Thursday, December 08, 2011

2011 Rock N' Roll Las Vegas Marathon Turns Into Nightmare

The 2011 Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon, which quickly grew to over 44,000 participants, went from "night run" to "nightmare" this weekend according to this news report and the many Facebook comments. Thousands packed into the Mandalay Bay Hotel at the finish with nowhere to go, stuck for hours, passing out, vomiting, you name it. Now there is a survey posted trying to find the root cause for why thousands have ended up sick.
(Runners stuck in the Mandalay Bay)
For those who love to watch a good train wreck, be sure to check out the Facebook page that is updated every few minutes for the latest accusations. The CEO of Competitor Group, the race organizer, got married with his wife during the race and they both clocked a finish averaging 6:31 min/miles to win their age groups (no split times recorded, suspiciously). No money went to charity, aggravating many. No medical personnel at the finish. Online petitions to boycott the Rock n Roll series popping up. Those who got a finisher medal noted it has a picture of the Seattle Space Needle. Pretty crazy! And mind you, these complaints come in every couple of minutes FOUR DAYS after the event. Many also say they had a great time, clocked PR's, and had no issues, and at least nobody died (yet). But whoa...the haters are out in force on this one.

It gives me a whole new appreciation for the smooth execution of the NYC Marathon with its 47,000+ participants. One forgets how many things have to go right to have these big races run smoothly.


  1. And they charged $175! I'm very glad I decided to do CIM again instead of Vegas. The commenters are saying that the half-marathoners were walking in the marathon of my biggest pet peeves.

    I've only done the San Diego RnR back in '05, so I'm neutral about the organization, but I'm not signing up for one until I start hearing better reports.

  2. great post!
    Thanks for sharing.:)

  3. A friend of mine did it and she said she had a good time. I was actually surprised when I started reading all the horror stories.

  4. I can't seem to stop reading those facebook entries, kinda like driving by a car crash. A couple of months ago I was complaining about the 4:30 cutoff for the marathon (I'm a 5 hour marathoner). Looks like they did me a favor and I was able to avoid this fiasco :)

  5. I ran it, and it was fun running down the strip at night. However, there were many, many problems with the race including the water issue (I wasn't affected) and funneling the 4000 marathoners into the 40,000 half marathoners at our 13 mile mark. There wasn't an effort to seperate the two groups, so I ended up weaving through thousands of people and was unable to hold my goal pace. I hope they learn from their mistakes and put on a better event next year. I also hope the market drives the price down on this one.

    I kind of got sick at the after party, but that had nothing to do with tainted water.

  6. It doesn't sound like you ran it, me neither. But my friend ran it (his first half), and he did have some issues, which was disappointed because I was hoping he'd get hooked! I read some of the FB comments: ran out of water, not enough medals, green bananas! So glad I wasn't there...

  7. Nope, I didn't run this one. Just enjoying the backlash from online bleachers.

    I did run the Rock n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon this year, and it went off without a hitch.

    It sounds like a lot of people got really sick afterwards - hope they can figure that out. If you pack thousands of people in a room for an hour right after a race, that's a Vegas-size petri dish. Ugh.

  8. The Rock N' Roll race organization has been running events like these (by the seat of their pants) for years.

    It is/has been only a matter of time before something went/goes dreadfully wrong.

    Run safe, run responsibly, run fun.

  9. while it does look a great deal like the Space Needle on the medal (and an updated one in real life) it is The Stratosphere. :)

    I ran it. The Half. Third year in a row. The previous years not an issue at all. The first one was a little cold though at 35 degrees thru most of it. The second year (last year) a perfect race! This recent one? Well, I have complaints - volunteers sticking ungloved fingers into water cups, the banana's, having the race at night, and the course changes - I did not have many of the issues others had. It rained at the finish by the time I crossed. Yet, I doubt RR Competitor Group can be blamed for that one. :) Plus, I also live in Vegas. Post race hang out at the Mandalay Bay not too appealing. I just hoped in my pick up ride near the finish area and went home. No vomitting on the way either.

    I doubt I do it again if it is at night. My only big complaint. The novely of it being at night, on the Strip wears off after 3-4 miles.

    I doubt this will mean the doom of the event or any other RR ones. I have done Vegas three times and AZ and SD a few times each without any issues and a fun experience overall.

  10. JustSayNoToGreedyUnsafeMarathonOrganizers12/10/2011 02:49:00 PM

    For more comments on the 2011 Rock N' Roll Las Vegas Nightmare please see:

  11. While there's been a lot of exaggeration, yeah, the course was overcrowded, volunteers ditched their positions due to the temps, they ran out of water, and they ran out of half medals (which they apparently knew would happen). I don't understand the whole "post race fiasco" at all - I waited around for my wife, who is a slower half marathoner, we grabbed our bags and caught a shuttle up to the Wynn. There was no post-race event at the Mandalay Bay; just the Wynn and the Palazzo. Aside from maybe the people who needed medical attention and their friends/families, why were people crowding in to the MB?

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  13. Its a conspiracy! They figured they might as well try and decrease all the surplus population of all them spandex wearin people who go prancing around on our public roads in such provocative clothing!


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