Las Vegas 2010

[Sun 5th Dec 2010] 


Two of Blyths (In recent history) most experienced marathon runners set off a day early to do a course recce for the remainder of the team following on later.

The news filtered back was that the course was lined by shops and Brett Michaels (Lead singer of “Poison”) was going to entertain the crowds!  No mention of weather conditions at start time, or gradients of the course were ever going to be given!!!.  Thanks Davina and Adele!.


The weather conditions back home meant that a normal 12 hour trip was replaced by a full 24 hours of travel and airports.  The stress of which was overwhelming at times.  The pure relief to finally get there was fantastic.  Having eight hours sleep in total the four days before a race wasn’t ideal though.


The Friday and Saturday before the races (Sunday) was the Expo; this was at the Venetian Hotel and was massive.  You had to attend in person (as for London) to collect your race numbers and instructions.

At the Expo once the formalities are done, the American way of retail and information becomes quite familiar and really sets the scene for the rest of our stay.  Customer service is absolute, if there is a big queue and you’d expect a 20 min wait here, I'd be surprised if the wait was 5 mins over there.

Brooks were the main running shoe sponsors, but Nike and New Balance also had a presence.  The prices of goods is generally less expensive than here, the shoes I got were about two thirds the price of what you would pay over here.  You could easily spend all day wandering about and buying, or trying different items.


Both the marathon and half marathon started early at 7 am, not so much to do with the temperatures but as they had closed “the strip”, which is the main street, down for numerous hours they then needed to get it open quickly afterwards. The temperatures were 4 c at the start and 23 c at the finish!.

Once again organisation was second to none.  The amount of marshals and volunteers was incredible.  Simple things like the baggage drop and collect after worked instantly, no climbing on a bus to try to find your bag (Note to Brendan!).  There were plenty of loos too, no waiting was required.

Interestingly you were not encouraged to arrive too early.  Basically about half an hour before the start was ok.

You get into your assigned pen, based upon your current times for half or full marathons, and quite quickly you are off.  It all has loads of space, and Cher set us away on time.  I was the only one in my area wearing a club top only, the rest had long sleeves and some had those new arm warmers.


It's all chip timed, with a chip you just keep and don’t hand in.  Away and back along the strip you go for 13 miles or so, past all the famous Hotels, Volcanoes and Eiffel Towers!.  The rest of the course is for the marathon runners, this was quite undulating, and unfortunately it wasn’t very scenic as it wove its way meandering through housing and light industrial areas before reappearing on the strip at the finish at the Mandalay Bay (Where the boxing fights are).  

The course was much harder underfoot than ours over here, due to the hard concrete as a base layer the Americans use on their roads.  The water and energy drink was plentiful it was about every 1.5 miles towards the end and every 2 or 3 miles before hand. But this was provided in cups and not bottles, drinking on the move is a hassle……….

The support is pretty good especially along the half marathon route, but later on it gets a bit sparse. 

At the finish we were treated to a great concert from Brett Michaels and his rock band.  (The actual race is from the Rock and Roll Marathon Series).  The usual water, energy drink, fruit, recovery bars, ordinary sweets and even ice were provided at the finish.

You could have actually watched any runner coming into the finish via a live web feed, from the UK. 


After all that we went for Pizza for lunch!


The rest of the holiday was spent shopping (ladies), seeing Hoover Dam, shopping (ladies), eating out, relaxing and doing shopping (ladies).

I’m fairly sure that our lot have enhanced the Las Vegas economy tenfold in one week.  As we have all been to Las Vegas on other occasions, we didn’t really revisit the famous hotels such as the Venetian with its canals or Paris with its Eiffel Tower.  All the hotels have their own set of restaurants and shops, as well as a casino.


The journey back was a lot less stressful than the journey out. 


Overall we all mentioned that the half marathon seemed the best idea for the future.  All of us did very well.


Thanks to Davina and Adele, together with Alison for putting up with me for a week.  I’m sorry Adele that none of us got to see Donny and Marie and that I didn’t notice Davina's wig! (It really is jolly nice)


Iain Singer