Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon 2014 Review

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Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon 2014 Review

I am definitely a bit late in posting a review about this race.

As with most of my travel, it started when I found a deal on The Flight Deal from Boston to Las Vegas. I quickly looked up the dates for the RnR Las Vegas Marathon and quickly found dates that would work for the marathon. Since it was a Sunday Night flight, my friend and I booked a flight leaving Saturday and the redeye Monday night to get back to work on Tuesday. My friend couldn’t find the exact same routing from BOS-LAX but we were on the same flight LAX-LAS. I got the upgrade so we didn’t actually fly together. I got an Avis rental car and drove to the expo for the packet pickup.

There was a parking lot besides the expo so it was easy to park there. Once we went in, it wasn’t very crowded. We were able to get right through to pick up our numbers. I noticed the sign that said that packet pickup would not be available on Sunday, even though the race wasn’t until Sunday night. We were lucky to go when we landed. I normally pick it up as early as possible, but never would have thought they wouldn’t allow to pick it up the morning before a night race. When we went to pick up our number, we were asked for our ID and I thought it was a bit absurd. The attendant who gave us the numbers said that she already had two different set of numbers missing already, even though the expo only started the day before. From then on, I never questioned about showing my ID to get my running number. I think that stealing someone’s number is pretty idiotic. It is really stupid to run a marathon where you’re not even going to get credit for it. Any idiot can run 26 miles anywhere so do it somewhere else.

Afterwards, I went back to the airport to pick up my wife. She flew on a different award flight because it was months later that she wanted to tag along for the trip. I booked the trip back in April 2014 and I booked my wife’s ticket in October. It was a last minute decision for her to run the 5k and for me to find the tickets to get here there. She luckily found a way to get Monday off as well so she stayed until Monday along with me and my friend. Her flight was also delayed and she didn’t get in until around 3. The race was only in a few hours so it definitely stressed her out.

We rushed back to the expo to pick up her number and then went to the hotel to check in. We stayed at the Paris Hotel because of its central location and price. It took a while to check in as we didn’t have elite status with Caesar Properties. It took about 30 minutes to wait in line and check in. We followed the directions to the right elevator and took the elevator to the Red Room. It had a pretty nice view of the strip and the Eiffel Tower and the pool below:

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The Warmup: Las Vegas 5K

After we got to our room, we quickly tore into our race bags and quickly put on the race numbers and changed into our running gear. The race was fairly late and it didn’t start until well after sunset:

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We weren’t really going for time so we just picked a random spot towards the back and waited until the crowds moved up towards the start line. It took about 20 minutes to get to the start line and then we were off! My wife took off a bit quick but I caught up to her to try to slow her down. She didn’t do any training at all so I was trying to keep her at around a 30 minute pace. I checked in on her every now and then and made small adjustments to the pace to ensure she had enough to finish. We ran by two or three DJ booths that was set up along our course. There were also a lot of people wearing lights on the course, so it was cool to see as everything else was pretty dark, except for the strip. The 5k course was in the northern part of the Las Vegas Strip, so it wasn’t as bright as the main part of the strip would be.

There were some parts of the course that was fairly dark and seemed empty other than the runners, which was a bit weird. 1/2 of the course took place on the street behind the strip, and then 1/2 was on the strip to run back to the start/finish area. The finish line seemed to come out of nowhere since it was just a bright area compared to the darkness nearby. My wife sprinted towards the finish and I kept behind her so she would be able to get a clean picture from the photographers. We never actually bought the pictures but at least it was available.

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After the race, we met up with one of the runners from the Antarctica Marathon! She was coming up with her twin sister for the weekend from Los Angeles. They didn’t have time to run the marathon on Sunday so they ran the 5k and we met up afterwards for a few minutes. They were going to go drinking after the race whereas I had to go back and rest.

One of the main reasons I ran the 5k was because there would be a concert by Chromeo. They had a hit song “Jealous” that I fell in love with six months before the race and I went back and found their current and first album. I had been listening to it for the past few months so I really enjoyed their concert after the 5k. After getting a bite to eat, we met up with my friend who was doing the 1/2 marathon on Sunday. They were gambling over at the Cosmopolitan so I joined them. I quickly found out I knew nothing about blackjack and my friends and the dealer had to coach me through it. Luckily after about 90 minutes of play, I didn’t lose any money! I was playing $5 hands and ended $10 up for the night, which I quickly tipped to the dealer since she did most of the work that night. We walked back to the Paris Hotel and I quickly noticed that it cooled down considerably and the winds really picked up as well. I was a bit worried for the marathon the following evening.

