The Half Marathon Course
The December weather in Laughlin and Bullhead City is perfect for an early morning race – crisp, clear, with mild temperatures and visibility for miles. Speaking from experience, the Mojave Desert is one of the most picturesque, peaceful and tranquil places to run on Earth. The Half Marathon course begins in the parking lot in front of Laughlin High School, weaves through the school grounds including one lap around the track before heading out onto the highways around Laughlin. Miles 2 – 3.3 are a steady climb of 321’ as you make your way toward Highway 163. From Needles Highway you will cross over onto the Westbound lanes of Highway 163 where you will be running East as you start the fastest portion of this course. You’re now facing 3.3 miles of DOWNHILL (loss of 683’) as you speed toward Davis Dam Rd. Be sure to look up at the sun rising over the Black Mountains in the Arizona distance checking out the Colorado River and Casino Row in the foreground – this is one of the most breathtaking vistas of the course. Leaving Highway 163 you turn north onto Davis Dam Rd, continuing the steady downhill trek as your thundering footfalls echo in the desert’s silence. Be sure to look for the cowboys that are sometimes seen riding along this part of the course and give the horses at Pot-O-Gold Stables a hearty wave.
The hulking bulwark of the Davis Dam appears eerily in the distance and you head straight as the glorious downhill comes to an end. You begin the brief ascent onto the rim of the Davis Dam itself. A peek over your shoulder reveals a stunning view of sunrays dappling like brilliant diamonds on the surface of the mighty Colorado River. The rim of the Davis Dam allows you to cross from Nevada into the State of Arizona, and you are welcomed by a million-dollar view of Lake Mohave to your left. The brilliant hues of the lake’s surface shift from deep cobalt to cerulean blues and are so beautiful it disappoints your eyes to tear them away. Be sure to take advantage of our #SelfieSpot where you have the opportunity to take your photograph with one foot in NV, and one in AZ. Wait! Without warning, you notice that your Running Watch and smart phones have suddenly gained precisely one hour. WTH? Am I running that slow? No. Not only have you crossed into the Grand Canyon State, but into the Mountain Standard Time Zone as well – it’s the FUTURE! Watches and phones will be momentarily confused, but the mystery will only be temporary. You journey into Arizona to the only out-and-back portion of the course. The journey through Arizona is relatively brief (depending on how your legs are holding up) and after making the turnaround you return to re-cross the Davis Dam and back into the Silver State – Nevada. Your return to Casino Row will be along the banks of the Colorado River via Laughlin’s new Heritage Greenway Trail, a beautiful, newly-opened public park filled with hiking and equestrian trails.
Your final push to the finish includes a bridge crossing (sorry for the slight uphill to the bridge) and descent onto Casino Drive where you will glimpse the finish line ¾ of a mile ahead! The cheering crowd of spectators welcomes you home; where a volunteer will congratulate you and drape a well-deserved medal around your neck. Exhausted, but exhilarated – high on endorphins and the satisfaction of your performance, it is time to Celebrate! Grab a water and follow the volunteers to the Marquee of the Edgewater Hotel and Casino where a live band, DJ, essential nourishment, hydration, benches and a Free Beer* await you! A festive celebration to wash away your weariness and an opportunity to revel with your fellow racers and race supporters. Enjoy!!
*Free beer to runners 21 and over.
The 5K Course
This is not your typical out-and-back 5K course. The glitz and glamour of Laughlin’s Casino Row is quiet in the early morning sunlight. The music at the starting line is pumping you up for this epic racing event! You toe the line on a wide open stretch of Casino Row and at the sound of the horn launch yourself North, past the Aquarius Hotel, the Riverside Resort and on towards the turn which will take you up and over the famed Pedestrian Bridge. The wonderful and wild Colorado River appears to your right and you notice the sunlight dappling on the surface like so many diamonds. Your course is due north and before you know it the turnaround is ahead. Staying to the Right on the trail, you make a nice wide U-turn and are treated to Desert Landscape and sights you missed on the way out.
Save a bit for your final push to the finish for your return trip down the River takes you up and over the stylish Pedestrian Bridge, this jewel of architecture connecting the wild, natural Laughlin Heritage Trail with the night-dazzling Casino Row. There is a small hill from the trail to the bridge, but once you are across there is nothing but sweet downhill all the way to the finish. Raise your arms in glorious victory and wave to the hundreds of cheering fans! Follow the signs to the 5K Finish Chute on the sidewalk where you will be welcomed back by a volunteer who will drape a well-deserved medal around your neck. It’s time to Celebrate! Grab a water and follow the volunteers & signs to the Marquee of the Edgewater Hotel and Casino where a live band, DJ, essential nourishment, hydration, benches and a Free Beer* await you! A festive celebration to wash away your weariness and an opportunity to revel with your fellow racers and race supporters. Enjoy!!
