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How Rock ‘n’ Roll Missed the Mark in Vegas

by Meghann on December 7, 2011

Holy crowded finish line Las Vegas!

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Yikes!

Monica, Anne, and I must have zoned out into our own little world during the race on Sunday night. We were so focused on the bright lights of Las Vegas, that we all had very vague memories of just how crowded the streets actually were.

We all finished with smiles, claimed it was one of our favorite races of all time, and even made it back to our hotel in time to make it to Serendipity for dinner/dessert before the course was even closed. It was a great night. (Exhibit A: My review. B: Monica’s review. C: Anne’s review.)

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We got lucky. Very, very lucky!

Unfortunately not everyone on Sunday night had the same great race experience as we did on the strip. Rock ‘n’ Roll had several logistical errors that led to a shortage of water on the course, an absence of medals at the finish line, a dangerous merging of marathoners/half-marathoners near the middle of the race, and issues with overcrowding post-race that left thousands crammed in a small space without any clue how to get out. (word is it got SCARY in the lobby of Mandalay Bay with sick runners everywhere and medics unable to attend to them because no one could move to let them though)

I didn’t realize all of this went down until I went to add my recap to the Facebook page the next day. Logging on and reading all the issues people had was an eye opening experience. Check out the Facebook page to see what I mean, the comments are insane. I can’t believe they’re talking about the same race that I ran and loved! 🙁

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(Stephanie wrote a great post called ‘The Tale of Two Races’ about the two different experiences runners on Sunday had. It’s a great read.)

Unfortunately, I remember the same surge of negative Facebook comments after I finished the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll last month. That race was not one of my favorites and I agreed with everything they had to say.

That’s when I got curious and began researching a few more Facebook pages from recent Rock ‘n’ Roll races. Of the three I read, all of them had complaints of medal shortages, issues at the expos, and lack of water/cytomax on the course. I guess RnR is notorious for all three. Not cool.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Rock ‘n’ Roll races (there’s a post in my drafts called ‘Why Rock ‘n’ Roll Races are the Starbucks of Races’ i.e. generic, expensive, etc), but this brings them down one more peg in my mind. It just sucks because I loved the Las Vegas Half Marathon so much that, to me, it was a great race that I thought RnR did a good job with, but I was wrong. Terrible, terribly wrong.

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My dream would be for everyone to have the same amazing experience my friends and I did in Vegas (which is why I highly recommended the race), but not at the risk of RnR repeating the same mistakes that affected so many runners on Sunday. They need to seriously address the issues at hand, make the changes, and acknowledge they were in the wrong before they even think about opening registration for 2012.

I wouldn’t give up on racing the Strip at Night idea just yet (I still stand by how fun the course was at night), but only if they cap registration lower or a new organization takes over planning and executing.

If anyone does register for next year’s race I would take everyone’s experiences into consideration and suggest:

  • staying at a hotel that’s close to the start/finish line
  • running the half instead of the the full
  • running for FUN and not worry about time
  • avoiding gear check
  • making sure you’re in an early corral if you do plan to move fast
  • bringing water on the course if you’re a ‘back of the pack’ runner/walker.

I’m already registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Petersburg in February and am really counting on them to make this right, so I can redeem my faith in them, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m not backing out of the February race, but will think long and hard before seeking out Rock ‘n’ Roll races in the near future.

Did you run the Vegas Half Marathon/ Marathon? What were your thoughts?

Lunch

I grabbed all the ingredients to make a chicken/hummus/cheese quesadilla for lunch, then realized I only had one tortilla left. Hmm… that wasn’t going to work.

On to plan b…

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An open faced quesadilla that was ‘grilled’ under the broiler and topped with hummus, chicken, cheese, olives, and fresh fill. It was amazing.

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On one side I had fresh apple slices.

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On the other, a fresh tangerine.

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My quesadilla was definitely missing it’s other end. sniff.

