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.
Not all people enjoy eating Big Macs and have the body fat to show for it. Some are very lean fighting machine specimens- and very thrill-seeking. Take for example the 80 or so of the toughest athletes on the planet that compete in the annual Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile race through Death Valley from July 13 through 15.
It’s so hot the runners keep their running shoes stored in the freezer to prevent them from melting. They train in saunas cranked up to 180 degrees. And for good reason: The temperatures during the race hit 130 degrees, runners traverse three mountain ranges, achieving a 13,000 vertical ascent and 4,700 feet of cumulate descent.
Badwater, managed by AdventureCORPS, offers several extreme heat race opportunities in and around Death Valley. But these races are definitely not for beginners and only the most extreme, heat-tolerant athletes receive an invitation.
Southern Nevada is a great place to live if you’re of the extreme heat adventure persuasion. It’s close enough to Death Valley for weekend training. Valley of Fire, which regularly records summer temperatures in the triple digits, is even closer.
As an option for neophyte death defying runners that are not quite hardcore yet, Sierra Adventure Sports in Phoenix, Arizona offers their summer Extreme Heat races, which have been held for the past three years.
Sounds crazy- but, then again, Las Vegans are the epitome of crazy.
Running with the Devil (he owns a couple of foreclosed houses in Sin City) is exactly what a group of hardy – and deranged – athletes will do when they gather at Lake Mead National Recreation area in Boulder City, Nevada this Saturday for the Running of the Devil races.
Starting and finishing at Boulder Beach, runners will compete in five distance options, with the longest being 50 miles, roughly a DOUBLE marathon. It’s about an 11-hour race- for those that survive.
Participants are described by event organizers as athletes looking for a challenge that goes beyond a mere morning job through the neighborhood. Really?
Running with the Devil is all about facing the challenge of extreme heat. Last year the temperature reached 112 degrees, and it hit 116 the year before.
All those who finish the race alive will receive a medal. So far, 45 people have signed up to run the 50 mile gauntlet.
Some runners are using this race as a warm-up (?) for Badwater, a 135-mile run though Death Valley in California starting July 13, where the temperature can reach 125 degrees or higher, with the race taking up to 60 hours to complete. Now, that’s endurance!
Interested? Check out www.calicoracing.com for more information. You can register for the race on Friday at the Hacienda Hotel in Boulder City from 5 to 9 p.m., or on the day of the race at Boulder Beach.