Road closures planned for Las Vegas Marathon


When it comes to coordinating thousands of runners pounding the Strip, Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half-Marathon isn't the first rodeo for race organizers.

But at least this year, the San Diego-based Competitor Group won't have to deal with a rodeo - the National Finals Rodeo.

Last year's first nighttime Las Vegas race, which featured 44,000 runners, required officials of both the marathon and the rodeo to come up with a plan that guaranteed NFR fans could get back to their Strip hotels from the Thomas & Mack Center with minimal hassle.

The NFR moved up the start of its Sunday matinee go-round by an hour, the marathon started an hour later than officials wanted at 4, and shuttle service got most cow-folk back to their blackjack and craps tables before the starter's gun sounded.

But with this year's NFR starting a week later, who could blame marathon officials for letting out a collective "Yippee-ki-yay!" over not having to coordinate their massive city event with another?

"It definitely makes things much easier," Lee Haney, spokeswoman for the marathon, said of Sunday's race. "But I don't want to give the idea that getting into and out of the Strip, even without the rodeo, is going to be easy this year."

No, even with fewer runners - 32,000, with 4,000 running the 26.2-mile marathon and 28,000 testing their recreational mettle in the 13.1-mile half-marathon - Las Vegas Boulevard, much of downtown and even some areas of North Las Vegas are going to be restricted to traffic from 2 to as late as 11 p.m. Sunday.

The marathon will start at 3 p.m., with the half-marathon to begin at 4:30.

Both races will start on Las Vegas Boulevard, at Dewey Road, across from Mandalay Bay. Runners will briefly go south in the northbound lanes of the Strip, before making a hairpin turn and running the southbound lanes north, until reaching downtown some eight miles out.

That is when the courses differ dramatically for the serious and not-so-serious.

Marathon runners eventually will go west, until they hit Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where they will travel north past Carey Avenue, before reversing field and making an almost four-mile west/east run on Carey. They then will return to southbound Martin Luther King and back to downtown before eventually connecting to the Strip via Casino Center Boulevard. The race ends in front of The Mirage.

Half-marathon enthusiasts will run a few downtown streets before using Fourth Street southbound to reconnect with the Strip, where they also will finish at The Mirage.

For motorists, this means rolling road closures throughout affected areas. Streets will reopen as soon as the last participant has passed and course support materials have been removed.

Streets along the earlier miles of the route - outside of the Strip, of course - will open sooner than those toward the end of the route.

Motorists will be prohibited from crossing the Strip or exiting from Interstate 15 onto eastbound Charleston Boulevard, Sahara and Tropicana avenues, and Flamingo and Russell roads.

The freeway's onramps and offramps will remain open, unlike New Year's Eve, the only other event that shuts down the Strip for an extended period.

Between 2 and 3 p.m., police and event personnel might implement a soft closure along the entire course.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is altering its Sunday bus schedules, with delays on some routes expected between 1:30 and 11:30 p.m., the agency said. Riders using routes with major detours should allow themselves extra time to reach their destinations.

"The key point is the marathon involves a lot of people and a lot of cooperation," Haney said. "So if you're going to be in the area of the Strip on Sunday, understand it's going to be very congested."

But at least this year, there's no rodeo to deal with.

"The NFR folks were great to work with," Haney said. "But anytime you can have a day dedicated to just one event like this marathon, that makes things easier."

Contact reporter Joe Hawk at jhawk@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2912. Follow him on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.

 

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