Las Vegas Marathon, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005

Susan Siderman


            It’s been said “What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.”  I, however, will tell all…

about the Las Vegas Marathon.

            The 39th Las Vegas Marathon was on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005.  To run this marathon was my way of

celebrating my 60th birthday. There I was on the start line having entered a new age-group division only one day earlier.

             The 2200 marathoners (3400 in the half marathon) were taken by bus about 25 miles from the heart of

Las Vegas, THE STRIP.  As my bus driver said to us as he pulled into a large gas station area, “Welcome to the

middle of nowhere.”  Nowhere was actually the desert where the marathon began and continued for about 18 miles. 

Boulders, cacti and mountains were on either side of State Road 604.  No spectators, no traffic, only runners

(and aid station volunteers every other mile until mile 18 when aid stations were available every mile).

            The temperature at the 7:30 A.M. start was about 40 degrees.  Four hours, 30 mins. later it was in

the low 50s.  The course was a good one but it was a very hard day.  Let me explain.  The first 8.5 miles were

a gradual incline.  Then the road was a downhill (mile 8.5 to 18) and finally it was flat (18-26.2).  Sounds great, right. 

Well, the hard part was the wind.  From miles 0-23 there was a very strong headwind which at times felt like a

brick wall.  It was relentless.  At mile 23 the course changed direction and whew---no more wind.  At the end

of the race my face felt warm and I realized I had a wind burn. 

            Until about mile 18 the course was literally in the middle of the desert.  What struck me at this point was

that new home communities began to appear.  Quite literally the expansion of Las Vegas into the desert was taking

place before my eyes.  Every so often a low high-rise (about 6 stories) would also be seen.  In addition to the

homes there were small strip malls that provide services and stores to these new communities.  I know that

THE STRIP started in this manner but I still found it fascinating that a new community was being built along with

roads being planned and paved.

            From this point until mile 25 the course wound its way through these new developments and ended in

Sunset Park in Las Vegas.


Ratings:            Course: It’s boring but definitely one where a PB could be achieved

                                     (if the wind cooperates)

                        Organization: Great

                        Great Time to be Had After the Marathon: Exceptional

                                      (if that fits into your schedule!!!)


             A Small-World Story:

                             Late Saturday afternoon my friend Martha who lives in Henderson, outside of Las Vegas,

5 of her friends and I went to a restaurant in Las Vegas to carbo-load (we had our own pasta party although

there is one through the marathon).  Who should enter the restaurant about a half hour after us but 6 ladies

who either still work at the NYRR or used to?  I recognized 3 of them, one of whom was Arlene who many

MERMS know.  I felt as if I was in a foreign country and I just met others who spoke English.  What a hoot!!! 

The ladies were entered in the half marathon and were about to carbo-load as well.

            Celebrating one’s birthday by running a marathon is perfectly understandable to other marathon runners;

to others---well---let’s not go there.  I want to thank my husband Harvey for letting me be… ME. 

We celebrated the week before and we celebrated the week after but on my birthday weekend I celebrated

by running the Las Vegas Marathon.