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 head to the party, don’t forget to get your free beer when you are ready for it (Legacy Runners get two). There will be music, prizes and eventually we will give out the age group awards. Enjoy!!