Last year, only about 13,000 runners took part. This year, organizers say an international field of elite athletes helped round out and expand the registered runners, bringing out 27,000 racers on a brisk and wintry day today in Las Vegas.
Runner Caroline Rotich led all runners, finishing with a kick and crossing the finish line with a time of 2:29:49 to win the Rock ‘n’ Rock Las Vegas Marathon today, Sunday. She took home $25,000 for her win.
The festive marathon started at 6:15 a.m. today on Las Vegas Blvd. north of Russell Rd, near Mandalay Bay parking lot. And, for the first time ever for the marathon, nearly 7 1/2 miles of the Strip was closed to traffic.
As the name Rock ‘n’ Roll suggests, there were more than 35 live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations set up along each line of the Las Vegas Strip course. There were also be hundreds of running Elvi and 85 couples taking part in the Run through Wedding.
Event organizers expect the Las Vegas economic boost to be around $30 million. There is a strong international presence of athletes who have come from 39 countries and all 50 states.
The Las Vegas Marathon has long been a tradition in the Las Vegas Valley, but now the large national and international appealing race, along with the race course, is getting a whole new makeover under new leadership. The Las Vegas Rock N’ Roll Marathon unveiled it plans last week for their inaugural race on December 6 and the big change for runners is that they will be running smack dab on the Strip, not racing down residential streets as in past years.
But that’s not all. To provide a truly Las Vegas entertainment overload experience, local and regional live bands, not DJs, will be playing every mile and there will be competitions at the water stations for runners.
On top of that, many runners will be dressed up in costumes, running for causes, and, yes, even getting married in group ceremonies during the run.
The estimated 20,000 runners and 150,000 spectators this year will hopefully also bring some much needed revenue to the City of Entertainment. If participation in the marathon reaches the numbers expected, organizers believe it will bring in about $40 million to Las Vegas and about $1 million in tax revenues.