Vegas: Your Best Bet for a Fun Run

On Sunday, over 27,000 runners will hit the strip for the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon.  Complete with a Run-Thru Wedding, a Running Elvi (race participants dressed in full Elvis garb) competition, and an all you can eat pre-race Pasta Party buffet, the race is quintessentially Vegas and a wonderfully bizarre way to get one heck of a workout.

In honor of Sin City’s rightful place in the Rock ‘n’ Roll lineup, we have created a Vegas-style race day rundown.  We brought together the finest Moji mathematicians to provide participants with a better understanding of their chances for marathon glory as well as madness.

No matter what happens between hitting the strip and crossing the finish line, you are sure to have an unforgettable race.  In fact, you can bet on it.

Phot courtest of daviddesign on Flickr

Photo courtesy of daviddesign on

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Unofficial Odds

Winning the Race:

1 in 27,000*
So, the straight odds of you winning the race would only be 1 in 27,000, if this were a game of chance.  However, running is in fact skill-based.  Therefore, the odds of you taking home the $15,000 cash prize are much lower than that.  In fact, you would probably need most of the runners to stay home on race day due to the common cold, sleeping in, forgotten running shoes, or any number of other pre-race disasters.  That puts the odds somewhere between 1 in 3,600,000 to 17,400,000.  We’d put our money on having fun or setting a personal best – the odds of which are much much better.

Rounding a corner and slamming into a showgirl on the strip:

0.0001 in 681
As you will note, should you check out the videos of the course (conveniently posted below), runners will pass many a Vegas casino and club.  With showgirls working day and night, these lovely ladies are clocking out at odd hours of the day.  Yes, even during the race day hours.  Given the abundance of showgirls and the many miles of race on the strip, one would think that odds would be good.  We did too until someone aptly pointed out that there are no hard corners on the strip and the showgirl would probably see you coming – what with the thousands of spectators, race signs, and hundreds of runners around you, there’s pretty much no chance here.

Seeing a runner dressed as one of the Super Friends:

1 in 1.0000000000001
There are sure to be many costumed runners at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas.  Every marathon has their share of bedecked participants, but Vegas might just lure the highest percentage of festive runners.  While most will simply be oddly festooned with bobble headbands and crazy necklaces, a select few will go head-to-toe costume.

The Super Friends, as you may or may not know, is a team of superheroes that makes the X-Men look like a ragtag group of misfits. Saturday-morning historians will note that the Super Friends’ core members Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, and Aquaman, created the Justice League in the 1970s and, over the years, recruited such cartoon greats as The Green Lantern and The Flash.  Boasting the most popular superheroes of all-time and eleven members, we place the odds of a costume-sporting runner choosing a super hero at 1 in 20.  Given that you will probably see about 10% of the field as you mill around and a solid 2% of runners will be sporting a costume, you are pretty much 100% likely to see Batman or Superman pass by.


Photo courtesy of Xurble on

Getting passed by an Elvis impersonator:

1 in 79
With the Running Elvi competition there will be many more heartbreakers on the course than one might expect – and one might expect A LOT given that it is Vegas.  With the plethora of polyester gods out there, you are probably sure to run into a few, however, the odds of them passing you given their dress disadvantage dramatically decreases the odds.  Therefore, we are putting the odds at 1 in 79, which coincidentally is the number of cumulative weeks one of Elvis’ songs sat at #1 on the Billboard charts.  It’s almost like we didn’t do any calculations at all on that one…

Winning back your race entry fee on the blackjack table on a single bet:

1 in 2.4
The game of blackjack offers one of the best odds of winning money at a casino.  However, those odds still aren’t in your favor.  The registration fee for the marathon and half marathon at the Expo is $135, which means you’d have to put down some serious dough to get that back from the black jack table.  There is a 58% chance of losing each hand with perfect play and if you are amazing at black jack, you might be able to get that closer to 50-50 odds.  Black jack payouts are traditionally 3:2, so you’d have to bet $90 to even have a shot at getting the $135.