1 Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope December 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I’m running my first half marathon with RnR in February here in St. Pete–they better damn well provide me with a medal. That’s all I can say.
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2 kathleen @ the daily crumb December 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

i ran the chicago marathon in 2007 and there were similar issues (primarily not even close to enough water). it’s tough… you know the race organizers put in so much time and effort, but sometimes there are just SO many people. maybe the races need to be capped at a smaller number?
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3 Laura December 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I’m really nervous now about my 2 RNR halfs next year. I really wanted to do LV next year, but I will likely skip that one.
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4 Kimra December 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I almost ran Vegas but decided to run Miami this weekend instead. I just saw that Miami is going to have 4,500 runners, instead of 44,000, so I’m hoping things will go more smoothly! My last race was the Nike Women’s Half, so NOT being crowded into small spaces with 20,000 other runners sounds good to me no matter who’s putting on the race. On the other hand, I know it’s a first-year race, and that always makes me nervous.

I’ve done one previous RnR (San Jose 2010) and had a better experience there than I’ve had at smaller, local races — but I’m wary nonetheless given the negative comments I’ve heard about several recent RnRs.
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5 Dori December 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

RNR recently held a 10K in Brooklyn and I heard it was a huge disaster. And as I’m sure you realize, it was VERY expensive for a 10K. I won’t be running any races with them.
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6 Erin December 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I ran the full marathon in Vegas on Sunday and my biggest complaint was dodging all the half marathoners during the last 10 miles or so. My hips are so sore from all the lateral movement I had to do. At one point I almost got clotheslined by some Team Challenge woman reaching across the crowded course to high five her coach.

But, I still managed a PR, got my medal, found water (I carry my own, though, so this was just to supplement), and easily caught a shuttle back to the Venetian. I had my husband carry my bag so I didn’t even have to brave gear check.

I totally agree , though, that they have some logistical things they need to change before this could be an A race.
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7 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

Congrats on the PR and having to deal with the half marathoners. I could only imagine. Just think about how much faster your time will be next time. 😉

8 Karen @ Run Shop Travel December 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I ran this race last year – the half – and loved it. I was curious how it would work at night and know that for me, I would never do it because I am a morning person! I do a race with my coworkers every June (JP Morgan Corporate Challenge) and it starts at 7PM and it is always SO HARD, despite being just 3.5 miles. Anyways, back to RNR, the thing that shocked me was having the full marathoners join in with the half marathoners at the end of the race. Last year, I know we all ran the same course until the finish line where the full marathoners split off to do another 13.1. That seems to make much more sense than having them have to wade through a sea of half marathon walkers. I always carry water so at least I would have been OK with that – although I usually refill at one or two water stops for a half. And medals…can’t imagine not getting one! I am a bit claustrophobic so the finish area doesn’t sound too appealing but last year it was fine. Sounds like they have a bunch of things to work on! I wonder if they let more people run the race this year than last year?
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9 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

LVRnR made me SO glad I didn’t register for the St. Pete RnR like I wanted to. But I’m sure St. Pete will be no where near as crowded as LV, so it has that going for it. I’m gonna do Gasparilla again this year. I heart that race. 🙂

10 Katie December 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

i’m signed up for my first RnR in march…and i didnt even really PLAN to do an RnR…i wanted to do the national half because of the timing, location, everything, but then found out it got bought out by RnR in just the last year (talk about your starbucks taking over the little coffeehouse clientele!) I hope its not as scary as all of these other races seem to be!

11 Jill Will Run December 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Stephanie and I said that same thing to one another… I was out there on the course for the duration of the entire event… it was crazy. I wrote about it on my blog.
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12 Toronto Girl West December 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

After a one year running hiatus (due to a stress fracture followed by horrible plantar fasciitis) I was planning on making Portland RnR my comeback half. And then I read all the Facebook comments – no more!!!!!

