- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I love everything about Las Vegas - fabulous restaurants, great shows, good weather, and yes, gambling! Throw in the opportunity to run the Strip at Night, and I am ALL IN! We arrived at the expo early on Friday afternoon and it was not crowded at all. Everything was clearly marked and easy to navigate. The expo wasn't super-crowded and was nicely spread out, so even with more people, it wouldn't be an issue.
I ran the 5K on Saturday, but the course did not involve running on the Strip. The 5K was definitely chill and seemed to cater more toward the walker/casual runner, though I'm sure there was a competitive field. Running the 5K the day before the half was a nice preview of running in the desert air, which really helped me plan for the half marathon distance.
We stayed at Paris Las Vegas which was perfect, since the half/full marathon pre-race staging was directly behind our hotel. I walked over about an hour before start time, which was more than enough time. I cycled through the porta-potty line twice since it was moving so quickly. I didn't check a bag, but would have had plenty of time to do so if I needed to. There was a stage with a band playing, so I listened for a while before heading to the start gate. We probably walked a good quarter to half mile to the actual start line on the Strip.
We headed south on Las Vegas Boulevard (AKA the Strip), past the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. There was a band playing and many people stopped and waited in line for a photo in front of the iconic sign. We looped around and headed back north. There's not much to see at that end of the Strip. Once we approached Excalibur, New York, New York, and the surrounding venues the bright lights appeared and it with it now being dark, it finally felt like we were running the "Strip at Night". We ran the length of the Strip all the way downtown to Old Las Vegas and Fremont Street. We spent very little time in that area which was fine given the fact it seemed a little more remote and off the beaten path. We headed back south on the Strip and the lights once again appeared. Full marathon participants veered to the right while those of us doing the half veered to the left.
Around Mile 11 we were told there was no more water at the aid station, but were assured there would be plenty just a few hundred feet ahead (there was). I brought three Gatorade Endurance gels and decided to take my third at that point. Because my throat got so dry at the 5K the day before, I brought a bunch of cough drops with me and I pretty much had one in my mouth the entire time, which was my saving grace. I hydrated like crazy the day before and the morning of the race, but that desert air is no joke.
The finish line was located in front of the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, but we had to walk for what seemed like forever to be able to exit the course. Because I participated in races two days in a row, besides the individual race medals, I also earned the Remix medal, which is shaped like an old boom box to match the Rock 'n' Roll theme.
This was a fabulous race weekend and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was especially fun to be with great friends, old and new. The expo was average - not too small and not too big, nicely spread out with plenty of vendors to visit. The 5K race was a bit chaotic at the start with people self-seeding in obviously incorrect corrals. The course was quiet but the fest at the end of the race made up for all of that. The half/full marathon start was much better organized and the pre-race festivities/band were great. The course was mostly fun with just a few dead zones. There were spectators along the course on the main area of the Strip, but it seemed as if the majority of them were there for Vegas and not necessarily interested in seeing a race. I'm sure many of them didn't even know a race was going on until they came across a Strip that was closed to traffic.
As far as swag, the participant shirts were nothing spectacular but the finishers' medals were awesome. This is a fun race weekend and while there are serious racers out there, I'd say the vast majority of runners/walkers are out there for a good time. Las Vegas is one of my favorite places to vacation, so adding a race to an extended weekend visit gives me one more excuse to visit. I would definitely do this race again and would make it a part of a fun weekend in one of my favorite vacation spots.