Whether it’s to challenge a personal record or just to have fun and support a cause, there is a race in Las Vegas for everyone.
The city has a long list of 5Ks, half-marathons and marathons throughout the year.
“There are so many runs you can pretty much do one a weekend,” says Erica Schramm, a Las Vegas runner who competes around town throughout the year. “I do about six to 10 races each year.”
For the person looking to have fun, there is the Las Vegas Zombie Run, scheduled for Oct. 26. This race invites runners to be chased by zombies.
There are even different themed races such as the Redheads Rule Fun Run (Oct. 4), which invites participants to come as their favorite redhead whether it’s Jessica Rabbit or Carrot Top.
For those who are looking for a charity to support, there are events such as the Teddy Bear Run (Oct. 8), which benefits the UnitedHealthcare Childrens Foundation.
Each event draws runners with their different reasons for being there.
Even though she does like supporting causes, Schramm mostly signs up to be competitive. She got into running when she was 10.
“My family members were always into it,” she says. “I didn’t get into longer distances until college.”
She joined the Red Rock Running Company and the Las Vegas Track Club to be a part of the community of runners.
“It’s a small community, but I love it that it’s smaller,” she says. “Everyone is pretty friendly.”
Beyond her running group, she competes in races in- and out-of-state.
Her biggest victory was the 2011 Summerlin Half Marathon.
“I did it in one hour and 26 minutes,” she says.
She also competes in harder runs such as the trail runs at Mount Charleston.
“It’s only four miles,” she says. “You end up gaining 1,000 feet in those four miles so it’s very challenging.”
Schramm says she continues her racing around town while she and her husband move on to their next goal to run a marathon in all 50 states.
“We have 13 states down,” she says. “We had twins last year so it’s slowing us down for a little, but we will get it.”
Maria Riach, who has been running 20 years, is also in it for the competition.
“Most Saturdays, I’m at a race,” she says. “I’d be lying if I said if it were for anything but the racing. I’m glad to help out, but I’m there to race.”
Getting into running is something she has always wanted to do.
“It started with doing corporate challenges at work,” she says.
Since then, she has done countless 5Ks each year and has competed in several half and full marathons.
One of her best experiences as a runner was joining the Las Vegas Track Club, which mitigates costs for many of her runs.
“There are too many 5Ks now so it can get expensive,” she adds.
She has many good memories, but she adds she loves the races that have awards for different age groups.
“It’s a good encouragement,” she says. “There is so much camaraderie.”
If people are new to running and want to partake in racing, Schramm says there are many great first time experiences.
“The Danny Gans (Memorial Champions Run for Life) is always well-organized,” she says. “(Komen) Race for the Cure is always good. It is jammed packed though.”
Neither have done some of the fun runs like the Color Run or the Neon Run.
“Those aren’t for me,” Riach says.
Adding to the list of races around Las Vegas, a new race is scheduled for Saturday.
With the collaboration of the city of North Las Vegas and Red Dragon Events and Promotions, the Las Vegas Dash n’ Splash 5K Family Run is supposed to take place at Craig Ranch Regional Park starting at 3 p.m.
The race loads runners up with water balloon, Super Soakers and other water guns.
“It’s 110, 115 degrees outside,” says Noel Casimiro, the president of Red Dragon Events and Promotions. “There is no better place to have this race.”
Casimiro adds the water will be colored.
On the sidelines, spectators will also be armed with water-propelling devices.
“We call them snipers,” he says.
In addition to the run festivities, there will be water slides.
“We will end the event with an all out water fight,” Casimiro says.
Following the race, there is supposed to be entertainment and food trucks.
“We hope to have at least 1,500 people come out for this first one,” he says. “We can see this being an annual event.”
With more and more races coming to town, Riach says there are getting to be too many races, some of which aren’t organized.
“I don’t think all of them will stick around,” she says.
As a competitive runner, Schramm says she doesn’t think some of the fun runs or charity runs don’t measure the distance precisely, which she finds frustrating at times.
No matter the event, both Riach and Schramm encourage people to give them a try.
Also, for any runner Schramm says it’s OK to go at whatever pace they are comfortable with.
“Just never give up,” she says. “Pain is only temporary. It’s a great feeling once you finish.”
Contact reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.