You know that it’s getting close to the starting gun when local media starts relaying the road closures for next Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon on the Strip.
The marathon’s been a funny fit for the Strip since it landed there in 2005. It’s a strange cross between group travel, an athletic event, and a New Year’s Eve-type public party. Like National Finals Rodeo, it brings people to town during a slow season, but the marathon is both much shorter (a half-day as opposed to nearly two weeks) and has a greater immediate impact—at least if you’re trying to get in or out of Strip hotels while the Strip is shut down.
Still, for the past seven years, the casinos, the county, and the organizers have all felt that the event is worth all the trouble. And the route itself, rather than the achievement of the race, is the primary attraction, with most advertisements hyping the possibility of running the Strip at night rather than reaching personal fitness goals.
By the way, if your personal fitness goals include running the half-marathon in about two hours, you can join a pace group with this writer. For more details, visit the Las Vegas in Motion booth at the race expo (at the Sands convention center) to join that pace group or one of several groups, both faster and slower.
It says a great deal about the versatility of Las Vegas that the street on which thousands of runners will be shooting for personal records on Sunday will, a few weeks later, see the raging hedonism of New Year’s Eve. This city is nothing if not accommodating, that’s for sure.