This weekend we went to the Rock’n’Roll run marathon, 1/2 marathon & 10k in Las Vegas. This event is very unique for several reasons. First of all, marathons are usually early in the morning, but this one starts at sunset. Therefore you run through the night and experience all the Las Vegas lights that are so famous. Another exclusive feature from this marathon is that it’s the only private event that shuts off the entire Las Vegas Strip. So from 2pm to around 10pm there are no cars allowed on the Strip. The only other time this happens is at New Year’s Eve (but this is arranged by the city). One more reason why this has become one of my favorite events is, as the name states, it’s all about music. There are several live stages and bands set up throughout the running course. The opening act this year was Snoop Dogg…run it’s like it’s hot…
Ulli signed up for the marathon and I decided to do the 10k. Our starting time was almost simultaneously but our starting location was on opposite ends of the Strip (about 3 miles apart). We signed up to pick up our race package on the day of the event which was earliest at 2:30pm. The pickup location was at the SLS hotel, where the 10k would start (which was strange, as Ulli had to get to the other end of the strip). We left our hotel at 2pm to have sufficient time and requested an UBER. However, our UBER drivers couldn’t get to the hotel and we had 3 back-to-back cancellations while we waited almost 45 minutes. At 2:45pm we were still at the hotel. While we saw many runners walking to the starting line (close to MGM) we were still trying to get a taxi to get us to the opposite side to pick up our bib numbers. I started to worry that we wouldn’t make it. We finally got a taxi, but the traffic was horrible. He dropped us off and we ran to the tent where they would have our bibs. As we got there, they told Ulli he must pick up his at the starting line of the marathon. AHHH! I’m not sure how we got the wrong information initially, but it was 3:45pm and his race would start in less than 45 minutes. With all this traffic it was almost impossible to make it. Fortunately, the lady said that there’s a monorail that he can take. While I got my bib number and was ready 10 minutes prior to the start, Ulli had to race to the other side of town, but with the rail he would at least make it if all goes as planned. Well, we didn’t consider that you need money for the monorail, and of course he didn’t have anything on him. Luckily one of the security guards made an exception so he could go on the tram without paying (Thank You! I promise we will pay double next time!). After this hectic start we just made it in time before they closed our corrals. Pheeewww! When I was standing at the starting line I was finally able to enjoy the beautiful weather (about 70F), live rock band singing the national anthem, and fellow runners (and their unique outfits). Everyone was in good spirits and excited for the race. My 10k started at the south end of the Strip (at SLS) and went past Stratosphere Tower, many of the famous wedding chapels, Old Downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) and the finish line was at the Mirage (for all runners). I felt great during my run. THANK YOU to all the volunteers that would give out water and cheering us on. Also the many police officers on each intersection where smiling and giving us thumbs up. Thank you to everyone for keeping us hydrated, motivated and safe! While running I thought about how this sport truly brings all people together. The struggles (and joys) runners go through are the same for everyone – no matter what race, religion or how much money you have. It was just wonderful to see how each person got together and was thanking the police officers when running by. I believe there are more good people than there is hate. It was really the most entertaining and quickest 10k run I’ve ever done. I think I smiled through the entire race. Shortly after the 5 mile mark, I hear someone screaming my name. I turn to the left and on the other side of the road Ulli was just passing by me. How crazy is that! With over 45,000 people running at the same time – what are the chances that we see each other at one of the few only sections where our two different courses even pass? That was such a happy surprise and made me run even faster for the last mile. 🙂 Crossing through the finish line I couldn’t stop beaming. My “runners high” lasted for the rest of the night. Ulli also had a great race, despite fighting with stomach issues. He completed the 26.2 miles in 3:49 hours and I was as proud as ever to see him coming through the finish line! The Rock’N’Roll series is truly a lot of fun and I can’t wait to sign up for the next event. On another note, the winner of this years marathon was setting a record for the fastest marathon run by someone dressed as Elvis Presley (full costume with wig) and finished in 2hrs 38min (is this human?). I’m curious to hear about any of your running stories or memorable events that you participated.
One mention about the hotel we stayed in on this trip: Mandarin Oriental. It’s located right in City Center, in the middle of the Strip, and has been awarded with the Forbes triple five-star. The cool thing is, that it’s one of the only hotels that doesn’t have a casino. If you’re visiting as a tourist you probably want to experience the big hotels with casinos – as they’re so unique to Las Vegas. However, the Mandarin Oriental is a great hotel for a weekend getaway to Las Vegas. You’re still close to everything at City Center (shopping, casinos, shows, restaurants), but as soon as you arrive the hotel your inner “zen” takes over (OMMMMM). When you enter most of the casino hotels you smell cigarette smoke, at the Mandarin Oriental you’re greeted with a flower aroma (its non-smoking hotel – yay!). The interior design of the hotel is all modern Asian inspired and the lobby is on the 23rd floor with amazing views on the strip.
There are no waiting lines at check-in and you don’t have to schlepp your luggage through the entire hotel to get to your room. The hotel has also a residential part on top (above 23rd floor) – in case you’re interested: condos start at around $2.5 million. One of my favorite features in the room (besides that you can control everything in the room from your ipad) was the giant bathtub overlooking The Strip! Ahhh! If you don’t care about spectacular views, there’s also a TV in the bathroom. Have you heard of a valet closet? When I requested some additional towels at the front desk, they would place it in a closet which I could access from my room. LOVED IT (I’m usually so lucky to be in the shower when housekeeping knocks on the door – so no need to worry about this). The next morning I got up at 4:30am (don’t ask me why – but there is a full moon right now), so I went to the gym. I was not disappointed. Some hotels put all their effort into the lobby and rooms – but the gym usually gets neglected. Not at the Mandarin Oriental – new equipment, spacious – and best of all – these million dollar views on the Strip! Most of the time hotels turn this expensive real estate into something that brings them more revenue (rooms/meeting space/restaurants) – so the gym ends up in the basement. But not the Mandarin Oriental – they truly understand their client’s. One service that they also offer and I’ve seen in a few hotels already, is that you can text the hotel. Anything you need you can text directly to the hotel agent and it will be taken care off quickly. Hassle free stay! I think this will be my new go-to hotel in Las Vegas :-). What’s your favorite hotel in Las Vegas and why?