Although I have been to Las Vegas at least a dozen times, the trip I made to run my virgin Rock and Roll Half Marathon was the best time I have ever had there. I’m slowly coming down from my runner’s high so excuse me if some of this makes zero sense. Maybe if you play Snoop Dogg while reading, it will enhance the expeirence.
Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon Stripped Down
Obviously. There were so many positives about being in a town like Las Vegas before a race. The atmosphere is continuous stimulation and excitement, you can get anything you need, anytime you need it, the food is some of the best in the world and, this past weekend, the entire city was crawling with runners!
I knew running the strip at night was going to be amazing but I did not know how amazing until I was doing it. Wow. Just wow. I told my husband afterward it was the easiest 13.1 I had ever run because there was no downtime for my mind. From the over-the-top light display, to the throngs of cheering crowds to the pancake flatness of the course, it is a runner’s paradise.
The Headliner – Snoop Dogg
As soon as I found out Snoop Dogg was headlining the pre-race party, I knew I had selected the perfect rock and roll half to run! I have loved Snoop since I was in high school but had never seen him live. Having him perform was also the only reason my husband, SIL and BIL agreed to come to the start with me!
Snoop, it turns out, was a very interesting choice.
You see, runners as a whole are a pretty conservative bunch and pre-race preparations can be taken especially seriously. We were an audience dressed ready to run and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. All of this made it even funnier when Snoop came out smoking a gigantic blunt and didn’t censor his lyrics even a little bit.
I heard more mother effers, bitch references, the “n” word and extremely graphic adjectives for male and female anatomy in the first 10 minutes of his set then I have during the entirety of the Trump campaign coverage.
Looking around and basically seeing people try to ignore the music or laying down to mentally prepare for a marathon was the most ridiculous juxtaposition. And I loved every single second.
Obviously, this video and the screen displays are not for your kids… And yes, that’s my husband, more excited at a race then he has ever been!
Sadly, I was in the first corral and had to leave before the show was over. My family stayed and rocked out for at least another hour and I was insanely jealous.
I was seriously impressed with the overall organization of this race. We are talking about 40,000 runners (for comparison, the NYC marathon averages 50K) in a city already bursting with people. It still boggles my mind that they are allowed to shut down the strip for this event! They only do it twice a year – New Year’s Eve and the Rock and Roll Marathon. Very cool.
The expo, although held off the strip, was super easy to navigate and very clearly marked. I breezed though and had my bib, race shirt, souvenir hat and all my questions answered in no time. I actually think it took longer to be driven to the expo center than it took me to get though it.
At the pre-race venue where Snoop performed everything was very well laid out and organized as well. There was a gigantic parking lot with nothing but port-o-potties identified by an enormous “restrooms” emblazoned balloon hovering over the location so you knew exactly where they were.
A fleet of UPS trucks were lined up, ready to receive and transport our gear bags to the finish. Again, everything was clearly marked and I dropped my gear bag within minutes of arriving at the venue. Afterward, I found my alphabetically designated truck quickly and had my gear back in no time. What can brown do for you? Apparently everything.
As you can see in the photo below, their were directional restroom signs on stage as well as race bib color coordinated corral start times. There were additional bathrooms just outside of the corrals as well. These Rock and Roll people really have their shit together. < – – I couldn’t resist.
In a word, the race route was spectacular! I have never seen so many lights, had so much crowd support (well, besides the NYC marathon) and have smiled as much as I did during this race. There was constant stimulation for your mind that your legs just kind of did their thing. Granted, I was not running for time but for fun, and fun was exactly what I had.
The only thing that could have made this race better would have been running it with a friend. Next year, I won’t make that mistake and will literally kidnap people if need be. (I’m looking at you Nat, Sue and Shannon!)
The course was completely flat, ran right though the main strip, past the stratosphere, into old Las Vegas and then back down the strip ending in a lit up, fiery finish line, announced by Elvis (of course) at the Mirage hotel.
Since we were staying at Caesar’s, located next door to the Mirage, it was super easy for me to walk though the finisher’s chute and directly to my husband and back up to our room. I promptly took the best bubble bath ever and went to dinner at Giada’s. Absolute perfection.
Racing First Class
I will say this, my experience was based on being in the first wave and literally the first corral. When I got to the pre-race venue it was half empty and therefore easy to navigate. The toilets were still very clean, there wasn’t a lot of crowding and, during the actual race I found myself only surrounded by three or four people after mile 5. I had plenty of room to run prior to that and there was an abundance of water and gatorade on the course as well as post-race food, drinks and zero lines to get my gear.
I mention this because I have heard other stories basically saying the opposite so, I don’t know what it was like for those in the last wave or finishing closer to the back of the pack. I would hope the experience is the same but I cannot say for sure.
That said, these were my only small complaints for the overall experience:
- The expo and packet pick-up being held off the strip. It was kind of a pain to get there and back and, with so many of the biggest hotels in the world on the strip, it seemed unnecessary.
- There was SO MUCH WALKING just to get to the pre-race venue. I had to walk to the monorail at a different hotel (which was long since, Vegas) and then almost another mile to the start. The sun was brutally hot and the walk was not fun. At the end of the day, I walked almost 37,000 total steps! Seriously. Getting an Uber or cab was difficult and not recommend since they started closing streets very early.
3. The volunteers at the course water stations were not yelling out what they had – water or gatorade. I was asking them every time and, some of the stations had gatorade cups to distinguish but, not all. It may not seem like a big deal but when you need Gatorade and not water and are cruising along and trying to be courteous of your fellow runners, you want to be sure you’re getting what you need and headed toward the person who has it!
The Ultimate Finish
To top off the entire experience, while we were having our post-race celebration party at Giada, we could see the finishers still streaming into the chute from our table. We also saw a marriage proposal! It was the sweetest thing ever and was a perfect ending to my amazing day.
Obviously I would encourage anyone to race this event and bring lots of friends and family! Having my family enjoy so much of this with me was a huge thrill. The entire weekend was one incredible experience after another and I have much more to share with you so stay tuned!
Since I know you’re now planning to run this with me next year, check out some great deals from my friends in sin city before planning your trip!
Have you run Las Vegas?
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Have you run another Rock and Roll race?