Las Vegas Marathon 2009

Las Vegas Marathon, December 6, 2009. I signed up for this marathon some 6-7 weeks ago, but then a few weeks later, I developed a sore achilles tendon after pushing my limits a bit too much. My wife and two other friends, Earl Z. and David B. had also signed up, so I decided to go there anyway.

The last mile of the Half Marathon
The last mile of the Half Marathon

This marathon is now a Rock’n’ Roll Series Marathon, and I thought it was well organized. There were a lot of people, about 27,000, in this race, counting both the half and the full marathon. Both these started at the same time, except the elite women marathoners started 19 minutes earlier than the men. Also, the half marathon finishers finished from a different direction than the marathoners, but both races ended in the same general finish area, which seemed to work very well.

As for me, I decided to start the race and see how far I could jog without any achilles tendon pain. I had run only a couple of times the last 4 weeks, and every time I’ve tried jogging, it’s been hurting after only a few minutes. It turned out the same way this time, but I ran really slow and the pain didn’t get worse, so I decided to keep going for a while. A while turned out longer than expected; about 20 kilometres, in fact. I ran with Earl and David in the beginning, and it was fun to run down the strip to the Las Vegas old downtown area and back. By the time I got to MGM, I saw the 12 mile marker, and I called it quits and went to my hotel room. Perfect timing.

As I iced my achilles for a while, I saw the live coverage of the men’s and womens’ races. As I already mentioned, the women started 19 minutes ahead of the men, and the idea was for the men to chase the women down. The first person to reach the finish line would receive a nice bonus. Great idea! Made it a bit extra interesting. The male winner, Christopher Toroitich, ran well and won in 2:15:15. However, he could not catch the female winner, Caroline Rotich, who was first over the finish line in 2:29:47.

Denise and Maxine ran dressed up as Elvis
Denise and Maxine ran dressed up as Elvis

It was quite cold when the race started at 6:15am. 34 F or about 1 degree Celsius. Brr! However, that is pretty good marathon weather though, and not much of a problem.

The start was interesting too, as it was announced that Cher was going to sing the US national anthem. Ahem, it was actually Celine Dion holding the microphone, and she had to correct the announcer, who of course was quite embarrassed by his mistake! She sang beautifully of course, and even though I had no business being in the first corral this time, I was glad I was there. Additionally, on each side of the starting line were white tigers in cages, as well as very lightly dressed female dancers… I sure didn’t feel cold at that time!

The atmosphere was great. With more than 35 live bands, cheerleaders and Elvises (referred to as “Elvi” in plural), there was never a dull moment.

Ethiopia dominated the half marathon. Bekana Daba won the men’s race in 1:01:40, and Werknesh Kidane was the first female, finishing in 1:10:55.  The top male American was Stephen Muange, who was third in 1:03:11. Desi Davila placed second and was the top American female in 1:12:14.

My friend Earl finished in 3:23 in his first ever marathon, and he did a great job on this first one. David ran his slowest marathon so far I think, 3:28, but he had not been training at all for this and I think he was just happy to finish and have it over with. It’s okay to not always be competitive!

Other people I know in Edmonton ran well too; Warren Fink had 1:20:38 on the half marathon, while A.J. Rankel ran a strong 2:42:04 in the marathon.

My wife ran dressed up as Elvis, and so did a large number of other runners. I still don’t know exactly how many Elvi ran this day, but there were sure a lot of them.

I will probably come back to this race in the future. One thing I thought of is to come back and run the half marathon. It’s very flat and should be a super fast course if there is no wind. The first thing to accomplish first however, is to get over this achilles tendon problem.

Have a look at the complete Las Vegas half and full marathon results.

Earl finishing strong!
Earl finishing strong!
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