Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Laughlin/Bullhead 1/2 Marathon and 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Laughlin 1/2 Marathon and 5K a couple weeks ago, and have just now fully processed the experience. It was my first official half marathon, so it was extra fun and exciting. The course was beautiful, the course was challenging, and everything was extremely organized and efficient, especially for a first year race.
Many of the first year races I have participated in have been sloppy, poorly planned, and lacking in communication. This race, was completely the opposite, from start to finish.
Packet Pickup: Packet pickup took place in one of the event hotels, the Colorado Belle, which was walking distance from my own hotel, the Edgewater Hotel and Casino (also an host hotel). There were many volunteers, and while the expo itself was rather small, the volunteers were so welcoming and encouraging. Packet pickup was overall smooth and quick.
Pre-Race: The race start was moved slightly, but was still just across the street from the Colorado Belle. We were happy for the walk, because it was a rather chilly morning with a biting wind, and standing still made it feel colder.
We approached the start line at the outlet center, and the majority of the set up was already completed. We were decked out in warm clothes, and waited until it got closer to start time before shedding the layers and dropping our bags. We left our pre-marked bags in a uhaul which was to meet us at the finish, and headed towards the start line.
Race: The race started just a few minutes after 7am, and took us out through the main street of Laughlin, heading away towards the desert. We made a turn and headed straight up a hill, lovingly deemed “That Dam Hill” by the race director.
The hill continued until almost mile 3, and we quickly understood the nickname. The down hill that followed was a sweet relief. The down provided an excellent view of the dam, and the surrounding scenery. We stopped a lot to take photos and just enjoy the experience.
After this portion, we entered the trail miles, which entailed more uphill through a wash. It was challenging to say the least, but we came across a gunslinger and got some snacks, so they rough trail was worth it!
The downhill on the retreat made the trail much more enjoyable, and about this time, my spotify decided to no longer work (and I didn’t even miss it for the rest of the race because of the scenery).
After the trail, we started to head up another hill! One of the volunteers told me that this was the last hill, and I told him he better not be lying or I would find him later. He chuckled, and said again there was only one more hill. He lied. That one hill ended, we crossed the dam, and then started another ascent to the best aid station of the day. These volunteers were giving their all, cheering, singing and ringing cow bells. We turned back for the down hill, and stopped for a few more selfies.
The rest of the race was really down hill from this point…and in a good way. We headed down a manicured cement path and saw the hotels and casinos in the distance. This path ran along the river, and led us back to the finish line.
And so, I finished my first official half marathon.
Post-Race: One of my friends fell during the race, so we stayed at the finish waiting for her to cross. By the time we made it back to the post-race celebration, it was basically wrapping up. The last of the age group winners were just being announced, and the majority of the racers were already gone. We got a huge plate of food and a free beer and enjoyed sitting and stretching in the grass for several minutes before heading off to get a shower and a meal.
Overall, this race was a really enjoyable and beautiful race. I can’t wait to join in the fun again next year, and bring a couple more friends!