Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon

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Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon
Date November or December annually
Location Las Vegas, Nevada
Event type Road Race
Distance Marathon and half marathon
Established 1967
Course records M: 2:11:56 (2005)
Kenya Stephen Kiogora
W: 2:29:01 (2007)
Russia Sylvia Skvortsova
Official site Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

The Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon is an annual marathon foot-race run on the Las Vegas Strip and in parts of the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada. The 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race is one of the oldest marathons in the United States, having been run since 1967.[1]


From 1967-2004 the marathon course was located on several different routes within Clark County, but outside of downtown Las Vegas. The initial concept was to attract nationally and internationally recognized runners; this was partially successful. Morris Aarbo of Canada won the first year with a time of 2:23:06, ahead of two marathoners from Turkey. A notable participant in the inaugural race was Harry Reid, who at the time was involved with local Nevada government. The subsequent 17 annual races fielded mostly local runners with a sprinkling of national- and international-caliber runners. When the Las Vegas Sun newspaper scuttled its sponsorship of the marathon in 1969, the recently formed Las Vegas Track Club took over the event. Over the ensuing years, enrollment in the race remained low—in the range of 100 to 200 entrants—until the running boom of 1978 when the numbers bumped up for a year or two. Subsequently, entrants again diminished, with fewer than 102 finishers in 1982.

Finish line at the Renaissance Center in suburban Las Vegas (1983)

In 1983 Al Boka assumed directorship and inaugurated what he expected to be a very fast course starting on State Route 160, high in the Spring Mountains west of Las Vegas on the road to Pahrump. This "fast" course descended approximately 2,900 feet (883.9m) into the valley, finishing at the Renaissance Center located at the corner of East Tropicana and Eastern Avenues. The new course bumped registration up to over 450 participants. However this downhill course proved to be too severe on the runners’ quadriceps, so after three years this route was discontinued. The 1986 marathon course was changed to a smaller, 700-foot (213.36m) vertical drop. The new route headed north on State Route 604 from Jean NV, paralleling Interstate 15 much of the way, to its finish point at Sunset Park. Also beginning in 1986, prize money was offered to 19 age division winners. Later a half marathon was also added to the mix. Boka’s strategy to attract more runners was successful; by 1992 enrollment exceeded 2000.[2] Boka remained race director of the Las Vegas Marathon for 23 years until he sold the event in 2005 to Devine Racing, a Chicago-based race organization company, which was also responsible for several other races, including the Los Angeles Marathon. That year the marathon date was changed from January to December after securing Las Vegas Events endorsement along with approval of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Both organizations were motivated by attracting visitors during the "slower" December time period and their consent was necessary for holding any large downtown event. The racecourse itself was moved from suburban Clark County to the Las Vegas "Strip" and partially in the city of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon loop courses - 2005 to 2008
Number of marathon finishers each year from 1967 to 2014.

This loop course between 2005 and 2008 began and finished at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. After heading north on Las Vegas Boulevard (The Strip), to the Fremont Street Experience and the Downtown area, the course meandered further northwest of the city and ultimately looped back to the west before reaching Mandalay Bay’s parking lot at the finish. The Half Marathon Course remained along the Strip.

In 2009 the race was acquired by the Competitor Group, Inc. and incorporated into its Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series and the course was changed for a fourth time since 1982. Currently, the full marathon begins on Las Vegas Boulevard heading north through the Downtown casino area, proceeds further to the northwest, turns around and finishes again on the strip near the Mirage and Venetian Casinos.[3]

The Rock 'n' Roll Era[edit]

Since the Competitor Group acquired the race in 2009, the number of full distance (26.2 miles) marathoners has diminished, while the overall participation has increased dramatically . The venue itself, held at night on the Strip, has become more of a pop culture phenomenon than an international marathon. Most runners elect to do the half marathon while a few run ‘half of the half ‘ or 6.55 miles.