*Free beer to runners 21 and over
The staging area for the both races is located in front of the Laughlin Outlet Center. There will be free parking available in the parking structure at the Outlet Center. Access to the Outlet Center Parking lot as well as runner drop off lane will be available from Bruce Woodbury Drive ONLY. Race-day packet pickup will be in the lower level of the Laughlin Outlet Center. If you are staying at the Edgewater, Colorado Belle, Tropicana or Aquarius, it is a short walk to the Laughlin Outlet Center.
Half Marathon Runners: Arrive at the Laughlin Outlet Center with ample time to pick up your packet (allow up to 20 minutes if you have not already done so) and then board your bus at your designated times. Gear check, hot beverages and porta-potties, will be located in the starting area at Laughlin High School. Corrals will be roped off and clearly designated. Please make your way to your race corral ten minutes before race time. Please note that NO unauthorized vehicles are allowed on the course during the race!
As the Half Marathon is a point-to-point course, the finish line will be at the Laughlin Outlet Center. If you choose to drive to the Starting Line at Laughlin High School, please note that there will NOT be any shuttles that will transport you from the Outlet Center to the High School after the race and you will need to arrange transportation to recover your car.
There will be ample places for spectators to cheer on the runners near the start of the race. Please see the spectator guidelines section for more information.
5K Runners – your starting line and finish line will be in front of the Laughlin Outlet Center. Please access the parking structure off of Bruce Woodbury Drive, park in the Structure and make your way to Casino Drive. You may pick up your Race Packet on the lower level of the Outlet Center and please be at the starting line by 7:50 AM for the singing of the National Anthem.
For more information on how to get to the start or finish please view the Transportation page.
Spectators are welcome and have easy access to a variety of areas perfect for viewing and cheering on your runners.
Half Marathon Runners
PLEASE NOTE that all Spectators will need to select one spot to view the runners (other than the finish line) and then will be required to wait until all runners pass before you will be allowed to move your car. As the roads will be shut down to vehicle traffic, you are not allowed to “leapfrog” throughout the course. All spectator vehicle drivers must pick up a YELLOW Spectator Placard when you pick up your packet which will allow your cheer squad’s vehicle access to one of the Parking Areas. You must arrive to your Cheer Parking Area by 6:45 am. At 6:45 am, no vehicle traffic will be allowed to enter the course. Once the final runner passes your parking area, you will be allowed to move your vehicle to the Laughlin Outlet Center where you can meet your runner at the finish line!
At the Starting line at Laughlin High School there are three designated lots which will give you a great view of the runners. Access these by driving West on Bruce Woodbury to Needles Highway, turn North (right) to and then after showing the officer your Spectator Placard, turn East (right) on Hiko Springs Road, following this to the High School where you will be directed to the appropriate parking lot.
- Lot A – near the Starting Line – look for the arch and make your way outside of the starting corals.
- Lot B – you may park here and have access to the corner of Cougar Lane and Spirit Drive – here the runners will pass TWICE Mile .5 and Mile 1.3. Once just after the start, and once as they make their way back up Cougar Drive.
- Lot C – you may park here if you would like access to view the runners on the Laughlin High School Track (Mile .8).
There are two parking areas off of Davis Dam Road. Access these two by driving North on Casino Drive (toward the Riverside Resort) at the intersection, show the officer your Spectator Placard and proceed West (left) on Highway 163. At Davis Dam Rd, you will be required to show your Placard once again as you turn North (right) and continue to the bottom of the hill.
- Lot D – Pot-O-Gold Stables will appear on your right as you come to the bottom of the hill and you may park here and cheer the runners as they cruise the downhill portion of the race (Mile 6.2).
- Lot E – Pyramid Park Overflow Lot: Continue past the Pot-O-Gold stables and look for the medical tent, the porta-potties and the water stations – you may park on the dirt lot away from the medical area. A short walk toward the Dam takes you to Pyramid Park where a playground, great views of the Davis Dam and the Colorado River and ample cheering space for the runners await. Note that the runners pass this area TWICE. Once on the outbound leg as they approach the Dam, and once on their return to run along the Colorado River (Mile 6.5 and 10.3).
NOTE: As traffic will continue to flow in and out of this entrance, you will be able to access this Lot F throughout the Race. Heritage Trail, South End. Access this lot by heading North on Casino Drive. At the intersection, show your Spectator Placard to the Officer and turn West (left) on Hwy 163. Immediately get in your RH lane as you will make a RH U-Turn BEFORE you reach the Pedestrian Bridge.
