Brian Johnson (MM8807, DA707, HF7287)-
- Marathon Distance or Longer 41
- State 24
- Revel Mt Charleston Marathon, Just outside of Last Vegas Nevada. April 1, 2023.
After seeing the pictures from other Marathon Maniacs who ran this race in 2022, I immediately decided I had to do this race. It looked like a lot of fun.
Besides needing Nevada for my fifty states of marathons, the biggest attraction for doing the race was running down a mountain with a 5000 foot change in elevation.
I knew it was going to be an adventure from the start. I would be traveling across country from Ohio to Nevada, adjust to a 3 hour time difference, and still run a marathon. Little did I know, it was going to be more of an adventure than I thought.
The race was on Saturday. I decided to arrive 2 days earlier to get used to the time change. Also, I had never been to Las Vegas before and I wanted to experience it. I spent Thursday exploring the Las Vegas Strip and on Friday, I went to the race expo to pick up my race packet and see what the expo had to offer.
The expo gives people a lot of motivational opportunities. There are different “motivational walls” you can sign, which was fun. I was able to to get my bib/race packet without incident.
I knew Saturday morning was going to be interesting.
My day Saturday started at 2:15 am. This was my wake up time to be able to catch the shuttle bus at 3:15am. According to the race instructions, the shuttle bus pickup was between 3:15-4:15 am for a 6am start. This required getting an Uber from my hotel on the strip, to the north part of Las Vegas.
The folks at runner services at the expo, specifically said you needed to be on time for the the shuttle bus to the top of Mt Charleston. They said if you miss the shuttle bus, you won’t be able to do the race.
I was one of the first people on the shuttle bus at 3:15. It was kind of cool. It was a party bus.
We started the long trek out of the city and up Mt Charleston, 26 miles away. Little did we know that we were in for a bit of a shock.
Vegas had been unseasonably cold. It was one of the coldest winters in years. Being originally from South Dakota, I was ready for cold, but ugh!
There was still snow on the top of Mt. Charleston. It had snowed earlier in the week. I saw on weather reports that it had been snowing on the mountain off and on for the 2 weeks before the race.
Looking at the snow in some spots, I estimated the snow was up to 7 feet deep.
We asked the bus driver what the bus read for an outside temperature before we got off of the bus. He said “23 degrees”. It made for a cold morning. I spent more than 90 minutes in a jacket and shorts, huddled up under an emergency blanket trying to stay warm.
Imagine 1500 people huddled up in a small area, trying to stay warm, waiting for the race start.
What made it cool, was all of the Marathon Maniacs I was able to meet along the way.
The sunrise at the race start was just beautiful
When we hit 6am, the race started. The little bit of an uphill at the start was a bit of a shock. Shortly after that, it started 20 miles of a downhill.
I recommend this race purely for the views. They are stellar.
As we ran down the mountain, the snow slowly started to disappear. It also started to get a lot flatter.
Every now and then I would find a person to run with. I ran a few miles with Penny and Gysel.
I made a conscious decision to run with music for this race. It was my first time in years doing it. I stopped running with music because I would keep breaking the headphone wires (2016) . Running, while listening to music, definitely made a difference.
I was using a relatively new item, the Noxgear 39 speaker. It worked really well!. I spent quite a bit of time with no one around me. The music helped keep me out of my head for the race.
Somewhere near mile 20, the race course started to flatten out. I was still quite happy with my progress coming down the hill. My goal was to try to finish as close to 6 hours as I could. Little did I know there was going to be 2 things in my way. One of those was at mile 23.
The little trick with this course was the slight uphill at Mile 23. After 20 miles of a downhill, to eventually see an uphill, I immediately said, “No” and decided to walk it. It was almost a cruel!
The other issue that I ran into was I started to develop a blister that I could feel around mile 22. It forced me to walk a lot more than I wanted to.
At the start of the race, it was 24 degrees. By the time we got to the lower elevations, it was almost 70 degrees.
I did eventually get to the finish line, just 29 minutes later than I wanted to. I was still happy with how the race turned out.
I also got to spend a few minutes talking with Rick Albanese after the race. He is a great person and really knowledgeable. He gave me a lot of tips to improve my ultra-marathon game.
Would I recommend this race? Absolutely. Would I recommend this race if you need Nevada? Definitely. The only thing I would have changed is I would have had a rental car during my time there.