Running the Las Vegas strip at night is one of those “must do” races solely for the experience.
Like races such as run the runway or race track, you are running for the uniqueness and bucket list checkmark, not the PR with Rock n Roll Vegas. Although the Strip is very flat so you may be able to PR. The strip is also fairly wide so there wasn’t a ton of dodge and weaving, save for the start.
Rock n Roll Vegas offers a 5K (Saturday night), 10K, half or full marathon on Sunday night. Yes, night. Both races are at night, which is different from the other Rock n Roll races. And most other races I have ever done. Of course, if you do both the 5K plus a Sunday race you earn the remix medal. You can come home with three shiny things!
The 5K was held at the fairgrounds across from SLS. It was a quick monorail ride to that start. It was cool after dark but not cold and they had a DJ blasting music to give it a party feel. The wait in the corral was long and seemed to take forever. Once we started we were dumped onto Sammy Davis Jr, which was the majority of the course. We ran down to Desert Inn Road, went part way down and headed back to Sammy Davis Jr. Finally, we did a few twists and turns through a parking lot. During the parking lot section, I overheard a woman saying this was the worst 5K course! Granted, it wasn’t my favorite but I’ve had much worse. The runner’s chute was short and I was done with everything in about an hour. The medal was sparkly and looks like a slot machine!
Sunday night was the big party! I mean, race..
The strip gets entirely shut down for this race. Runners take over both sides. It was definitely a sight to see and experience. There were three color corrals and each color had 12-16 corrals in them. So that adds up to a whole lot of runners! I spent at least an hour in the corral. My feet and legs were already a bit tired when I started despite trying to stay off of them most of the day. I spent hours in the hotel (almost driving myself nuts not doing anything LOL).
Once started, it took a little bit to settle in and get around the initial groupings of walkers. We started off between Planet Hollywood and MGM and headed toward the airport. We passed the “Welcome to Vegas” sign and many people stopped to take photos. They even had professionals there. I skipped the stop and kept going. We turned around about two miles in. On the way back I stopped for .2 seconds to get a photo of the sign.
Then it was the long stretch all the way to Freemont before we turned around again and headed toward the strip. The best parts of the longer out-and-back were the crowds. People were everywhere on the strip, even in the pedestrian villages cheering us on. It really helps to hear people yelling and clapping for everyone our running.
The worse part was probably the stretch between the end of the strip, starting around Circus Circus until you got to Freemont and turned around. There wasn’t a lot of crowd support there and not much to see either. Mostly wedding chapels, a $10 tattoo or piercing shop, and some famous pawn shop. I only know this because the people behind me were talking about it and a few people had stopped to get photos.
The area around Freemont turned into a party again. Lots of people, lights, and music!
Around mile 9 I started to get cold and tired. I wanted it to be over but I kept pushing through. I told myself I was strong, I trained for this, and I can do it! I kept going, might have been a little slower but I decided I had enough to keep running. I took my last gel around mile 11. I wasn’t sure if I would need it but took it just in case and was glad I did. It helped push me through to the finish.
The finisher’s chute was almost .5 miles long! I didn’t grab a thermal blanket and soon regretted that decision. I also grabbed a chocolate milk and started drinking. I couldn’t get any of the snacks (granola bar, Pringles, and pretzels) as none were gluten-free. I couldn’t find the bananas. If they had any left I didn’t see them. I did finally get a thermal blanket from another tent, which I was thankful for. I still had a bit to go before I would meet up with family and my sweats!
The runner’s chute finally ended (between Ceaser’s and the Bellagio) and I went to get my remix medal. It took me a couple of seconds to find the tent but they were super efficient. There was maybe 7-8 people ahead of me but it moved.
As a runner/athlete with celiac disease, I have to eat gluten-free. I can’t deviate or have “just a little” or I will be sick for weeks. Sadly, I can’t just take whatever at races. I understand this is a unique issue for me but with how big the Rock n Roll races/series is I can’t believe they don’t offer at least one other option than half a banana. At the Arizona race in January, I couldn’t even stay to enjoy the after party because I could only get half a banana and I needed food. I was disappointed to not see Everclear (had been looking forward to it) but after a hard race, half a banana wasn’t going to cut it. Luckily in Vegas, we had reservations and they took us early so I was able to get food right away.
Overall, I am happy I did this race. Would I do it again? Probably not. The experience was amazing! The course wasn’t bad and I had my third fastest half. Oh, and the medals are awesome. Probably my favorite I have ever gotten so far! My biggest issue was the sheer amount of people and the long wait times.