SparkPeople Members Take on Vegas

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It's hard to believe just ten short months ago SparkPeople runners and walkers traveled from all over the country to run the first of many races in 2010. We all met in New Orleans to run in the Mardi Gras Rock N Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon at the end of February and I must say it started a trend that I am sure will continue well into 2011 and beyond.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to travel to Las Vegas to run my final endurance race of 2010--the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon. Having spent the year traveling to New Orleans, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Victoria British Columbia, Los Angeles and San Antonio, I was anxious to meet SparkPeople members who inspire me daily as to why I love my job. Our fearless leader, Ment2Be (AKA Mary Ellen) made reservations at the Pyramid Cafe at the Luxor where twenty members from Maine, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, California and even a couple from Canada, all shared good food and great conversation for over three hours. There were lots of laughs and some tears and of course many hugs when it was time to bid farewell.

Many members I had met at other events in my travels or at the SparkPeople Conventions that were held in San Diego and Cincinnati. But there were quite a number of members that I had never personally met, but had corresponded with via the SparkTeam message boards and SparkMails.

Sitting down and hearing their stories of triumphs and obstacles literally brought me to tears, I think mostly because I have been where they once were, too. I know the doubts they experienced when they started their journey. I understand the fear of doing something they have never done before, such as running a half-marathon, and not knowing the outcome. I understand the importance of someone believing in you when you cannot find the faith in yourself. I understand when they asked, "How was this time going to be any different from all the other past attempts to lose weight and get fit?" However, the one common thread that was instrumental in everyone's success was the support and encouragement they received on SparkPeople. Even if they have not met their goal, the fellowship of this great site has allowed them to persevere even in their darkest hours.

It is amazing how connected we all were from the first minute we said hello. It was as if we were old friends separated only by distance. Christmasrain (AKA Simone) and1TOBFIT (AKA Jackie) have both lost over 100 pounds and were beaming with pride as they shared their stories with their fellow SparkPeople Friends. Simone and Sylvie_Wilvie22 Sylvia (AKA Sylvia) were planning to run their first half-marathon, while AspenJules (AKA Jules) and Jackie came just to share in the excitement of the day.

These events have been the highlight of a somewhat trying year for me. To meet so many people who inspire and motivate me to be the best me I can be is what helps keep me going. So as 2010 draws to a close, 2011 will bring exciting times. On January 30, 2011 there will be a contingent of SparkPeople members descending on Miami to run/walk in the ING Marathon/Half-Marathon.

And if you happen to be in Fort Worth on February 27th, feel free to come and join me and Anne_SP in running the Cowtown Half-Marathon/Marathon. And even if you don't run, come on down, we would love to meet you.

March will bring me and Coach Nicole to Pittsburgh to run and walk with over 50 SparkPeople members as we take part in the Just a Short Run. This is an event of four various races ranging in distance from a 5K to a 30K with two distances in between. So if you live in the area or would like to travel to Pittsburgh at the end of March, we'd love for you to join us. There is even a SparkPeople team devoted to meeting your fellow teammates. Just click on the link to join the SparkPeople JASR SparkTeam to get more information.

In June I will be running in the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon/Half-Marathon, so if you live in California or would like to take a nice vacation come and join us. There is plenty of time to train, but I have been told you need to register early for the Half-Marathon as it sells out quickly. I hope to add a few more races throughout the year, however, you will find me back in Las Vegas in 2011 to run the Rock N Roll Half-Marathon. It is such a cool race and nothing beats running 'The Strip' and seeing the sights of Vegas. If you want to put this race on your radar, now would be a great time to do so.

As 2010 comes to an end I look forward to meeting more inspiring members from around the country and beyond. This has been both a trying and exhilarating year wrapped up in one. THANKS to everyone for helping me through the storms of my life and may 2011 bring us all closer to our goals!

I wish you all a happy and blessed holiday season.

What events are you training for in 2011? Are any of the events I mentioned any you may be able to attend?

