A death march through the desert. That’s how I would describe the Laughlin Half Marathon in Nevada. I ran the Laughlin Half Marathon in March 2008. I had thought about running another half marathon in Nevada- the Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Half Marathon, but wasn’t sure about running through all of the tunnels. I thought it could go either way- either it would be terrible because the runners get bottle-necked around the tunnels or it would be novel and fun.
Ultimately I chose the Laughlin Half Marathon, and I have to say this race was one that was pure torture from start to finish. They really should have started it much sooner than 8 am because the sun was out in full force beating on us runners and by the end, I was simply exhausted from the heat.
The description of the race from their website includes comments such as “Enjoy the river as you run along the Colorado River… enjoy panoramic views of the Arizona and Nevada mountains,” but honestly I didn’t think the view was that nice when I was running. But then again, all I could think about was the stifling heat and the wind beating down on us on the way back.
The course was also on what they called packed dirt with a gravel overlay but I really had problems getting my footing on the gravel. In some places the gravel was so thick and uneven I had to slow down so I wouldn’t fall or twist an ankle. I see they now have a 7 am start time, which is a good move. An hour earlier would have made a big difference when I ran it.
At the finish, there were bananas, oranges, and bagels. This was definitely one of the smaller post-race spreads I’ve seen. The medals were small (not much bigger than a silver dollar) but cute. We also got white short-sleeve cotton t-shirts with the race logo.
As it was when I ran the race, the Avi Resort and Casino is the official host hotel for the race. The best part about staying there is the proximity to the race start/finish. Just about the only thing I really liked about the Avi Resort and Casino other than location to the race is they do at least have a pool, which my daughter loved. Not being gamblers, my husband and I didn’t visit the casino but it’s definitely low-scale compared to most of the mega casinos in Las Vegas. To drive from Las Vegas to Laughlin is a little over an hour and a half.
From my post-race notes: “8 am start meant very hot conditions for most of course. Ran out and back on dirt course, with loose gravel in places, which made proper footing difficult. Very windy and hot on way back. Not fun at all. Was just glad to finish this one. Volunteers and crowds sparse. Finish time was 2:07:06.8.”