Dozens of Yellowknife runners pound Sin City’s pavement

Last modified: November 26, 2019 at 9:31am

Did your last weekend in Las Vegas entail running a marathon? Twenty-seven Yellowknifers took to the city’s streets for either the full or half distance on November 17.

Cameron Twa, a Yellowknife runner and local race organizer, said taking on Vegas “started as a seed” in 2017, when about 10 northerners headed south to the city’s Humana Rock n’ Roll Marathon.

This year the numbers nearly tripled. Twa said many participants were trying race distances – ranging from five kilometres to the full marathon – they had never previously attempted.


“It was a lot of firsts and a lot of pride in working hard to get to that point,” he said. “I think everybody just had a really good time.”

Many runners took part in half-marathon training involving three runs a week for 13 weeks. Also taking part were the “Javarunners” – who meet in front of Javaroma for group runs – and others who connect through a dedicated Facebook group.

The bulk of Yellowknife’s contingent at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Photo: Cameron Twa

Sally Card, dubbed “Yellowknife’s own ironlady” by NNSL, agreed with Twa that the balmy 25-degree weather was welcome – but both said the condition of pavement along the “strip” left much to be desired.

The strip is a section of the South Las Vegas Boulevard known for hotels, casinos, miniature New York and Paris cityscapes – plus roaming groups taking photos with actors dressed as celebrities.


“It’s really, really rough pavement. It’s not very nice,” said Twa. “It makes Yellowknife roads look good.”

“I rolled my foot on one of them,” Card added.

Photo: Sally Card

Terrible surfaces notwithstanding, by most accounts the Yellowknife crowd had a blast among the race’s 32,000 other participants.


Vegas being known for weddings, several couples taking part in the marathon tied the knot mid-run.

“I had to laugh because I was running behind one couple who were arguing,” Twa said. “She was not enjoying her running experience. But she was happy to be married.”

Getting married while out on a run. Photo: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

Whether Twa and Card will go back next year is up in the air. The clock stopped Card finishing her marathon, but she’s planning to find another goal. “I’m going to try to set my sights on something else and not let it get to me … that’s the spirit of running, you know, you just keep going forward,” she said.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series includes less sinful destinations, including Dublin in 2021. “We’re already talking about that. That’s in the works,” Twa said, planting yet another seed.

Photo: Cameron Twa