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I wish I could have/would have been part of this! I ran a lot in 2008 & 2009. Last year I didn't run as much. Perhaps that is exactly what I needed - that motivation from all the wonderful individuals on Spark! This year, I do not have a full time job and cannot afford to travel much. I am going to Ft. Myers to participate in the 3/6 Half Marathon!! Report
Yes, it was!! So much inspiration in one room. Thanks to everyone for making time to hook up. What a great way to end the 2010 race season. It was so much fun and there were so many great pics that I put together a blog "10 Reasons to add Las Vegas RnR to your 2011 schedule" I'm sure you can think of even MORE reasons!!!

Hope to see you there next year!!! Report
That was an incredible day!
Thank you!
I love that I can easily recognize a few faces in this photo! Sounds like such a fun way to meet fellow SP members. Someday guys! Report
I plan to run (I mean walk and maybe jog) the Surf City Half Marathon in February 2011 in Huntington Beach, CA. I have never done anything like this before so I am excited and nervous. After reading this blog, I am considering doing the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon in June 2011 and Maybe even the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon in December. Report
Next year - watch out running world! I should be able to jog a 5k. d(-: Have to start somewhere and you people give me great hope and heart for continuing.
TerrBear Report
Have-Mercy and I are training for a 5K in New Orleans. Please join us for the Crescent City Classic on Easter weekend! Report
OMG!! I love that (white) "Spark" t-shirt! If anyone knows where I can get one of those, I would greatly appreciate a SparkMail with the information.

Looks like it was a great time and celebration!! Report
It was great meeting you at the pre-race party for the Hood to Coast. It was a brief meeting but glad to see you. I admire your tenacity in traveling to various cities doing what you like to do. Good luck to you in future runs. Report
I have signed up for 1/2 Rock and Roll in Providence RI in August! I am looking at the Palm Beach in December next year. Anyone up for either of those?

I've changed my itinerary and am back in Vegas for this years R and R Wahoo.

