Marathon events continue to gain traction in Vegas

Home to 12 of the world’s 20 largest hotels, Las Vegas also boasts one of the world’s largest half-marathons.

With 25,227 finishers in last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on the Strip, the event was the third-largest in the United States — fewer than 400 finishers behind Brooklyn’s 13.1-mile race — and the seventh-largest on the planet.

Registration for this year’s race under the lights on the Strip — scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Nov. 15 (StripatNight.com) — is on pace with last year’s event, with almost 24,000 runners signed up for the half-marathon and more than 4,600 for the 26.2-mile marathon.

The race weekend will grow to four days this year, starting Nov. 12 with a free three-day Health & Fitness Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where runners are required to pick up their bib numbers, T-shirt and gear check bag and can check out more than 100 exhibitors.

The second annual Saturday night Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K race will feature an expanded field of 8,000 runners and a new course that will start and finish at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on the corner of Sahara Avenue and the Strip, across from presenting sponsor SLS Las Vegas. The event, scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 14, is the first to take place at the venue since May’s “Rock in Rio” music festival and will allow runners to earn the Las Vegas “Remix Challenge” medal by completing back-to-back nights of running. More than 5,500 people have signed up for the 5K (3.1 miles), which was capped at 5,000 last year.

Also, the “½ of the Half” race that has finished downtown in recent years has been changed to an official 10K distance (6.2 miles) that will start at SLS at 4 p.m. Nov. 15 and culminate at the main finish line in front of the Mirage volcano, mirroring the latter part of the half-marathon route. The 10k is expected to be capped at 6,000 runners — up from 3,000 for last year’s “½ of the Half” — and more than 4,400 have signed up.

Kid Rock will headline the marathon’s prerace concert at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at the MGM Resorts Village, located on the Strip across from the race start line in front of Mandalay Bay. Matt and Kim will headline Saturday’s 5k concert.

The run-thru wedding chapel will return to the Monte Carlo’s BLVD Plaza, at mile 3 of the marathon and half-marathon course, where a five-minute ceremony will take place. Live bands will perform along the course, and hundreds of runners dressed as Elvis, aka the Running Elvi, will take part in the only private event that shuts down the Strip at night.

Since 2009, more than $20 million has been raised by runners for charity at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas event, which generates an annual economic impact of $165 million to Southern Nevada.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33

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