Beating Wayne Newton’s horse in a bizarre marathon:

1 in 5,000,000,000
I bet you can guess that the odds on this one aren’t too good.  It involves a horse escaping from fairly secure quarters and then adhering to the predetermined marathon course.  Not to mention the odds that the horse would cross the start line at roughly the same moment that your Champion Chip hits the mat.  However, you really never know, so we wanted you to be prepared for this incredible moment.

There is in fact, a strong data point on which we can base the odds  In 1980 Gordon Green, a Welsh pub owner, put on the first Man versus Horse Marathon after overhearing a debate between two patrons on whether or not a man could beat a horse over long distances.  Since then, hundreds of men and mares have taken to the 22 mile picturesque course and put pub debate to practice.  In 2004, the first human won the race in 2:05.19, which is just under a 6-minute mile.  So, on top of the likelihood of Wayne Newton’s horse breaking free and hitting the start at Mandalay Bay, you’ll probably have to be a 3-hour marathoner to come close to finishing first.

Feeling so sore that you swore you would had you performed with Cirque du Soleil:

1 in 4
Sorry folks, you are going to be sore after your masterful Rock ‘n’ Roll performance, how sore will come down to how many miles you’ve logged before Sunday and what kind of race you choose to run.  About 25% of runners don’t hit their training goals for a variety of reasons, so there’s a great chance you will be waddling on marathon Monday.

Photo courtesy of whoALSE

Photo courtesy of whoALSE on

Getting so lost in a Casino that you can’t get to the start line on time:

1 in 1,245
Most people know that Vegas casinos are designed to be maze-like.  Even regulars may find themselves turned around one too many times.  Luckily in the vast wonderland of the world wide web someone has tried to solve this problem.  Check out this travel blog to learn how to increase your chances of seeing the morning light on race day.

You’ll get knocked out by Roy Jones Jr.:

1 in 681,000,000
With a 54-6-0 record, Roy Jones Jr. is a Vegas favorite.  Out of those 54 wins, 40 were KOs.  That means that 40 highly skilled boxers took one to the jaw and hit the mat…hard.  Odds are, you are neither highly-skilled nor wearing protective gear.  Luckily, the odds that Roy is in town, running the race, and mad enough at you to swing, are even lower.  However, if he does decide to punch you, you’re pretty much toast, so if you see him, save the taunting for a less-powerful foe.

Taking the bait and jumping the Bellagio fountain to cool down:

1 in 58,000
Though Vegas is known for its heat, Sunday’s weather forecast is for a 35 degree start and a high of 54 that day.  Though the weather won’t be a source of temptation, the bragging rights might draw you a few steps closer to taking the plunge in this Vegas landmark.  After all, if it’s good enough for Ocean’s Eleven, it’s good enough for you.

Photo courtesy of laeft-hand on

Photo courtesy of left-hand on

Odds that you’ll push past the wall and finish the race:

1 in 1
This one is a lock.  No matter how much you may not believe it, no matter how much it hurts, you will finish.

Getting Married:

1 in 158
That’s right – 1 in every 158 runners will be getting married during the race.  Over 85 couples are set to wed at the run-thru wedding scheduled at the Paris Casino near mile 3.5 on Sunday.  Lovebirds will tie the knot in a ceremony under the Eiffel Tower after running the course at a loving eye-lock friendly 15 minute per mile pace.  Awwwwwww.

You’ll find a Tiger in your bathroom the morning of the race:

1 in 4,101,116,412
Due to the various Vegas acts involving tigers, including those by the infamous Sigfried and Roy, your chances of finding a tiger in your bathroom are better in the Sin City than in any place outside of Bandhavgarh National Park (home to the highest density of Bengal tigers in the known world, which by the way doesn’t feature enclosed bathrooms).

Nonetheless, your chances of finding Felix in your hotel bathroom are much lower than The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore would have you think.  The chances that it would be equally astonishing are pretty much locked.  The chances that it would be equally hilarious are next to none.  And, the chances that it would involve Mike Tyson are practically abysmal.

But don’t count it out.  In Vegas, anything is possible.


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