About the Event:
The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon is open to runners and walkers. The event debuted in 2009 as part of the Rock 'n' Roll series by Competitor Group. It replaces the marathon and half marathon run by Devine Sports from 2005 to 2008. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon
. In 2011, the time limit for the marathon was reduced to four hours and 30 minutes, making it out of reach of most walkers. The half marathon had a time limit of four hours.
Date and Location:
The event is held in early December. The start/finish is near Mandalay Bay, on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip. For 2009-2010, the event had a Sunday morning start. For 2011-2012, it started in late afternoon as a "Strip At Night" race. The time limit for the half marathon is four hours. As of 2011, the time limit for the marathon was reduced to four hours, 30 minutes, making it unfriendly to walkers other than world class racewalkers. The half marathon starts 90 minutes after the full marathon as of 2011.
Register online. Registration often does not open until several months after the previous race, with pricing windows and prices that start at $120, with discounts for previous participants. Packet pickup is at the Expo in the two days before the race day. Packet pick-up on race day may be offered for a premium price, but it is best to time your arrival to Las Vegas to go to packet pick-up before race day. Register for the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon
The half-marathon course is entirely on the Las Vegas strip. The marathon diverges from it. The area is flat with only slight uphill and downhill stretches. It is a certified marathon course and a Boston qualifier. As typical of the Rock 'n' Roll series of events, 24 bands perform along the route.
The finish stays open for four hours for the half marathon. The time is adjusted to account for the starting time of the last corrals (which was an hour after the starting gun in 2012.) Water stops remained open for the slower racers, although they have sometimes run out of energy gel for walkers. The finish has been open and welcoming for the half marathon four hours after the last corrals started each year. The finish was well stocked with a full range of food items at that time, although specific items may run out at any time. It was a very walker-friendly
event for those who can finish in the stated time.
Medal and Shirt:
All registrants receive a short-sleeved technical T-shirt and goodie bag at the Expo, with medals for finishing. The shirts and medals are different colors and designs for the marathon and half marathon.
Weather and Parking:
Typical afternoon temperature is 50 degrees, and it can be very windy. At night, it can cool down below freezing. Rain and snow are rare but possible. In 2012, it was 68 degrees at start time and stayed balmy throughout the race -- bring shorts! Many racers had to buy them because they didn't pack them. It is best to come dressed in layers. If driving, plan for an extra 60 minutes to 90 minutes in detours and traffic jams, plus a half-mile walk to the start. Study the race materials carefully to see the starting line and finish line layout and suggested transportation.
Las Vegas in December:
Early December is low season for Las Vegas, with good hotel deals. Many shows are "dark" in early December, so you may miss some of the fun. I love having thinner crowds, though, and it is easier to get in to good restaurants or find a spot at your favorite gaming table.
Review of the 2012 "Strip at Night" RNR:
With the extreme problems the race had in 2011, they had a drop-off in registration and had 32,000 racers in 2012. Those racers saw that they corrected every problem noted in 2011 and restored the event to the fun, well-designed event it should be for the pricetag.
Review: 2012 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
Photos and Report of the Las Vegas Half-Marathon 2009:
I walked the inaugural Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in 2009. Previously, I walked the New Las Vegas Half Marathon in 2006 and 2007, before the event was replaced by the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. The Elite Racing production was far superior for organization, overcoming the snags seen at previous versions.
The Expo was almost worth the trip itself, featuring dozens of booths for running and walking apparel and gear. Running Elvises pose for photo ops with the racers and everyone is ready for a good time. Couples register to get married or renew their vows at the run-through wedding chapel on the course.
It is a blast to walk the full length of the Las Vegas strip. On-course support was excellent for the half marathon route, with plenty of water and Cytomax electrolyte drink, plus a GU energy gel stop that was still stocked for the slower walkers and runners. Porta-johns were provided at each mile, plus the racers had access to all of the casinos and restaurants along the Strip.
The course was well marked, with the splits staffed to ensure racers headed the right way.
In 2009, the bands were excellent and I was happy to switch off my iPod and listen to the live music at regular intervals.
With over 25,000 racers, walkers can expect to be in the final corrals and wait 45 minutes or more to start after the starting gun. Be prepared for cold temperatures while you wait. In 2009, racers were not locked into their corrals and I waited by the row of porta-johns until my corral was ready to start. Many racers arrived late due to parking and transport but didn't have to worry due to the long wait for the final corrals to start.
The race enforces its time limits for the marathoners with two cut-off points. As of 2011, the time limits for the marathon do not allow for walkers.
While this is a mostly flat course, it can be challenging with cold and wind and racers may not achieve their best times. For 2009, temperatures were around the freezing mark. I used a windbreaker, long sleeved technical t-shirt, running pants, gloves and ear-covering hat. I carried a light backpack to stow my gear in as I warmed up. In past years, temperature have gone from 30F at the start to 60F four hours later.
This is a race I would happily do every year.
Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon Photo Gallery