San Diego native wins Las Vegas Marathon

San Diego native Josh Cox claimed the lead at 23 miles and went on to win the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon going away, in an unofficial time of 2:25:06.

Dorota Gruca of Poland, celebrating her 40th birthday today, was the women’s winner in an unofficial time of 2:44:38.

In 2005, Gruca was part of one of the most exciting finishes in Las Vegas marathon history, as she took third, in part of a four-runner sprint to the finish. Now she’s got a victory to go with that third-place finish.

A party-like atmosphere and ideal conditions got the marathon off to a rousing start early today. Under clear skies with no wind and temperatures in the mid-40s, approximately 30,000 runners, including dozens of Elvises, brides, grooms and world-class athletes, hit the start line this morning at 7 a.m.

The later starting time allowed the runners to start in daylight and temperatures about 20 degrees warmer than last year’s 6 a.m. start.

As in years past, the Las Vegas Marathon was just as much of an event as a race. Many runners paused at the start, just long enough to snap a picture with the Elton John and Tina Turner lookalikes that were on hand to kick off the race.

Las Vegas Metro Police could be seen parked, with lights flashing, in front of the Venetian where a number of newlyweds and couples stopped to say "I do" before continuing on the course. The wedding took place around 8 a.m., between miles two and three of the race.

On the competitive side, 24-year-old Scott Bauhs of Mammoth Lakes, CA won the half-marathon in a time of 1:02:38.26. Three-time Olympian Jen Rhines was the first woman to finish the half-marathon, in a time of 1:14:56.95.

The race started is in the northbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard, at the Dewey Street intersection.

The course headed downtown for the first six miles, hit a few side streets, then moved to the southbound lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard on the way to the finish line at Mandalay Bay. Half-marathoners went straight to the finish, while marathoners headed west on Hacienda and winded around southwest Las Vegas before returning to the Strip for the finish.

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