Pearl Jam guitarist runs Las Vegas half-marathon for worthy cause

Mike McCready knows how to run his fingers up and down a guitar.

Running anywhere with his legs? Well, that's a different story.

"I don't know if you could call me a natural-born runner," joked McCready, a founding member and guitarist for the rock band Pearl Jam.

But Sunday night, at the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon, he played a little guitar and did a lot of running. McCready kicked off the half-marathon with a rousing rendition of the national anthem -- a la Jimi Hendrix -- then took to the Strip and ran 13.1 miles with 38,000 other participants.

"I'm stoked to be part of it," McCready said before putting his twist on the Star Spangled Banner. "I want to run this to the best of my ability, and stay warm."

Indeed, it was a bit chilly for the first evening rendition of the Rock 'n' Roll event, but that hardly bothered McCready. The race benefits the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and McCready has Crohn's disease, which generally affects the intestines.

McCready has been a supporter of the foundation for the past 10 years, and running has been one outlet in which he can support the cause.

So does he enjoy the grind of a 13.1-mile run?

"I don't know if 'enjoy' is the best word," the Grammy winner said with a laugh. "But it's for a good cause."

The event, run by San Diego-based Competitor Group, has raised more than $4 million for CCF in just three years.

McCready finished in a respectable 2 hours, 11 minutes, 52 seconds.

■ HAPPY RUNNERS, HEALTHY RUNNERS -- Injuries and health issues were few and far between by 8 p.m. Sunday, four hours after the marathon start and 2½ hours into the half-marathon. That came as a pleasant surprise to race medical director Dr. Lewis Maharam.

"With the cold weather and being at night, I've never seen an event with so few medical issues," said Maharam, who oversees Rock 'n' Roll events and the New York City Marathon, among other races.

Maharam credited the event's atmosphere, saying the majority of runners were really trying to enjoy themselves by soaking in the lights of the Strip.

"They're running within themselves and having a great time. It's been absolutely fantastic," he said.

■ NOTABLE LOCALS -- Cal Thoman was the top Clark County finisher in the marathon, taking 14th overall in 2:45:26. Steve Harris (22nd) finished in 2:48:54 and Nick Meis (24th) in 2:50:21.

Amanda Gramly was the top Clark County woman, taking ninth in 3:16:31, followed by Pamela Bowe (14th, 3:19:07) and Julie Bertoia (16th, 3:20:35).

In the half-marathon, Andrew Duncan led local males in 1:11:00 (42nd), and Angela Spain was the top local woman in 1:25:08 (36th).

■ WHEELY BIG DEAL -- The half-marathon included a wheelchair division, won by Scott Parsons of San Jose, Calif., in 50:30. Right behind Parsons was Jordan Bird of Tucson, Ariz., in 50:34.

Sandi Rush of Fallbrook, Calif., won the women's wheelchair title in 1:13:23, and Susan Katz of Colorado Springs, Colo., was second in 1:18:59.

■ FULL RESULTS -- For complete results of the marathon and half-marathon, including all age-division results, go to

Contact reporter Patrick Everson at or 702-383-0353.