I will NEVER run an RnR race!!!
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13 Lindsey December 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

The RnR Las Vegas debachle coincides with the NY Half Marathons’ recent signficant hike in the registration fees. A lot of runners are upset that even the processing fees increased. It seems that even with the rise in city fees and and insurance stuff, the only impact would be on the profits. RNR allows WAY more people to register than should with the expectation that a percentage won’t show up and the overages will balance out. However, with a destination race…people are gonna show.

I think that the problem is that RnR is managed by Competitor Group whose goal seems to be profit, not necessarily enjoyment.

I’ve, personally, decided to only do races that are for charity or have a charitable sponsorship. (Relay for Lifes, TNTs, Sole Mates, etc) I think the experience will be better and ideally the money goes to a better place and cause. It’s fantastic that running is so popular and participation is increasing. And this presents a great opportunity to merge health and charity.
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14 Christina @ Just Running December 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Agreed; all RnR cares about is profit.
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15 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I’ve never done an RnR race–but they do look crowded, pricey, and so not worth my time! I love smaller races (not TOO small). Interesting how dangerous the sport can be, really….they need to change things!

Love a good cheesy quesadilla!
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16 Stephanie December 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Great post! U r an amazon writer, you make it seem so easy! I really like how u did not tell people never to do the race. For sure shows the conflict I have been havin because I enjoyed the race so much but there were so many issues, sigh! That quesadilla still looks yummy I am psyched to get back on my regular meal plan lol although loved Vegas treats! Thanks so much for the shutout!

17 Heather December 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Thank you for acknowledging that your great experience wasn’t the case for everyone else. I’ve read a lot of “suck it up” posts on the FB page and it makes me sad that other runners seem to not understand that it was truly awful for many, many people.

I can fully accept that it was a wonderful experience for you and many others and be glad for it. But unless someone was there “later on” and experienced what me and so many others did, it shouldn’t be written off as “being hysterical” or “complaining.”

So thank you for being generous with your experience.

18 Christina @ Just Running December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I read somewhere that RnR is trying to do away with marathons at their events. Since they’ve taken over seem once-decent races, that’s sad to hear. I wonder if Vegas will be the next to go.
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19 Margo December 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I’ve done a couple of the RnR races (the marathon in San Diego and half in Providence). I didn’t have problems with either, though they were both really crowded and expensive. I’d do another one, but I think I’d try to get a discount code before doing so.

20 Charlene December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I ran the full marathon at RNRLV and I recapped it on my blog … in one word, it was chaos. When I read your recap earlier on the half, it seemed like you gals ran a totally different race than I did! But, I’m happy that you were all able to escape with what happened.

21 Wendy Bumgardner December 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I agree completely with your points on how to have a happier LV RNR. I wore my Camelbak because I’ve had water run out on-course at a couple of marathons over the years. I didn’t check gear. I stayed at the Monte Carlo and loved it. Other years I’ve stayed at Luxor or Mandalay Bay itself.
I would never consider doing the full marathon in Vegas — mostly because I want to enjoy VEGAS when I’m in Vegas after the race.
I didn’t go into MB either before or after the race, so I avoided the crush there. It was scary enough trying to get to my corral, I was literally in fear of my life from the pressure of the crowd. They need a better corral set-up. Other big events manage it better.
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22 christine @ BookishlyB December 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I ran RnR LV and probably won’t ever do it again. I was stuck in Mandalay Bay for 30 minutes and it was terrible- if my husband wasn’t there I probably would have passed out. People were laying around with vomit on them- not good for anyone. The race itself was okay (except a crowded start), but the finish line to gear check was horrible.

Your suggestions definitely have merit, but I think some of them might be a little difficult. If you’re being honest about your finish time, which you should be, you might be legitmiately placed in a late corral. My fast is definitely not your fast :/ Also, the whole water thing- I need my bottles and I need the water in the water station- I’m a freaking camel. And gear check is a must in crazy temperatures, especially if you don’t want to weigh down your spectators (if you even have any there with you). This is what we pay $100+ for- water stations, organizations, and gear check (and medals, which I hear they ran out of). I definitely agree with the running for fun part- I registered the first day and I knew it was going to be chaos.

