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The Rock 'n' Roll Vegas Marathon opens the Strip to runners

The Rock 'n' Roll Vegas Marathon opens the Strip to runners
Make a run for it at the Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon (Hlib SHabashnyi

Distance running is common these days, but if you want to see how that mashes up with Vegas' famed overindulgence, look no further than the Rock 'n' Roll Vegas Marathon. As a bonus, it's the only night the Strip is closed for a private event.

Featuring live bands, cheer teams, entertaining water stations, and many runners in costume, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon -- which in fact constitutes a full 26.2-mile race, a half marathon, 10K and 5K events -- reimagines the Strip on Nov. 10 and 11.

Prior to American Frank Shorter's gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics, marathons were a niche sport for a seemingly masochistic few. Early Las Vegas Marathons -- one of the oldest in the U.S., debuting in 1967 -- attracted about 200 entrants and just a few spectators.

By the 2000s, the future of the Las Vegas Marathon was in financial peril, despite its attracting upwards of 15,000 runners each year. But all that changed in 2009, when the race was acquired by the Competitor Group, whose Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series has attracted more than half a million entrants in 28 destination events globally.


Held at night, with a course that this year begins and ends on the Strip, looping through downtown and passing by some of the world's most famously opulent hotels and casinos, The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon has dramatically increased participation in the Las Vegas event. Last year its races attracted more than 40,000 entrants from 73 countries.

For its 10th anniversary, the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon begins with a 3-day health and fitness expo (Nov. 8-10), before the first race on the evening of Nov. 10. The main races begin Sunday late afternoon.

Headliners for the 2018 Toyota Rock 'n' Roll Concert Series are L.A. indie-electro duo Capital Cities, whose irresistibly catchy 2011 single "Safe and Sound" remains a radio staple. There will also be live local bands and DJs along the route to help keep runners energized and spectators entertained. There's even an only-in-Vegas "run-through wedding," open to couples registered for the marathon or half marathon.

If you're thinking of running, register sooner than later, as the races typically fill up well in advance, but to watch the race, all you have to do is grab a seat Stripside!

-Paul Rogers, Custom Publishing Writer