It’s 2,180 miles one way from Gastonia NC to Las Vegas, so this was a special destination race for me and it was a great one. The race organizers definitely know what they’re doing and everything was top notch, from the race website and communicating what to expect to the professional quality photos that runners were able to download for absolutely free.
A few months back I decided it would be nice if this could be my 100th half marathon, but in order for it to be #100 I would need to run 6 half marathons over a 9-week period for that to happen. I managed to meet that goal, but as I write this six days after the race my legs are still beat up and I only managed to run one very slow mile this week. I feel like I’ll be back to normal over the next week or two, and I’ll probably run this week’s planned 5k, but I have a feeling it’ll be a slow one, and I’m thinking I’ll take a break from so many half marathons in the future. Instead of a half marathon every month, which has been a general rule of thumb with my racing, I think a more realistic and doable goal would be four to six half marathons a year for as long as I can handle it.
A group of eight of us from my running club (Gaston County Runners) flew out for the race so it was nice to have some friends along. We all stayed on the Las Vegas strip but that’s not really my thing, so I think next time around I’ll stay closer to the race site, which is around 20 miles from downtown. Another good reason for that and a reason I’m planning on coming back in the future is that my oldest son lives in Las Vegas and actually woke up on race day with runners from this race running past his house. He turns 50 on May 24th and hasn’t been a runner, but he’s considering it, and it would be fantastic if we could run this race together one year. I began running at the age of 56 so he’s got plenty of time. Oh, and before I get back to talking about the race, the real highlight of this whole trip to LV was visiting my son, his three kids (my grandchildren), and their four kids (my great grandchildren!). All of the great grandkids had been born since our last trip nine years ago to Las Vegas, and being around them for the first time was surreal. I knew them from Facebook, but getting to know them in person was a real treat, and it was a beautiful experience to get to see each of their personalities up close for the first time. For that reason alone I’d like to add this race to my calendar every year for as long as I can.
Back to the race. Runners parked about a mile from the finish line — half marathoners parked at Walmart and marathoners across the street at Target. The buses were really nice and I remember thinking they looked as good or better than the airplane we flew out on. Marathoners were taken near the top of the mountain to an elevation of 7,633 feet (higher than any mountain in North Carolina by the way) and the half marathon runners started at an elevation of 4,522 feet. The elevation at the finish line was 2,507 feet so was plenty of downhill in both races. Of course, with a little over 2000 feet of downhill I hoped for a blazing fast time but I wasn’t expecting any miracles, so just finishing in under 1:40:00 was an accomplishment since I hadn’t done it this year. I was somewhat satisfied with my finishing time of 1:38:02, which was 2nd in the 65-69 age group.
The post-race fare included cherry pie, pizza, and the usual assortment of post-race food. It was a little disappointing that there wasn’t an awards ceremony for age group winners. A little strange actually, since everything else was done so perfectly for the rest of the race. No big problem though. There was a special medal for age group winners (very nice) that was in addition to the spectacular finishers medal that all runners received.
All in all it was a great race — one of my favorites — and I’ll plan on returning as often as I can. It will most likely be my fastest race each year that I do it, so it’ll provide a clear benchmark for my current potential.
Race Number: 375
Race Name: Revel Mount Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: April 29, 2017
Race Rating: 113
Marathon Winners (Top 25):
Half Marathon Winners (Top 25):
Course: Mostly downhill course on paved roads in Kyle Canyon at Mount Charleston just outside Las Vegas. Very few turns in the entire race, and only a little bit of uphill in the 11th mile.
Weather at Start: Sunny, 55 degrees, 14 mph North wind, 24% humidity.
Photos (and several videos) show up on each runner’s results page. Here’s a link to mine as an example.
Age Group: 2 of 21
Overall: 143 of 1705
Average Heart Rate: 162
Maximum Heart Race: 175
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:16:25 (76.4%)
* RACE RATING *
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
5 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
10 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)