Next year they say up to 60,000! Hell to the no.
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23 Jess December 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I ran two RnR halves this year (Chicago and Philly). I carry my own water and gatorade at races now, so I never had to use their aid stations. I do know that they ran out of cytomax only 7 or 8 miles into the Philly race. I run 11ish minute miles, so I’m not the fastest, but not far enough back for that even to be an issue.

I also heard reports that the SAG van picked up people not keeping with the time limit but then dropped them off just before the finish line so they could still get their medal. People were pretty ticked off about that!

So, while I didn’t have any personal problems, I think I’m done with them. I wasn’t at all impressed with on-course entertainment – come run the Columbus (OH) marathon if you want a lot of music – they have 100+ bands on course!!

24 Kate December 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I’d love for you to do a post about the best races you’ve run from an organization standpoint. I’m new to racing and don’t know which organizations to look for when it comes to knowing what I’m getting into. I understand your experiences might be different state to state but after I ran the Hot Chocolate race and heard it was so awful (I was annoyed at some points but didn’t know the extent of why it was so bad by comparison to other races until later) I’m wondering if there are more reputable companies to look for when signing up for races. Maybe your readers would weigh in on this too!
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25 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

Hi Kate! That’s a great idea. I’ve found small, low-key races seem to be better (and wayyyyy less crowded) than the larger, more well known races, but everything varies. I always say to run the big races for fun, but if you’re looking to PR, the smaller races are the ones to do.

26 Jessica @ The Process of Healing December 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

A race without a medal? I’m not sure how much I like the idea of that…
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27 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

That’s too bad people didn’t have a good experience, the idea of running in Vegas at night is so cool!
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28 J December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I will say that the RnR half in Dallas every March is in my opinion, top notch.

29 Cait's Plate December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

That quesadilla looks pretty darn delicious to me! And I don’t even like olives!
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30 Mary @ food and fun on the run December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Wow! That finish line looks like the starting line of most races! Seems pretty insane! I am running RNR Nashville in April – I hope the organization is better for sure!!!
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31 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

My brother and sister ran Nashville in April (I was there spectating) and they seemed to have their stuff together for that race. It’s a great course that was really easy to navigate for spectators and we were able to see them several times on the course. Just be warned: it’s painfully hilly! I don’t remember there being any issues at the expo and the finish line was well organized. They got it right for that race.
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32 Erica December 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I haven’t done the Vegas RnR, but I have done the Virginia Beach RnR twice and both times were a blast. I have no complaints about the organization of the race. Even the bands were great. My dad came with me (as an observer) and had a lot of fun too. I think he there for ZZ Top though and not so much the race 😉 I also registered super early both times and had a coupon code, so the cost wasn’t too out of control.

33 Marisa December 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I ran it as well and had a great time during the race, but after was a whole different story. I was one of the people stuck in the hallway at Mandalay Bay for over an hour and then had to be re-routed through a back hallway to even get into the hotel lobby. It was scary. So many people fainting and throwing up! Also, I thought it was funny that the buffet closed at 10:30 and every restaurant we went to said they weren’t accepting any new customers and this was at 10:30, in Vegas. Despite all of that, I still have fond memories. I ran down the strip at night and raised $2,000 for Crohns and Colitis research! 🙂

34 Christy December 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

So glad to read this. I was shocked at your initial review since I was there and had the opposite experience. It was horrible and I will probably never run this race again. So disappointed in the execution of this race. It really soured me to the Rock N Roll series. Love your Starbucks analogy though!

35 Christie December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Sounds like I should be glad I didn’t make the trip, take my time, and money to attend this one. Hopefully they will change it because I was thinking about St. Pete in February to. Hmm….
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36 Michelle December 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I haven’t summed up my thoughts on the race yet, but it wasn’t the best race and it wasn’t the worst race. There was a lot of shoving and a lot of rude runners. I’ve NEVER experienced that before. I felt bad for the full runners, but I didn’t appreciate being screamed (many obscenities) at by them or the guys on the bikes. I had no idea for at least a mile that there was a separate (TINY) area for them.

