Jeffrey Eggleston, Elvin Kibet Looking for Another Win at GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon
LAS VEGAS – November 7, 2017 – Resilience and unity are the operative words in Las Vegas these days. After last month’s tragic shooting, the words “Vegas Strong” are literally everywhere in the city. And in the spirit of not surrendering to fear, these words will be even more evident at this weekend’s GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon as thousands of participants lace up their shoes and take in the dazzling city in the evening while running down its brightly lit roads.
Security will be paramount at this year’s ninth edition. Organizers have dedicated countless hours since the tragedy, making key changes to ensure a safe and successful race. Specifically, the starting line, which, in the past had been held in front of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where last month’s shooting occurred, has been moved about a mile away. Also, the headliner act, the 90s band the Goo Goo Dolls, will instead play the traditional starting-line concert the evening before. And to pay respects for the victims of last month’s tragedy, the first 2.5 miles, which pass by the site of the shooting, will be music-free.
“In such close proximity to a tragic event, we didn’t want to be hosting a kickoff celebration,” said Josh Furlow, president of the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series. “But the drumbeat going through town is ‘Vegas Strong,’ so the first checkmark was: ‘Yes, we’re going to be doing the event and hosting athletes from all over the world.’”
Not to be overlooked at all the races (5K, 10K, half, and full marathon) throughout the weekend is the host of elites who will be battling for a podium spot. Sporting the number-one bib in the men’s marathon is Tyler Pence. The Springfield, Illinois resident will be making his debut in the 26.2-mile race. Pence is no stranger to strong finishes at Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series races, having won at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon last year. Another debutant will be giving Pence a run for his money: Ian Dobson. The 35-year-old has worn the Team USA singlet at the 2008 Olympics in the 5000m event and has an impressive half-marathon PR of one hour, two minutes, and 32 seconds that he set 11 years ago.
The women’s marathon will also be a head-to-head battle with Marissa Hird of Naperville, Illinois taking on Elizabeth Ehrhardt. Both runners have similar marathon PRs. Hird’s is 2:50:00, while Ehrhardt has run two minutes slower (2:52:10).
The GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, is expected to be a Japan versus U.S. throw down between Yuki Yagi and Jeffery Eggleston. The 28-year-old Yagi set his personal best of 1:01:37 three years ago. Yagi currently trains in the United States. Squaring off against the younger Japanese runners is the more-seasoned American, Eggleston (33 years old), who has won multiple Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series races, including Las Vegas as well as Virginia Beach. Eggleston has represented the United States at three world championships.
For the women half-marathon elites, it will be all about unseating defending champion Elvin Kibet who has also prevailed at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon last year. Kibet’s personal best for the 13.1-mile distance is 1:11:37. Her rivals on Sunday include Janet Bawcom and Brock Moreaux. Like Eggleston, Bawcom is a seasoned Rock ‘n’ Roll racer, having won marathons in New Orleans, Arizona, San Diego, Savannah and San Antonio. For Moreux, who debuts in Las Vegas, Sunday will be about learning how to race the half. She has run 52.35 at the Oklahoma 10 Miler, which she won.
In order to allow runners to experience the true magic of Las Vegas, both the half marathon and the marathon will start at 4:30pm, allowing for the best views of the city’s bright lights and along the famous “Strip”. The festivities don’t end after these two races have kicked off, however. At 5:45 couples who want to tie the knot or renew their vows can take part in the famous “Run-Through Wedding”—a five-minute ceremony that is fun, yet intimate, and takes place right on the marathon and half marathon course at the heart of Las Vegas Blvd.
Photo (Credit: Ryan Bethke)
About the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & ½ Marathon
The GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & ½ Marathon will take over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip the weekend of November 11-12, 2017. Race participants will enjoy the sights and sounds of lavish hotels, world-class entertainment and some of Vegas’ hottest music sensations performing on the course. In addition to live entertainment along the course, the Las Vegas event is renowned for hundreds of runners dressed as Elvis, known as the Running Elvi. Every year the event also includes a Run-Thru Wedding Chapel where runners in love can tie the knot or renew their vows. The finish line venue in front of The Mirage Volcano is conveniently located less than one mile from more than 15 hotels, offering runners a short walk back after the race. For more information about Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas, visit RunRocknRoll.com/Las-Vegas and follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.