Running & Roulette
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because maybe you want to offset an otherwise hedonistic weekend? (Or not.)
OK, so you missed the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. But next time you find yourself in Sin City and want to offset an otherwise hedonistic weekend: Call Jimmy.
I was there recently and ended up doing arguably the weirdest? wildest? dumbest? thing a Vegas visitor could possibly do: set the alarm — and willingly wake up at 6 a.m. for a seven-mile sunrise run along the Strip, led by this string-bean-of-a-guy Jimmy Edwards. He’s one of those nutty ultra-runner types who decided why not try and make a living out of his love? He launched Las Vegas Running Tours last spring.
Not surprisingly, I was the only one in what was billed as a $99 group tour. I might’ve still been a little drunk, but not Jimmy. He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and beaming when we met in the lobby of the Wynn, where workers were vacuuming the carpet while a lone guy in a button-down was still hunched over the blackjack table and a few early birds were playing slots while sipping extra-large coffees. We left the florescent hotel lights and piped-in tunes for the street, which was pitch dark, save for the flashy blinking billboards of Garth Brooks and barely dressed dancers. “Gotta go early to beat the traffic,” said Jimmy. “Foot traffic.”
He gave a brief overview of downtown Vegas dating back to 1905, and then we took off down the wide sidewalk as the sun was coming up. He regaled me with local history and lore, rambling off the year that every 5,000-room hotel was built. We ran past Paris and prostitutes, the Statue of Liberty under repair and the world’s almost largest Ferris wheel, before the builders ran out of money.
I thought I’d be safe from my usual San Francisco hills in the desert but turns out the Strip has a zillion sets of stairs. We ran up and down, up and down, occasionally darting into elevators and then, due to an unforeseen construction detour, straight through Treasure Island’s casino floor — and, eventually, out to the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, where we snapped a couple of photos before turning around.
I was back at the Wynn before 8 a.m., ready to descend on the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. My friends? They were still sleeping.
Jimmy also takes people out for long trail runs in Red Rock State Park and Mt Charleston. Otherwise it sounds like he’s only found a few random solo runners like me — except for a group of 30 NYC banker types he took out for a six-mile trail run in Red Rock a few months ago. “They told me they’d be back next year, and I was, like, Ooo, Yeah!” Jimmy said. “Hoping to do more of those. You know, team building.”