Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | 4:02 p.m.
The Las Vegas Marathon is getting amped up thanks to a healthy dose of Rock 'n' Roll.
Organizers of the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon announced at a press conference in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign Wednesday that this year's runners will have full access to the Strip.
For the first time ever, all lanes in both directions on Las Vegas Boulevard will be shut down for the Dec. 6 event.
"This is an exciting day," said Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid. "Our job is to bring people to Las Vegas and have things for them to do while they are here and this marathon is the perfect way to do it. I hope you can envision tens of thousands of people waiting to run down the most famous street in the world."
The marathon will no longer pass through Fremont Street, but the race's organizers, The Competitor Group, believe the unprecedented access to the Strip will revitalize an oft-maligned event in Las Vegas.
The half-marathon will run entirely on Las Vegas Boulevard while the full race will make a loop heading west on Twain Avenue, south on Rainbow Boulevard, then back east on Hacienda Avenue before finishing at Mandalay Bay.
"We wanted to give it a nice, clean fresh start and really bring an event this city deserves," said Adam Zocks, the general manager of Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas. "We've had incredible support with everyone from the city and county so far."
The Competitor Group organizes Rock 'n' Roll marathons in 11 other cities, attracting more than 250,000 participants annually. One unique feature of the Rock 'n' Roll marathons is that live bands perform at each mile marker with cheerleaders and themed water stations.
Although only about 13,000 runners participated in last year's marathon, the Competitor Group hopes to attract at least 20,000 competitors this year.
If they can meet that goal, then those 20,000 runners would pump more than $40 million into the local economy, according to Bruce Herring, the Senior Vice Present of Events for the Competitor Group.
Herring estimates that half of the event's racers will come from outside Las Vegas with each runner bringing an average of two people with him or her, and spending in average of three nights in a hotel.
The taxes alone would add up to nearly $1 million in revenue for local government –- a figure that had Mayor Oscar Goodman beaming.
"We are going to have a huge crowd here for a big, big party and that's what Las Vegas is all about," Goodman said.
In addition to the Zappos.com-sponsored full and half marathons, McDonald's is sponsoring a children's race, which the Competitor Group hopes will draw 2,000 young racers. Prior to the race there will be a free Health and Fitness Expo on Dec. 4 and 5.
The benefactor of the 2009 Marathon is the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.
Interested runners can sign up for all races at rnrvegas.com. The full marathon fee is $105 through Aug. 15. After that the entry fee jumps to $120.
One Las Vegas resident who won't be signing up is Goodman.
"I wouldn't even consider participating in the marathon," Goodman joked. "I will be viewing it. I will probably start up early in the morning with a martini in my hand and I can promise you I will continue drinking until the last runner finishes the race."
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].