Las Vegas Marathon, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2005
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.
Course: It’s boring but definitely one where a PB could be achieved (if the wind cooperates)
Great Time to be Had After the Marathon: Exceptional (if that fits into your schedule!!!)