The fire hydrant water thing is DISGUSTING and the lack of volunteers was very evident to me. I crossed the line walking because there were so many people — another running first!

I do like running at night, the location was REALLY (way too much) fun, and I thought the medals were awesome (they glow in the dark!). So it’s not all bad 🙂
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37 Heather December 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I know we already briefly chatted about this, but I have done 2 innagural RnR’s this year (providence and st louis) and they had some issues as well. Providence promised to have something like 15k participants and they really just had like 4k. a LOT of vendors were unhappy. Luckily we did ok so it didn’t affect us as much. St. Louis was ok but the expo space too small and so it was VERY crowded in the walkways/not a lot of room for shoppers.

I have done RnR NOLA both years of its existence and am signed up for the 3rd and I can honestly say I love that race! The only issue I had was year 1 they had too much time in between waves and it took forever to start but they corrected it the next year. Its a nice flat course, you should come run it!
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38 Tami December 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

It seems as these races are for “fun” vs racing it….maybe you should send this blog post to them…..

39 Brie @ Brie Fit December 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I ran RNR Chicago and it was kind of a disaster. I needed medical attention and the workers were very rude to me. Also, the course design was terrible–August, in Chicago, with the last 4 mile stretch with very little aid and no shade. Thumbs down.
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40 Holly S. December 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Meghann, this post strikes me as…off. To blog about your own experience with the race is fine and welcomed! But to blog about others’ experiences (especially when their experiences were the exact opposite of your own) in a very “shame shame” RnR way seems unnecessary. If you want to acknowledge it at the end of another post (perhaps by linking to Stephanie’s post or something), that seems reasonable, but to do another entire post about it is unnecessary. Overall it just seems like a desperate attempt at generating content or trying to get a free RnR race entry to “review.”

41 Holly S. December 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Also Meghann, one of peoples major complaints was the lack of water at the end of the race, and you took 5 bottles (“because they were free”)! Think twice before doing that next time.

42 Meghann December 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Actually, I started this post last night when I was posting about the photos, but ended up writing more and wanted to save it for another post. I felt bad for recommending the race to so many people and wanted to get the full story out there. I was not looking for a free race entry and that didn’t even cross my mind. As far as the free water bottles go, the water shortage was out on the course, not at the finish line. I’ve heard from others who raced and finished after me that there was still plenty of food and water at the finish line. In some cases though, the crowds were so deep that they couldn’t reach the food and water.
Meghann recently posted..How Rock ‘n’ Roll Missed the Mark in Vegas

43 Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland December 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm

The race was so crowded. I had fun, but I definitely missed out on a PR because of the crowded course. Luckily I was early enough in the race that there was still water and I received a medal. I did get stuck in Mandalay Bay though. SO SCARY. People were passing out, freaking out, and getting sick. My friend and I managed to get outside and walk around the property to another entrance. I will do the race again, but only because of Team Challenge.
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44 Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real December 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I ran the RnR LV half marathon with my husband on Sunday. It was his first half and he was coming off an injury so our plan was to just run it for fun. We were in a high corrall (28) and it was WAY TOO CROWDED to even get in the corrals at the start time. By the time we started moving (about 15 minutes after the race started) we realized that they had abandonded the wave start and we were just running in a sea of people. The first two miles were awesome! After that it started to go downhill. I was in a mix of run/walkers and had to dodge around people the ENTIRE race. Did not know about the marathon lane until about 4 miles into the race when the bikers started announcing to stay to the right. We were so far right that we did a lot of curb jumping and sidewalk running. Some water stops still had cups while others were just a mess of wet cups covering the ground (which could get slippery). Not enough porta-pottys either, we waited in line forever near the middle of the race then I gave up and held it a few more miles. We did get medals but skipped the photo lines because it was jam packed at that point. It took us an hour to walk through MB and catch the tram, and several people were passing out around us. I agree with all of your suggestions for this race (run it for fun, get in a early corral, etc). My husband and I had a great time during our weekend in Vegas but left with just an okay feeling about the race. I am already registered for the RNR Dallas half (my hometown) so I hope that is a much better experience!