- Lot F – Heritage Trail, South Point. This is best for cheering on those running the 5K (they will pass twice, Mile 1 and 2 and the Half Marathon runners will pass this way as well (Mile 12). You will be allowed to exit at any time, but keep in mind that when you exit you will travel up Highway 163 to Thomas Edison Dr., head South (left) all the way to Bruce Woodbury to access the Outlet Center
Finally, if you park your car at the Laughlin Outlet Center, you have an opportunity to cheer your runners from the parking lot on the North East corner of the property. This is just north of the electronic sign on Casino Drive. You may meet your runners at the Finish Line and escort them to the Post Race PARTY! The Party is just a half block down beneath the marquee of the Edgewater Casino Resort. There will be directional signs and we hope that you join us! There’s nourishment, music, bleachers and BEER awaiting all finishers there! There will also be beer for sale for you spectators.
Water/Hydration and Aid Stations
Six Water/Hydration and three First Aid stations will be provided on-course between the start and finish. Each station will contain both Dasani Drinking Water and PowerAde. The cool desert air can keep you sweat free, but please stay hydrated throughout the race! Various non-profits, school teams and other groups host these aid stations. They are placed on-course at key locations and intervals approximately 2 miles apart. Bring your own nourishment if you wish and please discard wrappers and cups in trash receptacles at aid stations and throughout the course, or put them in your pocket and not alongside the road! We must all work together to preserve this desert landscape.
After completing your 13.1 mile journey through the picturesque Mojave Desert and receiving your finisher’s medal, you’ll be escorted across Casino Drive to the Edgewater Hotel and Casino Resort CELEBRATION area. Through the Recovery Chute you’ll be treated to a variety of post-race food and other beverages designed to help your body begin the recovery process immediately. Most of your items will be placed in a bag and handed to you as you move through the tent. Please continue in one direction out of the tent into the general public area. There is no re-entry into the Recovery Chute. Water and recovery drinks are available in the tent and you will find additional water and recovery drink options in the festival area. If you are over 21, enjoy our Beer Garden hosted by PINTS at the Colorado Belle whose award winning Brew Master, Chuck Croix will serve up a special Half Marathon Handcrafted Brew. Every finisher is entitled to one Free Beer and additional beer tickets can be purchased on site.
To enter the half marathon, you must be able to finish the course in 4 hours (7:00 am – 11:00 am) and keep an 18:00/mile pace or better. Casual walkers are not permitted in the half marathon due to this time limit. If you cannot keep the required pace on course, you will not be guaranteed course supervision by law enforcement and volunteers. In the event you cannot finish the race, or fall behind the 18 min./mile pace, a SWEEPER vehicle will be following the final law enforcement car and will pick you up for transport to the finish.
The Finish Line
Do not sit still right after the race. Regardless of the weather, it is important to keep moving. Your circulatory system is your body’s antifreeze and coolant; therefore, your body needs to keep moving to keep your blood moving. If you stop too soon it is easy to become too hot and hyperthermic. It is equally important to keep moving in cold weather, because body movement produces heat and circulation prevents body parts from getting too cold. When you finish, change into warm, dry clothing. Foil blankets will help you stay warm, but may not prevent you from becoming too cold. Therefore, it is important that you change into dry clothes immediately. Keep drinking plenty of fluids to help relieve your body of muscular by-products. Fluids and food are available just past the finish line in the Recovery Tent. If you are feeling ill or weak, do NOT attend the Beer Garden. If attending the Post-Race PARTY, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated through the rest of the day and be careful not to overindulge.
Where Can I Get Help?
On the Course
If you need help find an aid station for assistance. There will be three Medical Aid Stations along the course at Miles 6.5/10.25 (you pass this one twice), Mile 8.5 and at the Finish Line. Medical personnel will wear red shirts with a medical cross. They are equipped to assist with minor emergencies and will properly direct those with major emergencies, including calling for an on-course ambulance for assistance. If you need help, find an aid station for assistance. If you are unable to finish the race but do not require medical assistance, be sure to stop and wait for the SWEEPER vehicle for transport back to the finish area. If you require medical attention, please ask for transport to a hospital, or to the medical tent at the finish if it’s not an emergency.
At the Finish
A comprehensive medical aid station is available where you can receive temporary treatment for medical conditions. If you proceed into the Post Race PARTY and decide you need medical assistance, return to the medical tent at the finish line.
Make sure your relatives know your race number. Carry a cell phone. Be courteous to other runners. Have FUN!!