FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Las Vegas Strip is ready to Rock 'n' Roll
Professional field announced for the inaugural
Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon
Watch a live webcast of the race Sunday morning at www.runrocknroll.com
Las Vegas, NV – December 3, 2009 – An international field of elite athletes
will lead more than 27,000 registered runners down the Las Vegas Strip on
Sunday, December 6 for the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon and
Half Marathon powered by Zappos.com to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis
Foundation of America.
Nearly seven and a half miles of world-famous Las Vegas Boulevard will be
closed for the race, with the entire 13.1-mile half marathon course being
run on the Las Vegas Strip. The revamped event, managed for the first time
by San Diego-based Competitor Group, has been rebranded as part of the Rock
'n' Roll Marathon Series and drawn entrants from all 50 states and 39
With over 35 live bands interspersed with cheerleaders and themed water
stations along each mile of the course, the race will embody the spirit of
Las Vegas and feature a start line entertainment extravaganza, hundreds of
running Elvi, and 85 couples getting married or renewing their vows during
the 'Run Through Wedding' at the Eiffel tower in front of the Paris Resort.
The race will be broadcast in Las Vegas on KLAS Channel 8, the local CBS
affiliate, and offered live over the Internet on www.runrocknroll.com.
The main event will match the elite women against the elite men in a
special 'Battle of the Sexes' format that awards the first marathon runner
of either gender to cross the finish line a $10,000 bonus over and above
the first place prizes of $15,000. The elite women will begin the race
first, starting 19 minutes ahead of the men, a differential representing
the average time gap between the top 50 men's and women's marathon times of
2009. Once the 19:00 gap has passed, the elite men will take off with the
rest of the marathon field at 6:15 am and try to chase down the elite
women. The first person to break the finish tape will earn $25,000.
"The 'Battle of the Sexes' format has re-energized race coverage, while
bringing a rooting interest back to pro racing," explained Running USA Hall
of Fame announcer Toni Reavis, who will help call the race for KLAS-TV
along with Olympians Ed Eyestone and Juli Henner. "The men will have to
average better than 43 1/2 seconds per mile to make up the time gap over
Leading the men's field is 25-year-old Kenyan Matthew Koech, who owns a
sub-60:00 half marathon best. Las Vegas will mark his marathon debut, but
he won the prestigious Berlin 25k in May with a time of 1:13:24, the
seventh fastest time ever run for the distance. Leading the American
contingent will be Justin Young, a Butler University graduate who recently
represented Team USA in the marathon at the 2009 World Championships in
Berlin, Germany. Young established himself as one of America's elite
distance runners in 2008 with a breakthrough performance at the Rotterdam
Marathon, bettering his PR (personal record) by over five minutes to
2:13:54. Earlier this year, Young finished ninth at the U.S. Half Marathon
Championships in Houston with a personal best time of 1:03:25.
With a 2:06:36 marathon PR, France's Benoit Zwierzchiewski - known as
Benoit (Ben-wa) Z - owns the fastest time in the field. He has battled
injuries the over the past couple of years, but is now healthy and anxious
to challenge for the 'Battle of the Sexes' crown. Ethiopian-born Abebe
Yimer won the 2008 Las Vegas Marathon and rounds out the men's favorites.
Yimer lives and trains locally in Las Vegas, and recently became as U.S.
The women's elite field is lead by two runners with 2:26 PRs; Kenyan Alice
Timbilili and Russian Alevtina Ivanova. Timbilili is a two-time world cross
country medalist, who set her marathon PR of 2:26:39 in Paris last year.
Ivanova also ran her PR last year, winning the Nagano marathon in Japan in
"Las Vegas is going to provide a great backdrop for a fantastic challenge
as the men chase the women down one of the most famous streets on the
globe," said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete coordinator for the race. "We
have some great talent from all over the world, and it should be exciting
to watch it unfold."
Headlining the men's half marathon is 2009 Carlsbad 5000 road champion
Bekana Daba of Ethiopia, who is making his debut in the half marathon. Daba
has run a sensational 12:59 over 5,000m, with sub-13:00 being the gold
standard for 5000m track racing. The top American will be Fernando Cabada,
former winner of the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. Cabada also
recorded the ninth fastest debut marathon ever by an American with a time
Olympic triathlete Matt Reed will compete in the half marathon and
challenge the field of international distance runners. Matt won the 2008
U.S. Olympic Trials in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to qualify for the Beijing Olympic
Games, and has won six triathlons this year including the Miami
International, Oceanside 70.3, Pan American Championships, Rev3
Half-Ironman, Lifetime Fitness Minneapolis, and the Chicago Triathlon.
Highlighting the women's half marathon field is Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane,
winner of eight individual medals at the World Cross Country Championships,
and 2005 champion of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach,
where she ran her PR of 1:09:38.
Kidane will be challenged by rising American stars Desireé Davila and Sally
Meyerhoff. Davila runs with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in
Rochester Hills, Michigan and represented the USA at the World
Championships in Berlin over the summer. Meyerhoff set her 1:12:52 PR for
the half marathon at the 2008 Rock 'n' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon. Also
expected to contend is Katerina Stetsenko of Ukraine, who recently won the
2009 Dublin Marathon.
The professional field of elite runners will be introduced at the event
press conference on Friday, December 4 at 11:o0 am in the Mandalay Bay
Hotel, adjacent to the Performance Expo in Bayside Hall–C. Limited
registration for both the marathon and half marathon will be available at
the Performance Expo from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm Friday, December 4 and 9:00 am
- 5:00 pm Saturday, December 5. For more information, please visit
http://las-vegas.competitor.com or call (800) 311-1255.
About Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon
The inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon powered by
Zappos.com to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America will take
place on December 6, 2009, when more than 27,000 runners and walkers will
be at the start line on race morning. The marathon and half-marathon
courses give runners a one-of-a-kind view of the famed Las Vegas Strip,
which will be closed to all vehicular traffic and reserved exclusively for
A two-day Performance Expo, featuring over 100 vendors from the running,
health and fitness industries, will take place at Mandalay Bay on Friday,
December 4 and Saturday, December 5. All race participants must visit the
expo to pick up their race number, timing tag, T-shirt and goodie bag. For
more information about the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon,