December 17, 2008

2008 Las Vegas Marathon: Review

It’s been over a week since I ran the Las Vegas Marathon but it is still fresh in my mind. Here is a detailed analysis of the Las Vegas Marathon. Keep in mind this was my first marathon. Enjoy

Management: 2.5 out of 5

Race fees were a tad steep ($85 early and $95 late) but they did close down the strip so I think the costs are justified.

The 6am start wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I felt like I was awake all night anyway. I guess I was scared of the pain to come.

Water and aid stations every mile. I didn’t like how there was no 1 or 2 mile split. You have no idea what pace you are running until mile 3.

I won my age group but I don’t think they gave out awards for that. I didn’t make the awards ceremony at 9:30am (45 minutes after I finished) because I couldn’t really walk. And I did not know there was an awards ceremony until after I got home.

I dislike starting both the marathon and half marathon at the same time. It was congested and the course got slightly confusing in one area: the half runners had to stay to the left and the marathoners to the right. I was running in the half marathon lane but soon realized I had to move over.

The worst part of the race was the final 3 or so miles when the marathon and half marathon merge. Nothing sucks more than weaving in and out of walkers while giving everything you have to hang onto a modest pace. To their credit, they did try to move to the side and gave me words of encouragement as I raced by.

Pre-Race: 4 out 5

Everything went smooth for me. We hit little traffic driving there and parking was easy. The start is a 6 am which is a little early but I lying awake at 4 am anyway so what’s the difference if it starts at 6 or 8. I had a seed time of 2:50 so I was put all the way at the front. It was congested a little bit because the half marathoners started with us. But you have to remember it is a marathon and people spread out very quickly. And there were adequate Porta Jons and Casinos to release some toxins if you had to.

The Course: 4 out of 5

A flat course. Last couple miles had some short down hills to help you avoid totally tanking at the end. I did not notice running up hill for the middle miles all though it supposedly gained a little elevation. There were Porta Jons every mile or so if you had to use them you could.

Starting on strip was probably the coolest start you could ask for. I can’t see any other city marathons having a better first 5 miles which is the main reason why I gave the course a 4. The remainder of the course was desolate. You run through neighborhoods which aren’t anything special.

Porta Jons every mile. This is a must for some people.

Post Race: 2.5 out of 5 (5 out of 10. Why not just rate out of 10? I never understood why people always rate out of 5)

Pretty weak. I was mildly upset with the post-race amenities because the Half Marathoners got their first. They got the best selection (ripest fruit) of post race refreshments and created a massive line at the massage tent. However, the finish had everything you would need: space blankets, Gatorade, bananas, oranges, and cookies.

Location: 4 out of 5

Las Vegas offers so much do and see. Shows, gambling, clubbing, site seeing, museums, and much more. I had already been to Las Vegas so I only stayed one night and focused on the race. If you have not been there before, the excessive visual stimulation may take your focus off the race. However, it would make for an enjoyable weekend or week for someone who wanted to do more than just run the marathon.

Crowd Support: 2 out of 5

I expected there to be more people on the strip. There were consistent pockets of spectators early in the race but some of them had that “What the heck is going” on look on their faces. Maybe they just stumbled out of the casino and didn’t know where they were. Beyond the strip, the course gets desolate. The only spectators past the strip are the volunteers and police officers blocking the streets.

Climate: 5 out 5

I got lucky and had perfect weather on race day. Dry, overcast, and 48 degrees F at the start (52 degrees F at the finish). Perfecto.

Race Swag: 1.5 out of 5

I was disappointed with the swag. We got a simple gray cotton tee-shirt and 3 or 4 little things like a sample of Gatorade powder for example. I was expecting a technical Tee especially since the entry fee was nearly 100 bucks.

Would I do it again?

Yes. I had a good experience for a first time marathoner. I would do it again because it is only 3 hours from home, the course was fairly fast, and the climate was great. Additionally, I like the fact it is in early December so I can relax during the holidays. Decent Run. Dece Run

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