The Costumed Runner Blog: Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon (November 16, 2014)

Run Oregon guest blogger Mel Ortiz is our resident “Costumed Runner”. She writes a monthly post about her adventures in running. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you want to get involved.

Pre-Race Preparations

Pictured: Mel Ortiz (Pre-Race Princess Leia). Photographer Bola Majekobaje

This was going to be an epic race since I was determined to do it in my handmade Princess Leia costume with oversized…. I mean giant hair buns.  My husband and I decided to make the headpiece by hand and picked car upholstery foam for this creation to keep it as light as possible.  This proved to be a challenge since regardless of the foam, it still has weight due to the size of the headpiece.

We also had to make this headpiece over the top enough to be seen miles away but also small enough to fit in a standard suitcase for travel.  I learned quickly that I had to limit what I could bring with race gear, shoes, and any other casual clothing for Vegas.

Once we arrived and made ourselves at home at The Mirage, we decided to enjoy their buffet the day of the race to get the needed carbs for our 13.1 miles.  Very different mindset with other half marathons where it’s usually the night before for carb loading for an early morning race where this is a night run.

Pictured (Left to Right): Mel Ortiz and Bola Majekobaje. Photographer: Jaime Soltero

The Day of the Race

I was able to see some great homemade costumes at the pre-concert and corrals.  My running costume definitely drew many requests for photo ops and the proverbial question “Are you really going to wear that the whole time?”  Yes, yes, and yes!

It was amazing to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform and in such close proximity.   They definitely got us pumped up for the race which was needed due to the cold desert air making its way through.  My crew and I huddled close and enjoyed the show with all the other runners before the start of the race.

Pictured: Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and crew.  Photographer: Bola Majekobaje.

We had to get one last group shot before the start line with the Mandalay Bay in the back with reflections of the sunset.  This was the first half marathon for our friend Abel Hernandez who is the Chef of a local Portland eatery owned by Jaime Soltero called “Tamale Boy”.  Abel did great and kept a steady pace which proved his training was excellent.

Pictured (Left to Right): Sarita Amaya, Jaime Soltero, Mel Ortiz, Abel Hernandez, and Bola Majekobaje.

As for Princess Leia it was a hit.  We had some snafus during mile 1 and then I decided to reposition the headpiece which made it easier to run with and stayed on tight.  Many shout outs from the crowd were positive and encouraging.  My trusty light saber provided some light on the course that proved to be very dark.  I could tell the Force was with me and would recommend this race on any runner’s bucket list.

Pictured: The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon medal.


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