45 Amanda December 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I can’t tell you how happy I am to read this post! I ran the race too and had a horrible experience. I was feeling so bad reading your review and Monica’s review. I didn’t understand why our experiences were so different. I found other reviews online before this post and felt relieved to find a lot of other people had my experience too. But thank you for posting this! It really makes me feel a whole lot better!

46 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

OMG, don’t feel bad. Apparently we were the ones in the minority. I couldn’t believe it when I read up later on everything. I’m not sure how we missed all the crazy stuff, we just got lucky. I’m so sorry about what happened in Vegas, that crap was not your fault, just remember that!

47 Amanda December 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

Thanks Meghann!

48 Hillary December 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Oy. This makes me really nervous; I’m running my first RnR race (in DC) in the spring. Gah, I hope they have this crap figured out by then!
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49 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 10:01 am

Ahh! Sorry! Don’t be nervous. Seriously, just go out there and race and what happens, will happen. Luckily they’re copying the same formula/course from the National Half in the past, so *fingers crossed* they won’t screw that one up.

50 Hillary December 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

Here’s hoping!

51 delia December 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I’ve never run a RnR but have always been hesitant because of the high cost and all the logistic hassles of a huge race. Obviously, that increased cost does not equal increased quality.

One of my favorite races ever was a 4 miler that cost only $10 in a town of 10,000. I got a nice baseball style Tshirt, plenty of water, and some of the best homegrown watermelon ever.

52 Melissa @TryingtoHeal December 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I had some bad experiences with Rock n’ Roll in the past too. When I ran San Antonio in 2009 they ran out of water near the end of the 1/2 marathon course, and this year at San Diego when I finished at just over 5 hours there was nothing left but pita chips and hummus at the end. I thought I was going to die of starvation!
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53 tracey December 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I ran RnR LV and was surprised when I read your first post about what a great race you had. I thought it was an awful experience. Now, maybe I’m spoiled, because the only other half marathons I have completed were at Disney – but RnR can take a serious lesson from those folks – they got it goin’ on!
It took forever to find gear check – no signs, and any volunteers we asked were unsure. I am admittedly slow as I do a run/walk interval. My corral was 33 – yet I had to climb through a sea of people to find it – with no one from RnR around to give any sort of guidance, just find my way.
Once we started running, everything seemed cool – when we were on the main part of the Blvd., there was plenty of space to spread out. But once we made the turn past the Stratosphere, the streets just became too narrow for all those people. They needed to limit the # of people or else take a different route. Not nearly enough potties – every time I tried to stop, the lines were at least 50 people deep, no exaggeration. I finally ended up using a restroom at a Burger King we passed – yay BK for not kicking us runners out! Water stations were limited at best. I have never had any issues with lead legs in any of my previous races or training but for some reason this time I did (not sure if it was the weather or something else), but I finally had to give up running and just walk because I felt there were not enough marshals out on the course to offer assistance should something happen to me. I’m fine with that, I know at the end of the day, it is my responsibility to know my limits, but for the money we paid for that event, no one should ever have felt they wouldn’t have been cared for if the need arose. Come to think of it, I only saw 1 medic tent the whole race.
The finish line was atrocious. I practically missed getting my medal, and finding the food was a challenge. And hello – green bananas that looked like they had just been plucked earlier in the day? Hardly edible. There wasn’t enough lighting in the finish area to even see what food/drink was available, let alone anyone directing traffic. When I finally made my way to the MB convention center to meet up with my friend, we just hauled it out as quick as we could to get back to our hotel, clean up and head out for some real food. I signed up for RnR Edinburgh but I am definitely not going after this experience. I signed up when it was dirt cheap, and it is best that I waste the $45 I spent on entry fee rather than spend all that money to fly to Scotland only to have another awful experience. I live in Miami and will be cheering on friends at this weekend’s race here, so I’ll be back to you with a recap if you would like!

