Vegas is Vegas. Before and after the tragedy of October 1.
I am sitting in the restaurant Lago, watching the firework fountains of Bellagio, noticing the joy and anticipation on the faces of runners for the event to come. In the city, both runners and non-runners celebrate life. Two young women at the next table were unaware of what was going on, race wise, but came to hear the Backstreet Boys. And eat a fantastic lunch. Tina and Nina, both of LA, were meeting friends and family with what seemed to be thousands of people wandering around and enjoying the Las Vegas fever.
From the diverse crowd of the restaurant to the sporadic sighting of the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon shirts, to kids drinking daiquiri slurppies. The excitement is palpable. Vegas is like nowhere else in the world. All throughout the city, friends and family gather to talk, think and plan for the big race. Runners, in Las Vegas, must determine their race strategy, with so much temptation at every corner, abstaining can be tough.
While sitting at the pool at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, we met three young runners, Zena and Brie from Philadelphia, and Karina from Washington DC. Reading Runner’s World magazine and hoping to perform well in their race, they said they had no fear of another attack happening. “We’re not afraid,” said Zena. “We love to run and travel for races and that’s something we’ll never stop doing—despite the crazy times we live in.”
Those comments reflect the opinions were heard from a wide assortment of the 45,000 people that are about to race. At the race expo, people wore the bright VEGAS STRONG shirts that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is selling for $20, all proceeds going to victims of the shooting. What struck me from the time I landed is how the same vibrant excitement of Las Vegas has not been diminished one bit. Not for runners. Not for eaters. And not for any of the people here, having the time of their lives.