Las Vegas, NV –– A momentous, entertainment extravaganza featuring two white Bengal tigers, Vegas showgirls, skydivers and a 15 minute fireworks show greeted more than 27,600 runners at the start line of the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon. For the first time in Las Vegas marathon history, the entire Strip was closed in both directions for the event.On top of the pomp and circumstance of the event, elite runners ran fast times showing the speed of the new course. Caroline Rotich of Kenya won the women’s race and “Battle of the Sexes” competition, crossing the line in 2:29:47. Kenyan Christopher Toroitich won the men’s full marathon in 2:15:15, while Bekana Daba, in his half-marathon debut turned in a scorching 1:01:40 to win the half-marathon. Ethiopian Werknesh Kidane, an eight-time medalist at the World Cross Country Championships, won the women’s half-marathon in 1:10:55.
Professional women lead the way
The professional women set off at 5:56 am, 19 minutes ahead of the professional men in a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ competition for a $10,000 first prize bonus. 25-year-old Caroline Rotich of Kenya emerged victorious in dramatic fashion with a winning time of 2 hours, 29 minutes, and 47 seconds. Rotich made up a 23 second gap over the final two miles to catch long-time race leader Alevtina Ivanova of Russia. Rotich made the winning pass at 2:26:50 into the race. Less than 3 minutes later she crossed the finish line as champion, earning $25,000 for the victory.
“This was the biggest win of my career so far,” said Rotich, who passed the halfway mark 75 seconds behind Ivanova and Alice Timbilili of Kenya. Rotich then reeled off a negative second half split of 1:12:33.
“At 20 miles they were far away from me I decided to run my own race,” explained Rotich. “At 25 miles I thought, you have to go, you can win!”
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