The Main Event: The RnR Las Vegas Marathon 2014

The next day, we walked around all the casinos and also met up with my wife’s cousin for a few hours. We didn’t do much that day so I could focus on the marathon. The marathon started around 5:30 but I wanted to get there early for the concert. We took the monorail down to towards MGM and then followed the crowds towards the concert.

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We were running a bit late so we only caught the last little bit of the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performance before the marathon.

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Once it was over, we walked over to the start line. I quickly found out that there were so many corals. I fought my way to my coral but still had to wait about 45 minutes before I got to start. I was in coral 20 or so, and I saw corals going back beyond 45, so those runners started much later than I did. I wore a long sleeve shirt tonight since it was already in the low 50s when we started and I knew it would be much colder at the finish.

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As you can see from the below pictures, I waited a while to start the marathon. It was completely dark by the time we started.

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The race started off to the south towards the Las Vegas sign and looped back around it. Many runners stopped to take a picture there. We had stopped there years ago and took a picture, so I wasn’t going to sacrifice my time to take another picture.

My wife took a few pictures of some of the runners, but she didn’t manage to catch me nor was I able to find her, even though I was wearing bright yellow.

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As I was running, I noticed how I kept passing people. I was in a coral that was a bit ahead of the one I was assigned, but I was passing way too many people beyond the 6 mile mark. Normally after a few miles, many runners hit their grove and I tend to settle in and run a similar pace to other runners. In this race, I kept passing other runners, which was very odd. I also noticed that many of them were only running the half, which was also really weird. How can a 5 hour marathoner pass so many half marathoners? There were probably many people who were in corals they weren’t supposed to or the extreme cold was affecting a lot of the runners.

Much of the run along the strip was nice, but once you get past the strip near mile 8, it starts to get very dark. There is a small section east of Old Vegas that we ran through that was pretty dark and mostly residential. The next bright spot was Old Vegas, which was cool to run through. Then, it was just darkness for the next 10 miles. I was running around the desert at night for the next 10 miles. Much of it was fairly dark except for the street lights so it was fairly boring. There were a few DJ booths to entertain the runners, but it was pretty underwhelming. The cold also didn’t help. We were in the middle of the desert in the low 50s with the winds picking up.

I was running for much of it, but eventually I had to walk around mile 20. The cold didn’t really get to me until around mile 24 when I passed Old Vegas on the way back towards the finish line. I just remember being cold towards the finish. My legs were too tight to run and I was freezing cold. The finish line was pretty sparse since the time limit was 6 hours and I finished in about 5:30. The cold definitely affected my running but I was lucky to finish. My wife wanted to meet me for a picture, but I was way too cold to be standing outside to take a picture. It took her about 20 minutes to find me and I quickly rushed inside since I was freezing cold.

My wife had met up with my friend and he finished the half at around 3 hours, which was pretty good. I contacted him and we met for dinner around 11pm. Because it is Las Vegas, there were a ton of stuff still open and we got a table. Both of us were just exhausted from our respective races so we didn’t really eat much during dinner. We both had beer, which felt so good after a race.

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For the runners of the 5k and the marathon, they gave out an additional metal for running both. They give it out after finishing the marathon. I had to ask the workers there to find the correct booth to get the metal. They look up your registration and verify that you ran the 5k and then give you the additional medal. When you pick up your number, you automatically get three shirts, one for the 5k, the marathon and then a combined shirt. All of them are long sleeve, which was definitely needed for the cold weather we had that day.

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Summary:

All in all, it was a decent race. The expo was very nice and seemed well coordinated with ample parking. Despite being such a big race, it was pretty well planned. When I was running, I never felt very crowded. However, it was annoying to be starting so late, but it is understandable for such a large race and the reason why I didn’t feel crowded. They had a good plan for corals and waves and made the race itself more enjoyable, even though the events leading up to it wasn’t ideal.

The course itself was decent, but the back half of the marathon was pretty dark with not much to see or do. I recommend putting up even more DJ booths and other forms of entertainment on the back half of the course since its pretty boring out there.

The weather itself wasn’t ideal. It was in the low 50s with the temperature dipping to the upper 40s overnight, which I believe is uncharacteristically cold for even Las Vegas for November. I didn’t really plan for temperatures to be that low but as it was a night marathon, I had brought my long sleeve shirt. I needed my long pants, but I had to do without since I didn’t have it. Luckily I survived, but it was the coldest I have been after a marathon (even in Antarctica).

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