Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap
A couple of weeks ago I had to travel to beautiful (ahem) Las Vegas for a big work conference. While the work part of the trip was well, work, we managed to have some fun, too. When we got there on Friday night, a group of my coworkers and I went and saw the Cirque du Soleil show, LOVE. If you like the Beatles, or even if you don’t, I would highly suggest this show. The performers are all amazing and the experience is one you won’t forget. We sat in the front row and had some of the performers in our faces. Literally. While I liked being that close, I think I would opt to sit in a section back further if I were to see it again. That would allow you to take in the whole experience without having to constantly look up and strain your little neck.
The other highlight of the trip was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. When we knew that we would be traveling to Vegas for work several months ago, a coworker and I saw that there was also this race taking place at the same time. There was no way that we couldn’t make this one-of-a-kind race happen. The race was on Sunday night (that is right, at night) and they close down the ENTIRE strip for the race. Along the race course are bands, DJs, and spectators the entire way. Not to mention, it was just so f’ing cool to run on the closed-down strip at night!
Before we get to the race itself, let’s talk about some other race-related stuff. First, this was NOT an inexpensive race. Depending on when you register, it could be anywhere from $150 – 180 to run. That is one expensive freakin’ medal!
Secondly, we went to the expo at 5:00 on Saturday night before the race. If you were to go earlier in the day, I am pretty sure that it would be a madhouse. With over 30,000 runners, expos are never fun. Go later in the day on Saturday to avoid the crowds.
The pre-show entertainment this year was Kid Rock. Not being a Kid Rock fan, I personally did not care to make sure that we caught this. We saw his one song that I actually know and then headed to our corral.
Now let’s get to the race. The start is insane. They send everyone off in corrals and depending on what your predicted finish time is, you might be pretty far back in the corrals. We were taking it easy after being on our feet all day at work, so we had no desire to move up to some of the earlier start corrals. Looking back, I wish we did. They send the corrals off about a minute apart and we didn’t cross the start line until a half an hour after the first gun went off (4:30 pm)! We were in corral 25 out of 40 total. That is crazy! … and frustrating when you have already been standing on your feet all day.
To make it even more interesting, the weather was some of the worst I have ever seen in Las Vegas. It was cold and the wind was gusting up to 60 miles per hour. Standing at the start in those kinds of conditions made me look at my coworker and say, “you want to just head to dinner?” Half joking and half serious, we decided to stick it out and finally made it to the start.
When we actually started running at the start line, everything was going pretty good, minus some wardrobe malfunctions (I was wearing a tutu, yes, a tutu). It kept slipping down and became an annoying game of pulling it back up to make sure it didn’t fall off my butt. I’ve never run in a tutu before and I don’t know if I’ll be eager to do it again, but when in Vegas… well, I felt like I had to. After my coworker helped me get that all squared away by pinning it on to my shirt (thanks, Elizabeth!), we were back on track.
At first, you run away from the strip and toward the airport. You pass the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, and then turn around a little after that and head back towards the strip. This is when it started to rain on us. At first it was just a little sprinkle, but then gave way to a pretty steady rain for the next few miles. It wouldn’t have bothered me so bad if I wasn’t so worried about my phone getting ruined the whole time.
After about an hour, the rain let up and we were at the other end of the strip, this is when it got really windy and there were some of the hardest miles. There isn’t much to see here and there also aren’t a lot of spectators to keep you going. You wind around some roads in some pretty sketchy parts of town, but with as many people as there are, I never felt uncomfortable. You eventually reach Fremont Street and then turn back toward the strip. From here, it just felt like a long haul. We eventually made it back toward the strip, got some adrenaline going again, and crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces.
After the finish line, there is a really looooooong corral that you have to walk until you get to the point where you can exit.This is when we were not so happy, since we had to walk about a mile away from our hotel (which was pretty much at the finish line) and then walk a mile back. All of the sudden 13 miles had turned into 16 between the start and finish. Plus all those other miles from walking around a giant convention center for work all day.
All in all, it was a great race, but I think there were some things they could have done at the start and finish to make it a little more enjoyable. I know it is difficult with that many people, but I saw a few places where efficiencies could have been picked-up. Either way, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great experience and a fun way to see Las Vegas. The verdict is still out on the tutu though…