Really Big Free Half Marathon Las Vegas Race Report

The Green Girl did the inaugural Really Big Free Half Marathon Las Vegas at Lake Mead National Recreation Area at the beginning of this month.

This race was the brainchild of the io events race management company. The strategy was to offset the registrant costs to the race sponsors.

A refundable deposit of $50 was required during registration.

Really Big Free Marathon Las Vegas Starting Line at Lake Mead National Recreation Area
According to the Really Big Free FAQ, all runners who crossed the Starting Line with their timing chips will be refunded in the form of a $50 check four to six weeks after the event.

Fellow Sole Runners Barb, Kerri, and Sandy, also participated in this race.

Sole Runners Sandy, John, and Barb at the Really Big Free Marathon Las Vegas Starting Line
We arrived at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area just before sun rise to see Kerri off for the marathon.

We quickly discovered the fortuitousness of already being there for Kerri's early marathon start when the half was delayed due to logistical parking and traffic problems.

Really Big Free Marathon Las Vegas Half Marathon Starting Line
At one point, the race organizers even announced there was a possibility the race could be cancelled.

The course was along the scenic rolling hills of the River Mountain Loop Trail.

I went into this race undertrained and without any expectations since I'm still dealing with the Achilles tendon bursitis (retrocalcaneal bursitis) in my right heel.

The course was along the scenic River Mountain Loop Trail
To avoid aggravating my heel, I started off easy and maintained a steady jog throughout the race.

The slower pace enabled me to relax and enjoy the beauty of Lake Mead.

Since the course followed the River Mountain Loop Trail, it was easy to follow and all crossings were clearly marked.

Sole Runner Barb taking a post-run dip in Lake Mead
The aide stations were well stocked with water but there appeared to have been a shortage of sports drink.

At the finish, a number of runners took a post-run dip in Lake Mead in lieu of an ice bath.

I really enjoyed the inaugural Really Big Free Half Marathon and look forward to participating in future Really Big Free events.

Update: As of Friday, January 4th, 2013, the following message appears on the Really Big Free Half Marathon Las Vegas Race website:

This is the hardest message we have ever written.
You would think that business is business but THIS business represents years of real blood, sweat, tears, memories, and sacrifice. The past year we’ve pushed ahead with the attitude that failure is not an option, emotionally vested in a business and industry that has slowly realized it is not as recession proof as was once touted. Our emotional commitment to our races blinded us to some serious problems such as significantly increasing race organization costs, increasing regulatory red-tape, declining participation numbers, sponsorship cut-backs, and our burgeoning debt.
We forged ahead, investing in the races waiting for the economy to improve, sponsors to follow through on their promises, and for there to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel – yet the reality is, at least for us, there is no hint of glow coming from the path ahead. Aggregate participation numbers have been significantly down for the past year and numbers going forward look even worse. And it’s a struggle many race organizers our size are sharing. At this point, our credit cards are maxed out… and with some vendors having been paid and others still waiting we find ourselves in a tough spot with our backs against the wall; we’re broke, and we’re facing a dire and unfamiliar situation that appears to have only one solution; after nearly 7 years of organizing races, we’re closing our doors. This closure means the cancellation of the Really Big Free Series.
As for refunds - we're working on it and we hope to have a time table available in the coming weeks.
For those of you who have supported us through the years we are so grateful – we wish we could push on; we’ve poured our hearts into this company and the prospect of not organizing races is just heartbreaking.
See you down road,
~Karen & Richard
You may email us at contact@ioevents.com / or call our office at (928) 855 - 4887.


  1. What a fun idea! I guess if it's free you can't really hold parking issues and lack of sports drinks against them. =)

  2. That sounds like so much fun, hooray for you!! Thinking of you and sending you big turkey day hugs! :)

  3. Well done Green Girl! Running relaxed is a good way to complete a half marathon. Hope that Achilles sorts out soon. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Did you ever receive your refund? My friends and I did not.

    1. I did not. And based on that note, I'm not expecting to. Bleh.

  5. I ran this too! :) I never did get my refund and received no responses to my email inquiries. Not sure why I never checked back on their website, but glad I stumbled upon your blog with this update. It was still a great race for only $50, if I never see that refund. If you're interested, you can read my report here.

    1. I had a good time, too, so I'm not overly disappointed. I'll go read your race report now!


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