For many world travelers, it is a lifelong aspiration to see the thrill of Pamplona, Spain’s annual Running of the Bulls. However, for the team at GroundFloor Media, that thrill took the form of participating in the “Running of the Elvises,” or more commonly referred to as the Las Vegas Half Marathon this December.
Months earlier in August of 2008, our company’s president and vice president, Laura Love and Ramonna Tooley, invited our team to consider taking on the challenge of the “LV 1/2.” Some of us called it more of a dare, rather than an invitation, on their part. But given that we’re a goal-driven group of people several of us threw caution to the wind, said “count us in,” and figured we’d somehow sort out the consequences later.
On the theory that the team that runs/jogs/walks together stays together, our rag-tag group of 30- and 40-somethings embarked on our rather improvisational training efforts over the late summer and early fall. Despite sprained ankles, shin splints and varied levels of fitness, our rag-tag team of Olympic wanna-bes set off to Vegas the first weekend of December to accomplish our mission: cross the finish line in ample time to catch our flights back home.
Fueled by a team pasta dinner the night before, our race-morning arrived bright and early on December 7th. Against the backdrop of the famed Vegas Strip, pre-dawn fireworks, 11,000 other runners and at least five dozen runners dressed as Elvis Presley, the starting gun went off at 6:05 a.m. – and we were on our way.
Cutting through the masses of running humanity, we each found our own comfortable pace and tackled the course. And, as you might imagine, the city of Las Vegas offered an anything-but-dull collection of scenery to keep runners and walkers visually distracted mile by mile. The first half of our journey spanned the length of the Strip from the “family friendly” luxury casinos and hotels to older historic Freemont Street area, while the course’s back half was speckled with flop houses, bail bonds offices, taxi depots and adult-only dance clubs. And, from beginning to end, we had the companionship of runners dressed up as showgirls, “professional” showgirls dressed up as pedestrians, high-school marching bands, Japanese taiko drummers, the LVPD and, naturally, a very broad array of running Elvises. At mile six, the course had a run-through wedding chapel for those so inclined to say “I do” in between sips of Gatorade – complete with Elvis as your best man and a showgirl as your bridesmaid. But, we’re happy to confirm that no members of GroundFloor Media even slightly slowed down their pace at this part of the race.
The exhilaration of reaching the finish line to the cheers and shouts of hundreds of spectators was a thrill for each of us that just might possibly rival that of seeing Pamplona’s Bulls. Goodness knows some of us were about as graceful as a bull by the time reach reached the course’s end!