2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll running series draws over 18,000 people to downtown San Antonio

This year’s theme was “Fiesta in December”

SAN ANTONIO – On your mark, get set, go! The Rock ‘n’ Roll running series was back in action in San Antonio this weekend after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the theme was “Fiesta in December.”

A weekend of running, rocking and rolling filled the streets all weekend long. The full-marathon winners are San Antonian Colin Marz for the men and Ildi Gaal from North Carolina for the women.

Each runner had a reason for their race on Sunday, which especially holds true for runner Neil Bendesky.

“I have never run an event like this before. I mean I couldn’t even go around the block in 2015, so now, six years later, I’ve gotten better. I’ve overcome that heart attack -- I’ve done 14 half marathons,” said Bendesky.

Three Mexican runners finished at the top of the half marathon.

“I feel very happy to be here in San Antonio. Very hilly course, but this is a test for us in preparation for the Houston Marathon in like six weeks,” said J.A.E. Perez.

Runner Alex Danels finished first in Saturday’s 5k. He says taking the victory is a blessing after he suffered a collapsed lung just last year.

“I had to spend about three weeks in the hospital and it was then I decided I’m going to come back home to shut it down for a little bit, try to recover, and out of nowhere running seemed to come back to me. I gradually got back in shape and here I am winning the Rock and Roll 5k,” said Danels.

The event saw over 18,000 runners this weekend and many in attendance say the series brought back a sense of normalcy to the community.

More on KSAT:

Scenes and winners from the 2021 San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, half-marathon


About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT's Good Morning San Antonio. Jonathan speaks English and Spanish and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Previously, he worked in South Texas.