Rock n Roll Las Vegas has been one of my favorite races on the tour for awhile. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to come back to run this city. Each time I’ve been back, it’s always found me at a particularly dramatic time in my life. This time, I’d say that things are pretty mellow, considering. Or maybe I’ve just mellowed out.
We flew in to Las Vegas on a cheap flight from Denver. The last time we’d been to Vegas was for our wedding, so it was great to be back!
We arrived the night before the 5K, so we were really looking forward to getting settled in and getting dinner. That was a whole dramatic effort that is not worth recapping. We eventually made our way to a hotel for the night and the next day, to the expo!
Finally, this was an expo worth visiting. It was like the expos of Rock n Rolls past! Tons of exhibitors, lots of merchandise, and lots of energy. I suppose the merchandise was really end-of-year sales. We grabbed our tour pass stuff and a few other goodies.
Being one of the last races in the tour, I was a little sad and downtrodden. What was next? With the tour pass price increase, I might not get to do the whole 15 Hall of Fame next year. Or maybe I’d want to pursue other races. Or, maybe next year I go back to triathlons for a season. Either way, I felt a pang of sadness, since there is so much changing overall.
After the expo, we were starving so I suggested going to my favorite sandwich place, Earl of Sandwich. I had originally planned on skipping lunch so that I could run the 5K. With a tuna melt in my belly, it made running mostly improbable.
In the early evening, we headed out from our hotel and drove to the SLS, on the north end of the strip. It was magic hour.
I wasn’t feeling completely 100% up for running the 5K, but I decided to trot along as much as I could. The tuna melt should’ve worn a bib.
As expected, the 5K was fairly dark. At the turnaround point, there was a timing mat and it had looked like someone face planted in the dark. There were some paramedics on the scene. I hope the runner was okay – we all gave her some space.
After the headliner concert, we headed to a nearby all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant to celebrate half of our weekend. The restaurant was aptly named Rock n Roll Sushi, so we had to try it. It was great! The 5K medal was also really cute. It looked like a poker chip/roulette wheel:
Even the detailing of the numbers were really something – all numbers of race distances. It is probably one of my most favorite medals of all time. Strangely enough I think it was bigger than the half marathon and marathon medal. It was beautiful!
Before the next race, we quickly registered for the Rock ‘n Roll Savannah marathon at pre-sale prices. (After all, you can’t finish a race without having your next one lined up!)
The next evening, the half marathon was…something else! The start line had been rerouted to New York New York, with corrals rerouted towards T-Mobile arena. This had significantly less space than the usual start line down Las Vegas Blvd at Mandalay Bay. Because of this, everyone had to rely on the small pedestrian footbridges and sidewalks and the gridlock getting to the start line was massive. It almost caused safety issues! People were as patient as they could be, but tensions were running pretty high since spectators were getting in the way of the runners trying to line up for their corrals.
We all eventually got to the start line though. The fanfare was on par with a Disney race! I don’t remember my past Las Vegas races being this celebratory, but this was definitely a nice change of pace from my previous Rock n Roll races.
The first few miles of the run were pretty somber. Some parts were especially quiet, especially Memorial Mile at Mandalay Bay.
We ran up to the executive airport, and there was a women’s violin quartet (I think) at the turnaround point. Once we turned back, we were passed the Las Vegas fairgrounds and the Las Vegas signs again. When we passed Mandalay Bay, the festivities began.
There were lots of spectators cheering the runners on. They were of various levels of sobriety and confusion. All of the hotels had their light and water shows going all at once. There was even a KISS cover band! We ran past the finish chute at The Mirage, which was really awesome because there were half marathoners finishing. By the time we headed out of the strip, it was just a short jaunt past Chapel Row to Downtown Las Vegas where I got married. (Not literally that night, but earlier last year.)
The finish line was pretty spectacular and the course support was great. Being such a popular race, there were tons of people the entire way – I never felt alone and I never would’ve gotten lost. I would definitely run this race again!
This is race 14/15. My last one of the year is Rock n Roll San Antonio. See y’all in Texas!