin & Aysu Basaran

WRAL-TV’s Miriam Melvin (left) & Aysu Basaran after running the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

“The race was great!” said WRAL-TV News Producer Miriam Melvin.  “I think it was better than last year because the weather was a bit cooler which was ideal.

Melvin was proud to have improved her time from last year.  She ran alongside one of her Black Girls Run (BGR) “Raleigh Sole Sisters” Sheri Moss.  They crossed the line at the 2:17 mark.

“I wanted 2:15 but it was Sheri’s first half marathon and crossing with her was more important,” said Melvin.  With that she set a great example for the BGR organization which “promotes healthy activity (running and walking) among African American women and is open to ALL races.”

WRAL-TV Assignment Editor Kelly Riner also retuned for a second time.

“We had a lot of fun this year,” said Riner.  “Last year’s Rock n Roll was my first half marathon. This one was my third! It was great knowing what to expect and what worked best for training.”

Several WRAL staffers joined Basaran and Riner on the half-marathon course.

“The course is a tough one because of all the hills, but I seeing all of the sights along the way,” she continued.  “I also love sharing the experience with my friends. We had a great time gearing up for the race together and cheering each other on.”

Riner also shared a tidbit about one of her newest co-workers.

Thomas Bradley

New WRAL-TV staffer Thomas Bradley celebrates his Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon run.

“Thomas Bradley, our brand new photog, decided he wanted to do the race,” she explained.  “He’d never run a half marathon before. He literally started like a month ago here at the station. He told Aysu a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to run. She got him signed up. He started training. And he was SO excited. He ran faster than anyone else on team WRAL. He finished in like 1:48.”

A true photographer at heart, Bradley attached a Go Pro to himself for the race and posted in on YouTube.

“The ending is priceless,” said Riner.  “As you can tell, he was super pumped!!”

Bike Meets Video
Speaking of video, WRAL-TV Creative Services Director Shelly Leslie once again rode her bike to lead the race this year but with an added dimension.

Shelly Leslie

WRAL-TV Shelly Leslie shoots video for WRAL while cycling with Grab My Wheel to lead the runners in the 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

“I had a little different role this year as one part lead cyclist with the Grab My Wheel organization and on-course videographer via bike for WRAL!” said Leslie.  “It was a total blast.”

She shot video with her iPhone while riding and then stopped at various spots along the course to produce it through an app called Videolicious.

“The app quickly edits clips together and inserts our logo,” Leslie explained.  “A quick upload gets the content to the station for use on web and social media.”

“It was a great way to get video online quickly while the race was underway,” said Leslie.  “And it combined two things I love, biking and videography, so I had so much fun doing it.”

Bringing Rock ‘n’ Roll to Viewers
A team of WRAL-TV crew members ran cameras, set up equipment and facilitated live shots on site at the start and finish lines.

“I really enjoyed covering the event,” said WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Sloane Heffernan.  “I could’ve spent the entire day watching the runners cross the finish line. It was so interesting to see the different expressions on their faces and how they crossed the finish line. Some sprinted, some dance, and some looked completely relieved to reach the end.”

Sloane Heffernan

WRAL-TV’s Sloane Heffernan says, “It certainly felt like I ran a marathon after this mornings coverage!”

Heffernan also got a kick out of watching her half marathon running co-workers succeed.

“One of my favorite moments was watching our new photographer Thomas Bradley cross the finish line after completing his first half marathon,” she said.  “He had the best expression taking a go pro shot of himself as he crossed the finish under 2 hours. I also loved talking to Miriam Melvin after the race. She was so excited with her awesome accomplishment. She clearly has been bitten by the running bug!”

WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporters Leyla Santiago and Bryan Mims held down the news desk at the station during the Sunday morning newscast and then went outside to see the action for themselves.  WRAL-TV manned a water station at Mile 13 for the full marathoners, which just happened to be right outside the station.

WRAL-TV Relief on the Course
WRAL-TV Promotion and Event Coordinator Debbie Tullos more than fulfilled her job title by coordinating WRAL-TV’s water stop, a new way for the station to participate this year.  The full marathon route change this year meant that runners ran right by the headquarters for the Big 5.

WRAL water stop

WRAL-TV staffers await Rock ‘n’ Roll full Marathon runners at the water stop near the WRAL studios.

WRAL had more than 30 volunteers handing out water, GU and Gatorade at our water stop. Tullos and former WRAL.com editor Kelly Gardner co-captained the stop. A number of CBC employees and folks from the community comprised the volunteer group at the stop.

About 1,500 runners participating in the full marathon ran past WRAL. They were greeted on Nazareth Street by a live band and epic signage letting them know they had passed the halfway mark.

WRAL personalities volunteered at the site including 5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte, NC Capitol reporter Mark Binker and Anchor/Reporter Ken Smith. Santiago and Mims later joined the group, high-fiving runners as they passed.

“My goal when we started planning this was to make sure runners felt like they were running through the WRAL section of the course, not just another water stop,” said Tullos.  “I wanted them to mention WRAL when telling friends and family about memorable parts of the race. I think we accomplished that with the great signage created by Bill Burch and the enthusiastic volunteers who cheered and supported the runners.”

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Renee Chou, Jay Yovanovich, Shelly Leslie, Debbie Tullos, Shan Zhong, Jim Rothschild, Sloane Heffernan, Kelly Riner & Miriam Melvin for these capcom photos.

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