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Las Vegas Marathon & Half-Marathon Shows Explosive Growth

Next Sunday's Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half-Marathon shows explosive growth from last year, selling out with a whopping 44,000 entries. The growth, in part, is driven by the organizers' decision to hold the race in the evening to take full advantage of the glittering lights of Las Vegas's famous Strip.

"We truly believed moving the Las Vegas event to a nighttime start would raise the bar for the entire running industry," said Scott Dickey, President of the for-profit Competitor Group Inc., owner and operator of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, through a statement. "We couldn't have done this without the support and cooperation from Las Vegas Events, Clark County and each of the resorts on the Strip. It's going to be unlike any other running event in history."

Last year's races in Las Vegas had a traditional morning start, and the marathon recorded 5,154 finishers while the accompanying half-marathon had 19,169 finishers (24,323 total for both events out of approximately 28,000 entrants). Even with a 15% attrition rate --typical for large road races-- this year's event should see 37,000+ finishers, making the race the world's largest nighttime running event (the marathon starts at 4:05 p.m. and the half-marathon begins at 5:30 p.m.)

The event will provide a much-needed economic jolt for Las Vegas, one of the worst-hit cities in the United States by the recession. Organizers reported that 63,000 hotel room-nights have been sold helping to generate a $91 million economic impact for hotels, restaurants and retailers.

"We can't wait to deliver that experience to the 44,000 runners with their friends and family under the neon lights of Las Vegas," Dickey added.

The dry weather and flat course will provide elite athletes an excellent opportunity to tune-up (or even qualify) for January's Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston. Patrick Smyth, Brian Olinger, and Amy Hastings are amongst the top athletes planning to run the half-marathon.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved; Used with permission