With the SLS Las Vegas Casino illuminating the layout and music filling the airwaves, 6,881 runners took to the Brooks Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5K course Saturday night. And among the women, no one was faster than Las Vegas’ own Nikki Regalado.
A 23-year-old former UNLV distance runner, Regalado won in 17 minutes, 59 seconds. Standing exactly 5 feet tall, Regalado loomed large and took pride in her community celebrating life 41 days after the shooting tragedy that stunned the city.
“It’s good to see people still come together,” Regalado said. “We can still see positive. We can take the stresses of life and turn it into positive energy.”
Regalado ran away from the women’s field. Taylor Hoover of Colorado Springs, Colo., placed second among the women in 18:46. California’s Glynis Milne took third in 19:07.
In the men’s race, James McNally of Liverpool, England, crossed the finish line first, covering the 3.1 miles in 15:44. For the men, it was a mad dash to the tape. Devin Manusco of Las Vegas took second in 15:51 and Vegas’ Derek Williams finished third in 15:54.
McNally, 32, is in the midst of a four-week American road trip and decided to celebrate his vacation by racing the 5K. McNally raced once at night in Ireland but that was nothing like what he experience near The Strip.
“It was amazing,” he said.
Comparing it to his experience in Ireland, McNally said, “There weren’t all these raging buildings and lights. It inspires you.”
As is the style at all Rock ‘n’ Roll races but particularly Las Vegas, the runners dressed to impress. There were women dressed as Vegas showgirls with feather boa headbands. There were too many tutus to count.
There was a woman with butterfly wings and her friend donning angel wings, complete with a halo. There were the Kissed Alive band members who cover Kiss material decorated in their painted faces. Glow sticks lit up the night.
Detra Boyd checked in from Philadelphia, running the 5K before taking part in Sunday’s half marathon. She was nattily attired in a pink tutu, accentuated by glow-in-the-dark tights colored lime green, pink and baby blue.
Boyd reflected the runners’ mood, wanting to celebrate life just six weeks after the tragedy when 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured at a country music concert.
“Bad things happen all across the world,” said Boyd. “Why let that stop you from living? That’s my motto.”
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series veteran, Nate Dillard showed up from Houston. He was easy to spot, toting a large United States flag. Dillard is retired from the Navy where he was employed for 20 years. He carries the flag to honor the memory of his father, who served in the Marines.
“I do it to honor my dad, the military members who served, who currently serve and those I served with,” said Dillard.
The racing weekend culminates its running celebration with Sunday’s Geico Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon. Nearly 30,000 runners, walkers and hand cyclists will be touring The Strip. All 50 states and 73 countries will be represented.
How special is Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas? The Strip is shut down only two night of the year, on New Year’s Eve and for the Geico Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon.
The party kicks off at 4:30 p.m Sunday.