Have you ever run in Paris near the Eiffel Tower? In New York City, Hollywood & Venice, Italy? Ran next to pyramids, flaming, hot volcanoes, sweeping, palm trees, and next to spectacular fountains? Have you ran with Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Captain America, Spiderman, Winnie the Pooh, the Transformers, Danny DiVito, Jack Nicholson, Kermit the Frog, and Zach Galifianakis? What about with gorgeous showgirls? AND…have you done this all on ONE DAY? Or should I say…NIGHT!
This is exactly the kind of fun you can have when you run the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon. The Strip at Night!
This was my last ½ marathon of the season. It was a quick-minded decision, spurred by a couple of friends that were registered to run it. They invited me along, and I gave it about 2-seconds of thought before I said, “I’m in!” I mean…C’mon, friends, Vegas, running and a ½ marathon at night! How could I ever say No?
From the time we arrived in Vegas, we knew the 4-day weekend was going to ROCK! And we were excited to “get this party started”
The expo was remarkable! We picked up race packets, numbers, grabbed swag bags and T-shirts at the front end of the expo. It was quick, well organized and we moved through with ease. Then we entered into Running Mecca. We all wandered through, wide-eyed, sampling products, playing games, buying running gear, seeing new shoes, socks, and wicking clothing. We spent a good part of our afternoon there ogling all things running. One of my <personal> biggest highlights of the expo was getting the honor and privilege to hear a talk from the amazingly, talented, US Olympian and winner of the NYC Marathon Meb Keflezighi. What an extraordinary career this man has had. Afterwards, we patiently waited, to get up close to Meb for pictures, and to have him autograph his book, and our race bibs. I really wish he were my running partner. The expo got us more excited to be participating in another Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon!
Our group that was running (the race) and running around Vegas until all hours of the night…er….the morning consisted of 2 girls who are RnR veterans, and have ran 3 R n R’s this year (I cannot wait to see their extra Heavy Metal BLING for doing more than one in the year) 3-NEWBIE runners, 2 that have done some smaller races, and 1 that this was IT…the first race EVER! Out of the 3 newbies however, this was their first Half Marathon!…and there was little ol’ me…just along for the fun!
Being around the newer runners was like seeing kids at Christmas. It was so exciting! It was fun seeing their nervous energy, and taking everything in about the race and expo.
Race day came, and it was so bizarre to wake up at 9am-ish (after our second night of being out until 4am) and not have to be in a frenzy to get ready to race. And well, at 9am, we would’ve already missed the start of most races. But not in Vegas. This race starts at night. 4:30pm. Being that is was a late start, we really had to spend the day off of our feet (HAHAHA, that didn’t happen) and really had to watch what we were eating (HAHAHA that didn’t happen either) So, we spent the day in regular Vegas fashion, out shopping, and walking. In fact we are pretty sure we easily covered a marathon and a half-marathon the three days we were there before the race. (No, I’m not joking) There is so much to see and do, that you just cannot sit still. And although for other races, we would’ve opted to stay in and play it safe…this is Vegas after all, and all bets were off. We threw caution to the wind. Besides all of the walking, we danced our little legs off, ate Vietnamese food (for dinner the night before the race) we drank, we danced some more, we shopped our wallets dry, we became Mission Impossible agents, we rode roller coasters, we laughed and loved and lived everything we could of Las Vegas.
As the day went on, we got more and more excited about the race. We walked down to the start and were giddy! We cheered for our first-timers, and made plans for meeting at the finish. And then we were off, with 30,000 other runners, running the Las Vegas strip at night. I only wish I would’ve stopped one time to take a picture of how this looked. The lights, the runners, the crowds cheering us on. It was all so exciting. It made the run go by so fast. Running block after block next to towering casinos and hotels. I ran past the Bellagio as the fountains we spraying. We ran from one end to the other, towards the Stratosphere and though a part of Vegas that I have never been to, the infamous Fremont Street, past street performers, and fantastic bands, and before I knew it, I was heading back down the strip to the finish. I kind of had that feeling of…”is this it?” Not meaning I was dissatisfied with any part of this race, but that it seemed to fly by.
I waded through the finish-line chute where I received my medal. This MEDAL!!! Now…this, is a medal. Heavy, and full of bling-y, shimmery, glitter, with the Las Vegas skyline…and, AND…wait for it….it freakin’ GLOWS IN THE DARK! What!!??
I continued my way through the chute, having my photo taken, getting all sorts of yummy post-race food. There was definitely a lot to choose from. I wandered in my space blanket to the other end, and waited with a friend (we ran in together) to cheer the rest of our crew in! It is always so amazing and almost tearful to see a first-timer finish. There is just something magical about it. They think they can’t make it, they feel undertrained (jeez, don’t we all) they are in pain, convinced the finish is too far, and then…they cross that finish line! It never gets old. We hugged and took pictures together of our finish, and then all went back to our condos, cleaned up, ate, and guess…WENT out, again…for another 4am night of celebrating and dancing!!
I vote: one of the most fun races EVER!! Great race for first timers, veterans, young and old! Great course…flat, and you cannot beat the scenery. Great crowds. If you want thousands of people cheering for you your entire way…then Vegas is it! Plus….you get to run..with Elvis in Paris!!