Last weekend was the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon weekend. This is a night race that gives you the unique opportunity to run down the Las Vegas strip. The race takes place in mid November each year which usually means perfect running weather.
Two years ago, I headed to Vegas to run the 5K and Half Marathon. This was definitely one of my favorite half marathons that I have run.
The mass shooting in Las Vegas happened a little more than a month before the race. More security measures were put in place and the course start line was moved. They did a really good job of honoring the victims with plenty of Vegas strong signs along the course and they also sold Vegas Strong t-shirts where the proceeds went to help the victims and their families. It’s beautiful to see the running community come together in times of need.
The 5K was on Saturday evening and started at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on the northern end of the strip. It was a very fun race although my old eyes did think it was a little too dark. The course wasn’t anything specials, just running on some streets around the festival grounds, but of course there was the usual entertainment that you see at Rock n Roll races.
Night races are always a little difficult to figure out your eating schedule. The Half Marathon started at 4:30pm, so the race was during most people’s dinner time. It’s even hard to carb load at lunch with a 4:30pm race start. I ended up having an early lunch but think maybe a big brunch might have been a better idea.
Normally when you run a morning race, you are getting to the start line while it’s still dark and the sun starts to come up as the races starts or during the beginning of the race. For this race, I was walking to the start line in full daylight and the sun was setting just as the race started.
This is a really big race so there were multiple wave starts. Being a slow runner, this worked to my advantage. I had plenty of time to watch the official start of the race and get back to my corral with plenty of time to spare. It’s an exciting experience to watch the start, I definitely recommend it if you get the chance.
Probably almost an hour after the official start of the race, it was time for my corral to start. We started just in front of the New York, New York hotel and casino and headed south down the strip. We then turned around a little after passing the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and headed north up the strip. It’s anything but boring running up the strip, I had so much fun and it definitely helps give you the motivation to run faster.
The race takes you up the strip, past all the casinos and wedding chapels and then into Downtown Vegas and Freemont Street. I do not remember any point in this race where there wasn’t entertainment or something fun to look at. The race then goes back down the strip and finishes on the strip in front of the Mirage hotel. It’s definitely a big race with a lot of people. If you are meeting someone after the race, I definitely recommend having a meetup point as it’s pretty difficult to find people.
If you are looking for a fun race full of entertainment, I definitely recommend this race, it would make a great race for someone that wants to run their first half marathon.
Here are a few pictures from the course. Next week’s blog I will talk about the fun things to see and do while in Las Vegas, it’s definitely quite the destination!