Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Report

Posted on Nov 23, 2014 under Race | No Comment


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon is probably one of biggest races of the year, definitely on one of the most famous stages that you can imagine (running down the Las Vegas Strip at night!). I forget the exact number, but this race has taken place in Las Vegas for a few years now and I’ve always wanted to run it since I heard about it. I had a friend run this race the first year they had it in Vegas and heard about a lot of issues for the inaugural race. Fortunately, the Rock ‘n’ Roll team learned from those mistakes and have improved in those areas. The real reason I ran this race was because a friend who had always wanted to run a half marathon chose this particular race to be her first half, not a bad choice. I was also able to convince another friend to sign up, so we tried to make this a group event. There were many perks for running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon, which I’ll get into. But Meb Keflezighi was also going to run this race and was pacing the 1:45 half marathon group. As mentioned in my Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego half marathon race report, you may remember that I tried to run with him for the 1:30 pace, but was only able to run 7 miles with him before falling back. I was very confident that I would be able to run the 1:45 time and was looking forward to running the whole race with Meb. Here are the official results: 1:43:35 (7:55 min/mile), AG: 94/778, gender: 695/9340, overall: 871/25,172.


I’m actually not a fan of race expos, if I could just pick up my race bib the morning of the race (without paying a fee), I would. I almost never buy anything from the expos (you never want to race in shoes you just bought the day before without breaking them in!) and there aren’t really that many samples to try out. The expo for this race took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which I’ve never been to before. I flew in Saturday morning and arrived about 30 minutes before it opened and there was actually a line to get in! As a Tour Pass holder, I had the opportunity to meet Meb at the expo. Once they let us into the expo, I picked up my bib and walked straight to the Rock ‘n’ Roll section of the expo to line up for autographs and photos with Meb. Since it still early, there weren’t too many people at the expo yet, but they were open until 7pm, so I knew it would get pretty busy.



I’m fairly certain that there were a lot more perks for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas than any other race I’ve ran before. There were discounts at a bunch of restaurants as well as for things like massages and other services. And because this was Vegas, we were given free entry to some of the most popular clubs with open bar! I missed out on the Friday night perks but wanted to take advantage of the rest while I was there. The race was on Sunday at 4:30pm, so you definitely want to be careful what you do in Vegas before the race and hope you still have energy after the race to go out later that night. But before going out, I made my way to the new 5K race on Saturday night, followed by a free concert with Chromeo! So even though I did go out Saturday night, I was able to sleep in on Sunday morning to ensure I got enough rest. I had a late lunch near the hotel and then got ready for the race. But before the race, we the headliner concert with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took place at the start line festival. That was a great way to get pumped up to run down the Las Vegas Strip!




This race used to take place in December, but they moved it to November because it was too cold to run at night at the desert. Unfortunately, it was still pretty cold that weekend, so I actually wore a long sleeve shirt and gloves for the race. The sun was still out when we started the race, but went down within the first mile or so of the start. As I mentioned before, I was planning to run with Meb at the 1:45 pace group. I had ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles half marathon just a few weeks before at an impressive 1:31 finishing time. Before the race, I didn’t know how I would perform and was surprised when I was able to run at a faster pace and able to hold it for most of the race. So I was fairly confident that I would be able to run a 1:45 and finally be able to run a whole race with Meb!

The estimated finish time I usually provide when I register for a race typically places me in the 1st or 2nd corral, so it was a change when I to run in corral 6/7. The start of the race was interesting since we were so far back where a lot more runners would be. A 1:45 finish time is about 8 min/mile, but when the race started, I know we were running faster than that. I think my friend joked that might happen, so kind of weed out runners who shouldn’t be in that corral. I was easily able to run at the faster pace and then settled into the actual pace afterwards. Similar to the run in San Diego, there was a motorcycle ahead of Meb filming him running with everyone around him. There were definitely a lot more runners in this group than the 1:30 group back in June. I was able to run along with Meb as well as a few paces ahead for most of the race. There would always be a different runner Meb would run next to and just chat with them a little bit. I finally got my chance when we ended up running side by side and I told him how I tried to run with him in SD but could not hang on. I congratulated him on his impressive finish in New York and even talked about training runs. It was pretty cool when we would catch up to a slower runner and our group would pass them and they see that it was Meb and they actually recognized him. He would talk to them for a second before continuing on, but they felt special getting to meet him during the race.

The pace itself wasn’t too bad, we were actually going a little faster than 8 minute pace each mile too. I did start to feel dehydrated and/or low on energy the last few miles. Gatorade and water helped, but I was very happy to take one of the energy gels that they were passing out and it really felt like it kicked in. The course was pretty straight forward, start at the bottom of the strip and run up, go off the strip into a bunch of random neighborhoods and then finish back on the strip. So the start and finish is definitely where all the excitement took place. I was able to finish the race with Meb and the rest of the group with a little bit more energy than I usually have at the end of a half marathon. But my goal was to run the whole race with Meb and I did it (check that off my bucket list!)

Final Thoughts

Not much happened after the race, I got my snacks and space blanket and tried to find my way out of the finisher’s area. Like I said, it was really cold at night, combine that with sweat soaked clothes and it just makes things worse. I had a quick dinner nearby (with a much needed bowl of clam chowder) and took a cab back to my hotel to get ready to go out later that night! Fortunately, I wasn’t too exhausted from the race and was able to stay awake for the rest of the night and utilize the free perks for Sunday night before checking out of my hotel the next afternoon. Most of the races I run, it’s ‘all business’ for me. I really just go to the races to run and compete. This race was different because it was in Las Vegas. It was more of a mini-vacation to Vegas and running a half marathon while I’m there. And because I knew I wasn’t running hard or fast (to my usual standards), I was able to enjoy the rest of the weekend more. Would I do this race again? Probably, I went to this race with a friend who was there just for the food and company, but after learning about all of the cool perks, he may just sign up to participate next year. And I definitely would consider making a return for round 2!





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