54 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

Disney races are ridiculously well organized. I’m so sorry you didn’t have a great experience in Vegas. 🙁 That just isn’t fair what went down in the aftermath.

Let me know how the RnR Miami goes. I ran the ING Miami Half last year and LOVED it. It would be pretty hard for them to compete with that race.

55 Sarah December 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I would be so mad if I were running this race for time and was hindered by crowds. While i understand the “run for fun” mentality it should be a choice, not a necessity. I think every race should be well organized enough that people have the chance to run their fastest race. Also…everyone should get water. Period.

56 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 9:52 am

I 100% agree.

57 Claire December 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Wow, I can’t believe this post and your recap were both written by the same person. Strange. Eg recap “If you haven’t added the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon to your race bucket list, I would highly suggest it!”, vs this post: “I wouldn’t give up on racing the Strip at Night idea just yet (I still stand by how fun the course was at night), but only if they cap registration lower or a new organization takes over planning and executing.” It’s like you posted your recap and then saw what everyone else wrote and felt you needed to change your opinion. I think it’s fine that you had a great experience, and just because others didn’t it doesn’t change what you experienced. I guess I find this post confusing.

58 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 9:51 am

I did write my original recap before reading everyone else’s experiences on race day. That’s when I realized my experience was in the minority and that the conditions of the race for the majority were NOT acceptable. I’m still torn on this race because I did love my experience so much and I still believe it’s an experience every runner should have, but only if the organization changes things before opening registration. I never flat out told people not to do the race, I just wanted them to see the other side since I did recommend it previously.

59 Julie (A Case of the Runs) December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I also found this confusing! Last year, I ran a race that went fine for me but poorly for a lot of people (for similar reasons as RnRLV). However, I did not change my recap and stand behind my own experience. I’m even running the race again. =D

Don’t try to please everyone… just address that not everyone had everything run so smoothly and move on. Stick to your guns!
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60 Julie (A Case of the Runs) December 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

P.S. I think it’s sad and unfair that you were drafting an “RnR = Starbucks” post. All the RnR races were about the same as other races I’ve done of similar size. The fact that you quickly turned on the RnR group, just because people didn’t agree with your first post, is sad.
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61 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

That post has been in the works for a while, only originally I was comparing them to Wal-Mart. When I Tweeted that statement months ago I had several people respond that the statement didn’t make sense because RnR is expensive and Wal-Mart is cheap. When we were in Vegas, I came up with the Starbucks comparison before we even raced. You have to admit that it feels like RnR is taking over road races just like Starbucks is taking over coffee shops and Walmart is taking over mom and pop shops.

62 wymberley December 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm

San Antonio was a good experience as a whole. It was exciting, not too crowded and had great spectators most of the way. They Did spread the marathon water stops out more that stated on the brochure. They did run out of food.
Someone died.
Maybe the series should stop growing and perfect the problems…
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63 Emily December 8, 2011 at 8:34 am

I did not run it, but my cousin did. She definitely was a bit slower than you guys but she enjoyed it overall. But it was her first race ever (and a BIG one!) so I think she might have just been excited to finish? We’re going to give it a try next year, together.

64 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

Congrats to your cousin! It’s crazy how everyone’s race experiences differed so much for this race.

65 Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee December 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

I ran the Vegas half and also had a terrible experience. I have to admit that when I read your first recap, I was a bit surprised that you kind of said “get there early, duh” in regards to the large crowds ( or maybe that’s just how I took it). I did get there early and I still got trapped in Mandalay Bay on the way out to the start of the race, and couldnt get to my corral because of the lack of signage, the amount of runners, and the huge amount of spectators.

