Las Vegas Strip to close for marathon runners |

Las Vegas Strip to close for marathon runners

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The new owner of the Las Vegas Marathon is changing the name, the sound and the feel of the race, with plans to let runners log more miles on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Competitor Group and Las Vegas-area elected officials announced Wednesday at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that the race is being rerouted for its Dec. 6 debut as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon.

“We wanted to make a significant break from the previous event,” said Adam Zocks, race general manager. He credited local leaders with supporting the idea of shutting down Las Vegas Boulevard – a rarity in a city where casinos are always open and boulevard traffic is heavy.

“This took a lot of cooperation to do something unprecedented,” said Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid, one of the event’s biggest supporters. “I hope you can envision tens of thousands of people waiting to run down the most famous street in the world.”

The Competitor Group organizes Rock ‘n’ Roll marathons in 11 other cities, including a flagship race in San Diego. The events feature live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations along running routes.

In Las Vegas, runners will again start beneath the marquees of the Strip’s biggest hotels and casinos, but will no longer pass through the downtown Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall. A half-marathon will be run completely on the Strip, while marathoners will run for several miles through neighborhoods west of the Strip.

The previous race owner, Devine Racing of Chicago, moved the start of the race to the Strip in 2005, after buying the rights to an underfunded and underpromoted race. It had been run since 1983 on a desert highway, finishing at a county park.

Devine gained access to the boulevard when authorities agreed to shut down one direction of traffic for several hours.