Laughlin/Bullhead Half Marathon
07 December 2019
Set for its annual running this year in the cool, crisp and dry climate of Nevada’s Mojave Desert, the Laughlin/Bullhead Half Marathon unfolds along an out-and-back route that starts on Casino Row and features its biggest hills in the first three miles, with what organizers say are only gentling rolling hills or flat terrain after that.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.
This course starts and ends in front of the Laughlin Outlet Center – mid-strip on Casino Row. Runners head north on Casino Drive and wind their way onto Laughlin Highway 163 and turn west. Between the Starting Line and mile 2.6, you cover a mild 352’ ascent – and this is as tough as it gets. The remainder of the course consists of rolling hills with the final 4.3 miles all nearly flat or downhill!Leaving Laughlin Highway 163 the course jogs north onto Davis Dam Rd, where a steady downhill welcomes the runners whose thundering footfalls echo in the desert’s silence. The hulking bulwark of the Davis Dam appears eerily in the distance when you take a sudden left turn and head into the Mojave Desert. For the next 1.5 miles you are treated to unique and fascinating desert landscapes as you lope along Stonehouse Road – a 4 x 4 hard packed dirt trail. At the turnaround point you reverse direction and pass the trailing outbound runners on your right as you easily conclude your off-road adventure and return to Davis Dam Rd. Heading north once again, 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 is closed to automobile traffic (exactly the way runners like it!) and as you cross from Nevada into the State of Arizona, 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. Without warning, the runners begin to notice that their Running Watches and smart phones have suddenly lost precisely one hour. Impossible? No. Not only have you crossed into the Grand Canyon State, but into the Mountain Standard Time Zone as well. Watches and phones will be momentarily confused, but the mystery will only be temporary. 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 and decent once again onto Casino Drive where you will glimpse the finish line ¾ of a mile ahead! The cheering crowd of hundreds 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! A live band, essential nourishment, hydration and a Free Beer* await you after crossing the finish line. A festive celebration to wash away your weariness and an opportunity to revel with your fellow racers and race supporters. Enjoy!!
You’ll run among the casinos of this town in the southernmost tip of Nevada, about 90 miles south of the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, along the Colorado River in the race’s early going, when the course rises just over 350 feet from the starting line to its highest point.After that, about midway between miles 2 and 3 runners begin their descent along the Laughlin Highway into the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and the Bullhead Canyon Area, and in this stretch runners will get to be in two states at the same time on the stretch across the Davis Dam.As the race organizers noted in an email to us: “We received permission from the Department of the Interior to lower the barricades on the Davis Dam allowing runners a unique opportunity to stand with one foot in Nevada and the other in Arizona and take a selfie with the beautiful Colorado River in the background.”
Five Water/Hydration and two First Aid stations will be provided on-course between the start and finish. One Water/Hydration Station you will pass twice along the route so you will have six different opportunities to remain hydrated. 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. Gels will be available at the aid station near the turnaround at mile 9.3. 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 IPA 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 3 hours and 30 minutes and keep a 16:00/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 16 min/mile pace, a SAG vehicle will be following the final law enforcement car and will pickup for transport to the finish.