I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego in 1998. I was there. I ran it. But, I had no idea, then, that I had been present for something that would change the running industry in general, and road racing in particular, forever.
Today, in Las Vegas, I was there again for a cosmic shift in the running universe. The difference is that THIS time, I knew it.
As I walked down Las Vegas Blvd at 4:10 AM the first thing I noticed was the two giant screens. Not little giant screens. BIG giant screens. It was only as I got closer that I realized that those screens flanked a giant stage that had been built across Las Vegas Blvd. Across Las Vegas Blvd.
As I climbed the flight of stairs to get to the announcer’s platform I could hardly believe what I seeing. They had built a stadium stage above the street.
And THEN I look down and see a caged white tiger being placed on the platform just in front of, and below, where I would be standing. A WHITE TIGER. Of course, there was another white tiger on the other side.
THEN, the show girls climbed up on their platform. THEN, the entire Blues Brothers band and entourage climbed up onto the main stage. And THAT wasn’t even the coolest part of the start.
We look up and see lights from the shoes of 4 skydiving Elvi who were trying to land on a P.F. Chang’s bulls-eye on the street just in front of the start line. One by one they landed within feet of the target after dropping from the sky in near total darkness. And THAT wasn’t the coolest part.
It seems almost unecessary to mention that a Celine Dion impersonator sang the National Anthem because THAT wasn’t the coolest part.
The coolest part was that the race started not with a gun, not with an air-horn, not even with a cannon, but with loud, booming, fireworks that went on forever. And then everyone got to run under the stage and see the band and the tigers and the show girls. It was radical.
Oh yeah, there was a race going on. Somebody came in first, but the truth is everyone who was there won. Everyone there was a part of history. It was the largest participatory sporting event in Nevada history, and it was just the beginning.
You heard it here first. I predict that this will become the largest road race in the United States soon. The city can certainly handle it. The staff at Competitor Group can certainly handle it. And I think the running community is ready for a year-end blow-out event unlike anything that has ever been.
And I’ll be there!