Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 | 11:04 a.m.
The first of the 50,000 visitors for Sunday’s Fifth Annual Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon on the Strip have begun arriving with 50 states and more than 50 countries represented. There are 44 elite world-champion runners among the 30,000 entrants this year with 58 percent female runners and 42 percent male.
For entertainment this year, expect 25 bands on 19 stages along the 26.2-mile route and the half-marathon run. That means 110 musicians using 114 microphones and 400 speakers. Just the music alone calls for 45 stagehand volunteers!
Fun facts include 65,000 bottles of water stored for the 440,000 paper cups to be handed out along the run for the 30,000 official entrants; that means nearly 7,000 trash bags!
Other provisions on hand include 24,000 bottles of Gatorade, 30,000 cartons of chocolate milk, 34,000 power bars, 21,000 bagels, 24,000 energy gel packets, 15,000 bags of pretzels and 16,500 apples.
In addition to the 250-strong Elvis runners in white Lycra, sequins and wacky wigs, another 75 couples will exchange and renew vows at the Run-Thru Wedding Chapel. More than 350 uniformed police officers will be on duty to ensure an injury-free event for the expected 80,000 spectators.
There will be 21 refreshments along the course with 38 mile and kilometer markers set up and 29 clocks showing the runners how they are doing. In case of blisters or dehydration during the run, organizers have on hand 40 1-pound jars of Vaseline, 500 40-pound bags of ice, 7,500 blister squares, 5,000 Band-Aids, 85,000 salt packets, 366 cots and 30,000 Mylar blankets for the runners as they cross the finish line. And 558 Port –O-Johns will be available.
More than 34,000 feet of fencing will line the route, and 4,000 cones will be used. Drivers be forewarned and note the road closings Sunday evening; 65,000 road-closure notices are being posted.
In addition to the race, 100 exhibitors will showcase running products at the Health & Fitness Expo, which features 10 interactive clinics in 100,000 square feet of space. It’s the first time in its five-year history the expo has expanded to our Las Vegas Convention Center.
I will toast the runners with an official welcome Saturday night at the pre-race bulk-up pasta dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Mirage.
Green Valley resident Nicole Christenson, a UNLV graduate and runner, will be the manager of the event for the San Diego-based Competitor Group, who stages the franchise. It’s her third year with the race, but once again she won’t have time to be a competitor, which is a dream of hers. She’ll be in executive shoes rather than runner’s sneakers.
For the first time, the 2013 marathon has moved from its traditional date on the first weekend of December coinciding with the National Finals Rodeo and now takes place this weekend. Last year, more than $4 million was raised for the Crohns & Colitis Foundation. It also produced more than $183 million for our valley, with $86 million in direct-visitor spending in 89,000 room nights.
The Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon is unlike any other run in the United States. A new Zappos.com Half of the Half, already sold out with 2,500 competitors, has been added, and that 6.5-mile trot will begin at the marathon start line and race down the Strip with a finish line at Container Park near Zappos’ new headquarters.
That will get underway at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with the same start line just south of Mandalay Bay as the two big races at 4:30 p.m. From the Strip’s neon lights to downtown, the runners will go out and back under the Fremont Street Experience canopy. This year, the finish line will be mid-Strip in front of the Mirage volcano.
All eight lanes of the Strip will be closed, making it the ultimate neon-lit block party. Vegas DeLuxe warmly welcomes all of the competitors and wishes them a great race!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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