By Burt Davis
Photos by Burt Davis unless otherwise noted
I ran a number of marathons and half marathons during my racing days. The focus for most of these events was on achieving one’s personal goals. The Annual Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon is different. The focus is not only on achievement, but also fun. Hey, its Vegas.
The Marathon is sponsored by Zappos.com to benefit The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
This year's marathon weekend began on Friday, November 30 with the Health and Fitness Expo presented by Garmin. Runners were required to pick up their race credentials at The Expo.
I worked The Expo as a volunteer on Saturday. The fitness expo is open to the public and contained booths by over 200 vendors. They were selling everything a runner needs plus a lot they didn't need but might want. Of course there were plenty of vendors trying to convince the runners that there were new items that the runners could not do without.
The items included shoes, clothes and all types of energy supplements. I especially enjoyed the display by Brooks Running shoes. It included games and unique displays.
Elvis music blared through the Expo—adding to the hype and enthusiasm. It's Vegas.
Saturday nights activities included a pre race pasta dinner. The diners were entertained by rocking sounds of The Beach Boys tribute band Good Vibrations.
Since the Marathon didn’t start until 3:00 PM on Sunday, many of the participants took advantage of the Vegas nightlife. Many venues in town offered special deals for runners. Official Pre Race parties were held on Fremont Street, at Chateau Nightclub and 10AK nightclub. I have never run with a hangover.
Race day started with a special Sunday brunch at the Mirage and ended with post race parties at Lavo and Gallery at Planet Hollywood. In between there was a marathon.
The Marathon started at 3:00 PM while the Half Marathon started at 4:30 PM. Most of the marathon and the entire half Marathon took place on The Strip and Fremont St area. Over 25,000 runners entered---22,000 plus for the full and 3,000 plus for the half marathon.
Race photos by Lester Cacho
The runners were entertained by no less than 19 bands dispersed through the course. Some runners wore not only the traditional Elvis costumes, but also some unique outfits.
The traditional run through wedding ceremony took place at New York New York Casino at mile 3. More than 100 couples took part in the ceremony which was officiated by the Running Reverend.
The Marathon was won by Jonathon Ndambuki in 2 hours 32 minutes. Times were slow for the Marathon this year. Most runners blamed the slow times on a heavy wind—perhaps—but maybe the slow times were due to too much fun in Vegas.