2011 Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Las Vegas Recap

Viva Las Vegas! I had a blast in Sin City this weekend attending the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. This was my second visit there and my second experience with the Rock 'n Roll series. I had a nearly four hour flight from Chicago, and my sister flew in from California on Friday night. We were both pretty much exhausted after also having to work that day, but we were excited to be there.
Saturday, we took a field trip on the Deuce bus to and from the expo. The expo was super crowded and cramped. This was only a prelude to how the race would end up being, we'll get to that later. At the expo were pretty much the same vendors and gear in Chicago, but I did make one interesting discovery there, Spider Tech. I've been wanting to try out K-tape for the arch of my foot, but the last couple of expos I've attended, the line for free tapings has been way too long. Spider Tech's booth was tucked away in the back, with only a few people waiting. I got my foot taped for plantar fascia and posterior tibial tendon support. I was really excited about the price, a box of 40 for $20.
One of the female employees did the taping, I felt like she just put it on and there was not enough tension to provide any support. She said the more tension, the less effective it would be, but I can't say that I felt a difference at all. By the time we got back to our hotel, the tape was already starting to come off. It could be that the foot is a difficult area for athletic tape to stay put, but sigh, I was less than impressed. There were several members of the run group planning to race, so Sunday there was a planned meet up before the race. It was so nice meeting other Black women from around the country who are also running obsessed!
After the meet up, we had a few hours to relax before the race. Our hotel was near the start line, so we figured it would be a breeze to walk over there. This is when the real fun began. It was pretty crowded trying to walk between the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. It was difficult to get past the crowd at gear check and out the door into the corrals. Thankfully, we made it to our corral in enough time.
The start of the race was very organized. It started promptly, just as it had in Chicago. There were several corrals ahead of us, so we waited about 30 minutes to start. I lost count of each corral as they were sent on there way, but I think at about corral 25, they just let everyone take off, there was no pause in between. There were 40 corrals in total. So what ensued was a mad mix of runners and walkers starting at the same time. There were runners darting in and out everywhere! It was like people forgot the basic rule of staying to the right and passing on the left. I registered for the race before my injury, so I did not have time to properly train, but I knew I was still coming for the experience . . . and for the fact that I already paid to register and bought my airfare. I ran the first few miles of the race, then stood on the sidelines to cheer on the runners, then finished the last mile with my sister. When we crossed the finish line, the finish area was so random. The medals were scattered, people were tearing their own space blankets off the roll, there was a ridiculous line to take a finisher photo, and the bananas and snacks were on the other side of that line. We skipped the photo and cut through for some nourishment! From the secure race area, we had to re-enter Mandalay Bay to get back to our hotel. The line was absolutely ridiculous! Worse than trying to get to the start of the race. Probably because nearly 20 corrals were finishing at the same time! The last thing people want to do after running a marathon or half is stand in line. When it was clear we weren't getting anywhere soon, we exited back outside to get some air. We walked a bit and found another less populated entrance to the hotel. I hear we avoided most the craziness. There were apparently several people that passed out in the crowd and EMTs had to be called. When the race sold out at 44,000, RNR raised the capacity. I believe the final count was near 60,000. I think the major issue with this race was raising the cap and not being able to handle it. RNR got a little greedy in Las Vegas this year. They gambled and lost in the opinion of many runners! It's unfortunate because the course is amazing, it's really cool to run at night on the Strip. Hopefully next year RNR will better manage the crowd.
Update: Shortly after I published this post RNR sent out an e-mail to Vegas participants acknowledging the race issues and offering a $10 off code for an RNR event in 2012. At least they recognize there was a problem!