Runners in the 2011 event reported illness, overcrowding, and at least one person was hospitalized. [4]

In 2014 the overall entrants exceeded 38,000 participants with only 3,208 runners completing the full 26.2 miles. 25,251 runners finished the half-marathon, 2,194 runners completed the 6.55-mile course while the balance ran a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) race the day before the main event. Many of the short distance runners were costumed. The Monte Carlo Casino promoted a ‘run-thru wedding’ during the race. While a high volume of entrants is necessary to carry the cost of closing the Las Vegas Strip for more than 12 hours,[5] the paucity of actual marathoners distinguish the Las Vegas event from other big city venues such as Boston, New York, Chicago, London, or Berlin where the number of marathon finishers range from about 20,000 to more than 30,000. While successful as a commercial, for profit venture, this race falls short of the original vision to make the Las Vegas Marathon a world class, competitive running event.


  Event record

Year Men's winner Time
Women's winner Time
2017  Gilles Rubio (FRA) 2:38:04  Marisa Hird (USA) 2:55:19
2016  Michael Wardian (USA) 2:38:04  Elaina Schellhaass (USA) 3:11:11
2015  Andrew Lemoncello (GBR) 2:21:47  Williana Rojas (PAN) 3:08:18
2014  Ben Bruce (USA) 2:27:22  Cathy Cullen (CAN) 2:56:57
2013  Jason Brosseau (USA) 2:35:26  Nuța Olaru (USA) 2:58:46
2012  Jonathan Ndambuki (USA) 2:32:24  Nuța Olaru (ROM) 2:51:31
2011[6]  Peter Omae (KEN) 2:29:12  Zsófia Erdélyi (HUN) 2:48:58
2010[7]  Josh Cox (USA) 2:25:05  Dorota Gruca (POL) 2:44:36
2009[8]  Christopher Toroitich (KEN) 2:15:15  Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2:29:47
2008[9]  Abebe Yimer (ETH) 2:27:27  Tuptova Nadezhda (RUS) 2:48:20
2007[10]  Christopher Cheboiboch (KEN) 2:16:49  Sylvia Skvortsova (RUS) 2:29:01
2006  Joseph Kahugo (KEN) 2:16:19  Jemima Jelagat (KEN) 2:35:12
2005 (Dec)  Stephen Kiogora (KEN) 2:11:56  Adriana Fernández (MEX) 2:31:54
2005 (Jan)  Gilbert Koech (KEN) 2:13:45  Olga Kovpotina (RUS) 2:31:54
2004  Kevin Herd (USA) 2:28:13  Kari Anne Bertrand (USA) 2:45:46
2003  David Bronfenbrenner (USA) 2:33:34  Linda Huyck (USA) 2:57:48
2002  Abebe Yimer (ETH) 2:18:49  Midori Sperandeo (USA) 2:41:52
2001  Mike Dudley (USA) 2:18:13  Irina Kazakova (FRA) 2:41:56
2000  Rob Reeder (USA) 2:17:15  Joanna Gront (POL) 2:36:00
1999  Zoltán Holba (HUN) 2:16:42  Alena Vinnitskaya (BLR) 2:32:43
1998  Zoltán Holba (HUN) 2:14:15  Joanna Gront (POL) 2:43:32
1997  Zoltán Holba (HUN) 2:14:23  Marzena Helbik (POL) 2:32:22
1996  Zoltán Holba (HUN) 2:16:10  Yelena Makolova (BLR) 2:40:17
1995  Vladimir Netreba (RUS) 2:14:52  Laura Mason (USA) 2:37:20
1994  Michael Dudley (USA) 2:16:54  Roxi Erickson (USA) 2:40:14
1993  Doug Kurtis (USA) 2:18:55  Kathleen Smith (USA) 2:41:55
  • 1967 — Morris Aarbo: 2:23:06 Las Vegas Sun Marathon (first course)[1]


  1. ^ a b Leydig, Jack & Milroy, Andy (2011-12-05). Las Vegas Marathon. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2011-12-07.
  2. ^ Monograph - The Las Vegas Marathon: A History by Everett C. Chase 1991
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Las Vegas Review-Journal by Richard Velotta Nov.13, 2014
  6. ^ December 2011 AIMS Results. AIMS. Retrieved on 2011-12-07.
  7. ^ "Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon 2010 Results". Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  8. ^ "2009 Race Results". 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  9. ^ "2008 Race Results". 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  10. ^ "2007 Race Results". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
List of winners

External links[edit]