Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Report

The Green Girl ran down The Strip at night at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon this weekend.

There were 44,000 runners and walkers registered for the event. The course started and ended at Mandalay Bay. The full marathon started at 4:00 PM and the half started an hour and a half later.

The Green Girl's Sole Runners shirt and bib
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Team Challenge Endurance Training Program was the official race charity. Runners registered with Team Challenge raised money to help the 1.4 million Americans suffering from Crohn’s and colitis.

I walked to the Mandalay Bay starting area with a couple of Sole Runners, Barb and Kerri.

The evening was warmer than expected and I welcomed the respite from the harsh Las Vegas winds.

Tiger in cage at the Start of the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll
I immediately regretted consuming a pre-race chocolatey nut burst Marathon Bar when I started suffering from intense stomach cramps before I even got into my corral.

After a seemingly endless line and my much needed bathroom visit, Kerri and I found ourselves running after the official Tail Vehicle down the starting chute.

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Tail Vehicle
As soon as we crossed the Starting Line, we did our best to weave through the crowd but there were a lot of walkers on the far left so it was challenging.

Articles of throwaway clothing were randomly strewn on the race course and I almost tripped over a bulky sweatshirt.

The full marathoners also merged with the half on the left side but the only barrier was the occasional orange cone with a small sign indicating Marathon to the left and Half to the right.

Aid stations on the left side of the course only exacerbated the situation because everyone was crossing over into the narrow marathon lane to get water.

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Mandalay Bay Starting Line
I grabbed some water at the Mile 1.5 and 3.1 aid stations but each time I took a sip my stomach cramps worsened.

At around Mile 4, I told Kerri I wasn't feeling well. I moved to the right and slowed my pace as I tried to scope out upcoming porta-potties.

Since we were running in an industrial section off The Strip, I couldn't find a business to run into to use their bathroom.

I even ran off the course to a gas station but the attendant refused to let me use the facility.

I somehow managed to make it to the porta-potties at Mile 7.5.

The Green Girl barely made it to the Mile 7.5 porta-potties
After relieving myself, I found it difficult to maintain a consistent pace. Depending on the intensity of my stomach cramps, I alternated between running and walking.

I also considered making myself throw up and wondered if that would ease the intestinal cramping.

As I was walking, I realized I somehow missed the Run-Thru Wedding Chapel at Mile 3.

View of the Stratosphere from the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll course
By this point, all the aid stations appeared to be out of water. Even though my stomach couldn't handle hydration, I hoped all the other runners and walkers were okay.

I thoroughly enjoyed the portions of the course that were on The Strip with its abundance of quintessential neon lights.

Running down The Strip
An internal dialogue took place inside my head where it was agreed that effective immediately, I will refrain from all sports nutrition experimentation.

The billboard at the finish confused me because I thought I'd reached the Finish Line but it was actually a quarter of a mile around a curve.

I was too dehydrated and hungry to get a second wind so I just jogged across the Finish Line.

Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Medal
A cheerful volunteer handed me my medal. I quickly put it around my neck and skipped the Finisher's photo.

I needed some soda to settle my stomach and something to eat to ease the cramps. Unfortunately, they had only water and unripe green bananas that could not even be peeled.

There was a food concession adjacent to the finish area. I tried to buy a ginger ale but was informed they had closed for the night. After I asserted how badly I was in need of that soda, the guy angrily handed it to me at no charge.

Post Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Race chaos at Mandalay Bay
As I was trying to locate an exit, Kerri spotted me. We naively followed the crowd to the shelter of the Mandalay Bay lobby as it started to rain and the temperature abruptly dropped.

Inside the hotel was pure chaos. The taxi line was unfathomable. There was confusion surrounding the availability of post-race shuttles.

Although the ginger ale had soothed my stomach, I was still feeling weak from lack of food. Luckily, Kerri was able to sustain me with a bag of pretzels.

The Green Girl's vote for Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Best Costume
The highlight of the Mandalay Bay finish fail was spotting a runner with an actual iconic 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign around her neck.

I must admit I was disappointed by the entire Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas experience.

It was unfortunate that an event of this magnitude from a national franchise like the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series would be so poorly executed.


  1. I am sorry you had such a difficult time. I would think a huge event like that would be organized better.
    There were some runners running CIM marathon in Sacramento in the morning, hopping on the plane to make it to Las Vegas Marathon.
    I am impressed that you stuck with it.

  2. I can't believe how many bad race reports I've read on this race!! I'm so glad that I didn't go out there to do it! I hope you're feeling better!

  3. Um, yeah. I'm sure Competitor has heard plenty of complaints by now, and I expect there will be more. It was so much fun last year with the earlier start and not as many people.

    Sorry to hear you got so sick. I feel for you, since a similar situation happened to me at the La Jolla Half earlier this year. I hope you're feeling better by now. That has to be the worst feeling, plus not being able to find a restroom.

    It was a pleasure meeting you at the Tweet-up, and I believe you mentioned running Carlsbad or at least being there?

    Take care. There are better times ahead. :)

  4. I'm sorry you got sick. I hope, and I mean REALLY hope they get their shit together.

  5. I'm sorry you were sick. That's definitely no fun. But way to hang in there!
    It sounds like the race was a mess for everyone who ran it. Hopefully the organizers learns from their mistakes and improve next year's event.

  6. I'm so sorry you had such a hard time. I hope you are feeling better by now.

    It was great to meet you on Saturday and find that we are so close. Let me know if you ever need a running buddy!

  7. Sorry you had to deal with such an unprofessionally run marathon. I volunteered at the event, and needless to say, will not be doing it again. (Particularly after being told to make a man trying to get to his wife in a medical tent walk the long way more than 15-20 minutes around, and having to get an EMT to override the staff member's decision... and hearing about how medical staff were called for a man having a heart attack near the finish line, but no one actually going to help him until several minutes after, along with several other issues...)

    Hope you have better luck at other marathons. Maybe Competitor will learn from their mistakes, but I doubt it.

  8. oh man, i'm so sorry to hear about your day. :( you poor thing.

  9. It was not good. I have run it three years in row now. The others actually were pretty well done. Especially last year. No issues at all at that one.

    It was just the sheer size of the event and having it at night. Having it at night limited the organizers to some very strange course changes. Especially, considering the size of the event. Having this event at night, on the Strip sounded like a great idea - yet I think ALL who participated quickly realized by mile 3 why we do these early in AM instead.

    Competitor deserves a big "F" on this one. I hope they learn from it all. Plus, seriously consider there is such a thing as TOO big.

  10. So great to meet you. This race was crazy. Sorry to hear you got sick. Yuck! My recap will be up soon just got home and I did not enjoy this race at all either. Way to stick it out and finish.

  11. Did you see there was an article in the Las Vegas newspaper a day or two after that stated tons of people were having serious stomach problems and they think it was because the water on the course was from a fire hydrant. True story!!

    I'm still sad I didn't get to hang with you for the weekend but glad I didn't invest so much $ to end up being such a crappy race. If I'm going to run craptastically, I want it on my own doing, not because ill-thought race director had to go cheap.

  12. Oh what a mess. Sorry you weren't feeling good. Heres to better races soon!

  13. Did you see this?

  14. Here's another article


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