I’m a middle of the pack runner and thought I could go sub two at the race but was pushed and shoved several times along the course. My garmin was knocked off of my wrist! And they ran out of water at the aid stations early. I was in corral 6! Plus the fire hydrant water in garbage cans, volunteers with their hands in the drinking water, etc are things that should never be done! I was so sick afterwards and one of my friends ended up in the hospital bc of the lack of medical aid.

I hope they get it together next year but either way, I wont be running that race.
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66 Meghann December 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

I didn’t mean for it to be taken that way. I wrote that post before I read any of the aftermath that happened on race day. That quote was more in relation to what happened in Savannah where people who showed up to take the shuttles to start 30 minutes before start time had problems with huge crowds of people all trying to do the same thing. I’ve been in those huge crowds trying to get to the start before races and learned my lesson after that. In Savannah we were at the shuttles as soon as they started running and hopped right on. In Vegas we were at the trams a full hour and a half before the race and didn’t have a problem. We were also in the corrals 30 minutes before the start and I don’t remember the corrals being crazy, but I also think we were lost in our own little world.

The crowding in Mandalay Bay was unpredictable and dangerous. Nothing I said was in reference to those horrid conditions and all of that was out of control of racers, but should have been in control by Mandalay Bay or RnR.

I’m not sure how, but we missed a lot of the crazy stuff that happened on the strip and in the aftermath of race day. I honestly couldn’t believe when I read up on it all afterwards and was horrified, that’s why I felt the need to address it. It’s so crazy how two people who ran the same race, from the same corral, had two completely different races. There’s something terrible wrong with that.

67 Anne P December 8, 2011 at 10:14 am

It’s so insane that this race got so crazy so fast. We seriously must have just missed it all. Yikes! I feel so bad for everyone that had such a bad experience!
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68 Mari December 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

I’m glad you followed up on your original post, as I had the same experience the first time I read it – it’s almost like there were two different races out there. I’m glad you had a good experience, though.

I went to LV to try and PR (flat, lower elevation than at home), but was frustrated by the crowding. It was a dangerous situation, and I was one of those people who passed out and vomited at the end. I ended up pretty much matching my PR, but I was very disappointed, because I’d trained so hard and so long to get a sub 1:50, and was five minutes above that from trying to get around walkers and dodging other runners.

On another note, I realized the day after when I read your post that I had been running behind your little group for a little while Sunday night! I remember seeing the Attune foods shirts and wondering what your friend’s sign said on her back. It was my first blogger sighting during a race, and I didn’t even know it!

69 Jordan December 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

This was my first half and first RnR event. Sadly, I won’t be registering for any of their future events. I was in corral 15 and after the first several corrals, they stopped the minute in between each wave, there were no countdowns and it became a free for all. I ran into walkers around mile .5, I have nothing against walkers but when you are walking 3 – 4 people wide, it becomes a problem. I spent the entire race weaving and dodging which was extremely frustrating. Somehow, I managed to finish before my estimated finish time of 2:10.

I carried my own handheld water bottle and received a medal at the finish line. I read some comments that people had to wait in order to cross over the timing mat at the finish line. Thankfully, I didn’t experience the disaster at Mandalay Bay since I didn’t gear check a bag.

Honestly, I was shocked at how disorganized this race was, including the expo (packet pickup was easy, but exiting was not). For being the “big daddy” in road racing series, I expected a whole heck of a lot more.

I sincerely hope that Competitor puts a cap on next year’s Vegas race – I heard on the local Vegas news that CG/RnR wants it to be open to any and everybody that wants to participate and eventually want it to become the World’s Largest Marathon. They have a long way to go in order for it to be successful.

I really felt bad for the full marathoners, their one dedicated lane was the pits and nobody really knew that it was only for them. They really got shafted and if that’s the case, RnR should make it a half only.

All in all, I had a great time in Vegas but not so much during the race. It won’t stop me from running future races, only from the RnR series.

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