The Really Big Free Marathon

If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Twitter today, you know that Alan and I are in Las Vegas for the Really Big Free Marathon and Half Marathon. It is actually in the Lake Mead National Recreation area, and it is truly one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen.


To answer the question that I know you must have, yes it really was free. As unbelievable as that sounds, the great people at IO Events managed to pull it off with style, awesome sponsors, and a little blood sweat and tears. They got a lot of flak on their Facebook page from people saying that it couldn’t be done and that it was a scam (runners paid a “commitment fee,” of $50 which was refunded to them.)

Well, about 2,200 runners and I are here to tell you that it could be done and done well. Yes, there were a few glitches, but this was the first event of it’s kind, and even races that charge $160 have glitches.

Alan was the announcer, so we were out here early after spending the night in our awesome one bedroom suite at the host hotel, the Aston Montelago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas.

The marathon was scheduled to start at 6:00, but was delayed about 25 minutes until it was light enough to see (not a lot of ambient light out here at Lake Mead). The half marathon was also delayed because of runners having difficulty parking. That was one of the glitches that the race directors will address before the next Really Big Free race in the series, which is on May 18, 2013 in Carlsbad (half marathon only).

As for me, I’m not in half marathon shape, so, after the races started I took a six mile run out along the course. Did I say this is one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever seen?

It is now 6:45 into the marathon, and I’m writing this on my phone while I wait for Alan to greet the last few runners out there. I would like to say that while running a sub-3 hour marathon is an amazing accomplishment, the guts and determination that it takes to spend close to seven hours out there grinding out 26.2 miles is just as amazing.

As I mentioned, the Really Big Free Marathon is the first of it’s kind. In a time when marathon prices are climbing toward $200 (and I’m part of a couple, people!), I’m hoping that the powers that be in the marathon world take a look, see that it can be done, and react accordingly.

I am interested in your thoughts on the topic. What do you think about race prices? Are they too high? What’s important to you when you pay big money for a race? Would you be happy with a little less if you could run a free marathon (or half)? I would like to note that all runners received a t shirt, finisher’s medal, and there were awards for the first three finishers in each race plus race souvenirs for age group awards.

Let’s hear you thoughts!