Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon & 5k | Recap & Review

The Las Vegas Half Marathon and 5k was both a party and an awesome race! I was so happy to make this race my 16th state. I had registered for the half marathon already, but when the announcement was made of an added 5k on Saturday (with the potential for more medals), I signed up immediately when registration opened! To make this race EXTRA exciting, this was my husband’s FIRST HALF MARATHON!! I’m so beyond proud of him.

 
Video movie-trailer style capturing our weekend.

The Las Vegas Half Marathon and 5k was both a party and an awesome race! I was so happy to make this race my 16th state. I had registered for the half marathon already, but when the announcement was made of an added 5k on Saturday (with the potential for more medals), I signed up immediately when registration opened! To make this race EXTRA exciting, this was my husband’s FIRST HALF MARATHON!! I’m so beyond proud of him.

My husband and I posing with Meb

Last December, I purchased the 2014 Tour Pass for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series. For the flat fee of the Tour Pass, you are then able to register for ANY of the Rock n’ Roll Series races for FREE! I ended up doing 6 half marathons and 2 5ks with the Tour Pass, so I more than got my money’s worth! I definitely recommend getting the Tour Pass if you plan on doing several races. There’s even a 3-pack.

Tour Pass benefits kept adding up and Las Vegas was the best yet! I got an email while I was standing in O’Hare Airport about to board the plane to Vegas that not only would Tour Pass holders get in to the expo a half hour earlier than the public, but we had the opportunity to meet Meb Keflezighi, Olympic marathoner and 2014 Boston Marathon winner. So on day one of the expo, my husband and I lined up with only about 20 or so other Tour Pass holders to get early access and meet Meb. Meb was very friendly and fun to talk to. We had him sign our half marathon bibs!

The expo was kind of eerily empty with only Tour Pass holders inside, but it quickly filled up. It was a great expo. Lots of vendors, free stuff, etc.

Saturday Night 5k

As evening approached, I began to get ready for the 6 p.m. start of the Las Vegas 5k. Since the race was at night, I had lots of glow and light up things to wear! The weather was just perfect.

The race instructions recommended that runners take the Las Vegas Monorail to the SLS Casino, where the start and finish was located. The problem was, as it seemed, that all 5,000 participants were trying to cram on to the Monorail at the same time! We stood in a large crowd and had to wait for several monorail trains to pass before we could squeeze on to one. It was a bit chaotic. However, we eventually did get on and made our way to the 5k start line.

Post-race Chromeo concert

The start line was an awesome party atmosphere! Lights, music, and an upbeat crowd made for a very exciting race. The start corral was a slow process and I did not start the race until 30 minutes in. I really wanted to see the Chromeo concert at 7 pm, so it was stressing me out a bit that I would miss it.

The course wound around the northern part of the strip – near SLS, The Riviera, and Circus Circus. It was a scenic course and kept me entertained without any headphones.

Coming back to SLS, I could hear the Chromeo concert starting up, so I was just in time to see it. It was a great concert, and had one of the most engaged audiences that I have seen at a Rock n’ Roll event this year.

I received my awesome 5k medal, which in my opinion, was better than the half marathon medal.

Sunday Night Half Marathon

My mom, husband and me before the race!

Finally, Sunday came and it was half marathon day! What a weird thing to not have a big race like this in the morning. The race was scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m! We slept in as long as we could and went to the hotel’s breakfast buffet, which was offering 50% off to runners for the weekend. I tried to load up on carbs and protein and avoided anything that may make my stomach upset.

It was time to get ready for the race before we knew it. Phones and watches charged, GU stocked up, shoes tied and bibs on – we were ready to run the strip!

The Mirage hotel was gracious enough to offer runners a free shuttle in nice buses to the start line at the south end of the strip (near Mandalay Bay/Las Vegas Sign). I don’t know how we would have gotten there otherwise – the entire strip was shut down, which was a strange sight in itself.

We got to the pre-race concert featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at about 3:30. I checked a bag with some warm clothes for the finish line as it was very cold (about 40 degrees). We stood at a distance from the concert and enjoyed the music and tried to stand in the sunlight for some warmth. We got into the corrals and stood in one that was about 10 corrals ahead of where we were supposed to be. Since it was my husband’s first half marathon, he wanted more than the 4-hour time limit and therefore started earlier. It still took us an hour of waiting to be able to start after the first corral was released! I can’t imaging how long it took the last corral to finally cross the start line.

The course began by looping around the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. I ran the first 10 minutes or so with my husband but then I split off. The route then progressed northwards up the left side of the strip and we began to see lots of spectators along the way. Before I knew it, we were already at mile 4, passing in front of the Mirage. If there were mile markers on the course, I never saw them. Without my GPS watch, I would have never known at what point in the race I was. After the big part of the strip, it seemed to go in to a neighborhood of lots of wedding chapels. It was cool to pass the pawn shop from the show Pawn Stars, which was on the main strip as well. Then that kind of fell off and we reached the turn around point. The course then looped into some kind of residential area that was dark and frankly kind of creepy. That was the longest mile by far. I could tell the people around me were slogging through that area without much motivation.

We then entered Fremont Street area, which was neat to see a different part of Vegas which was much more the neon lights you would expect from the city. After a short trip down Fremont, we were back on the main strip and headed to the finish line!

Four-Medal Weekend!

I didn’t like that this race was essentially a straight line out and back. It made the race seem really long!! Plus, there seemed to be maybe 2-3 bands on the entire course, which is a very low number for this series. Since Vegas is the RNR series’ biggest race, I really expected more on the course.

I crossed the finish line feeling pretty great. I collected my half marathon medal, food, water, finisher photo and much-needed mylar blanket. I then had to walk in the n-e-v-e-r e-n-d-i-n-g finisher’s area. The finisher’s area was a quarter of a mile long, fenced in area that not only could you not escape, but it was leading me AWAY from my hotel!! AGH! So I walked a quarter mile to gear check and collected my bonus medals for doing the 5k and half “Remix Challenge” AND my Heavy Medal #6 for doing six RNR half marathons this year. Yep! Count ’em – 4 medals for the weekend!

My husband, Chris, crossing his first half marathon finish line!

Trying to make my way back to the Mirage was a nightmare. Several areas between Caesar’s Palace and Mirage were fenced off or barricaded. I walked at least a quarter mile back, probably a bit more so I could watch the finish line for my husband. I sat at the finish line area with my camera ready to snap a shot of him crossing the finish. Finally he crossed! I was so happy for him that he made it!! I walked to the end of the finisher’s area (again) to try to guide him through the shortest path to our hotel.

He was hurting but he made it! My mom also did the half marathon and finished not far behind me. We all hobbled to the nearest restaurant to refuel then headed straight to bed. We were all so tired!

Going to bed right after a half was pretty rough. I was waking up thirsty all night and my husband was waking up with cramps. I don’t think I would seek out a half marathon at night again.

I loved our trip to Vegas! I enjoyed so much about the race and the city. This was a fantastic race that I would definitely recommend for anyone to do in Las Vegas or as their Nevada state race.