There is a discount on all R and R races today! 6/1/11!!!!! Check it out if you've been holding off signing up! Report
Wonderful Blog and awesme pictures! It was so fun meeting you and several of my Spark Friends in February at the New Orleans Marathon/Half Marathon. I may not get to travel much out of state next year if I don't find a job pretty soon but, I do have two Half Marathons sceduled and about three others to schedule as soon as money and registration open up as well as 4 duathlons.
I am blessed to have several Spark Buddies close by who do races together - trying to encourage others to make that first step and start down the road of excitement that entering and doing a race creates.
To those expressing that they are walkers - you can walk marathons and half marathons - check the course limit times and set your sites on finishing within that limit. I started out walking and have progressed to running this year,ok, I ran all but one mile of the last two half marathons I did!
If at any time I need to pull back I am ok with that, I am only competing with myself and I do this because, well, it's FUN! Happy Holidays to ALL! Report
I have a couple/few other first 10K and a couple of 5's, but most of all, I'm registered for my first ever 1/2 marathon (Chicago) on 9/11/2011. Report
Would love to meet everyone in Fort Worth on the 27th of February! What a fun time that will be! Report
It looks like everyone had so much fun!! I definitely have Vegas on my short list for 2011 and hope to join the group there! Report
I don't think my knees will ever allow me to run like that again, but I hope to start walking in marathons for MS next year. My son was diagnosed this summer. Report
awesome! Report
I'm already registered for the JASR in Pittsburgh....I'll be doing the 8.1 miles! And, I'll be training for my first half marathon, which will be on May 1! 2011 will be a big year for me! Report
Haha that's me! It was amazing meeting you, Nancy! You are so inspirational and have given me so much motivation to keep running! Report
It's so nice to look at the happy faces... Wishing all SP staff and fans a merry Christmas and happy faces throughout the New Year! Report
You have no idea how you single-handedly influence and impact those of us on Sparkpeople. You, Coach Nicole, and Coach Stephanie made such an impression on me at the Teddy Bear walk (after the Cincinnati Convention). If it hadn't been for you 3 at the Walk and how you welcomed and made me feel, I was ready to quit Sparkpeople. Since that time, you continue to nuture and support all of us. That is an amazing talent that you have. Thank you for continueing to give and give. You are a gift to all of us!
Merry Christmas!
Most sincerely,
Patty Report
Hopefully one of these days yall can make it to St. Louis for one of our many marathons/half marathons...would love to be able to run with one with yall! Report
I enjoyed this article but how about those of us who can only walk and not very far at that??If there is a marathon near S/WOregon(medford area)or even the Bay area,I would love to attend.I do work slightly on a treadmill but have bad back problems so walking is all I can do at the present. Report
I enjoyed this article but how about those of us who can only walk and not very far at that??If there is a marathon near S/WOregon(medford area)or even the Bay area,I would love to attend.I do work slightly on a treadmill but have bad back problems so walking is all I can do at the present. Report
I have already registered for the Rock N Roll half marathon in San Diego on June 5th, I would definitely be interested in getting together with fellow SparkPeople! :) Report
I did my first half marathons this year, the first with a friend I met on Spark, the second with a friend I met at the first.......and have since found a Sparker that also did the second. EXCELLENT HM's in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania! There is also a HM in Hershey PA, all in October-November. Report
I'm meeting up with a couple of spark friends to do a 1/2 marathon in March to do the Shamrock in Virginia Beach. Met these gals last April in Boise where we did a 1/2. I think this tradition may last for awhile. It is a great way to keep training, meet new people and travel a bit and for some, like me, I have never been able to do much of that so I'm really enjoying it. Maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to meet up with this growing group as well. Thanks for sharing. Report
I will be running the Rome Marathon on March 20, 2011. This is my first and it will be my husband's second (GSCOTTC). We are thinking of vacationing in Florida in the fall and would love to hear about any events in November (should also be near golfing and scuba diving opportunities). We would love to meet some Sparkfriends someday!
Cheers, Loreen Report
Among many planned races in 2011, my absolute A race will be Chicago Marathon. Report
I am not runner but I have set my sights on being able to accomplish something like that. I may well plan to attend the Feb 27th Cowtown Half-Marathon/Marathon. I will see. Report
My favorite place. Sounds exciting Report
What great fun! Report
wow! Report
that's fantastic!! Report
I know there's no hope of having an event in Tasmania, but it would be fun. I've bought a SP T-shirt but it will take about 4 weeks to arrive. When it does, then I'll Spread The Spark in Tasmania.

Mel - Tasmania, Australia Report
My plans for 2011 are for the Texas Triathlon Series - 5 separate triathlons (which you can complete OR volunteer at and still be part of the series!). I'll be completing all five (I hope). Any other Sparkers with similar plans for 2011? Report
I just started SP and my new and improved life 1 month ago and my secret dream is to become a runner. I'll start a 'couch to 5k' program in February after moving to NC and hopefully join the fellow Sparkers soon after that on one of the big runs!!! Report
There's a kinship between Sparkers, and it shows in your smiles, and mine too after reading your blog! Report
found it nancy! awesome times ahead. Report
I live in PA, but on the eastern side...would be so much fun to meet up at the Just a short run in March. Report
I'm definitely running the Mini Marathon in Indianapolis in 2011 Report
I would LOVE to know the Date of the Las Vegas Marathon next December. And whether it is strictly a "Run" or if we could walk it? Report
WOOO, I can't believe you were in LV - I was there too watching the marathon in awe! Wish I'd have logged on to Spark and seen you were there....

If you ever come to the UK to enter an event please, please, please let us all know and your UK supporters will come out in force.

I am thinking of entering the Great North Run in Newcastle in 2011 if you were interested? It's a half marathon.....then I want to come over to the States and run a full marathon with you guys

x Report
I hope someday to be able to travel outside of my home state and run one of the bigger half marathons with my Sparkfriends! Report
My wife and I will run our first race of the year on New Years Day in Chicago at Lincoln Park. It's a great way to kick off the New Year. Report
Love that you all are having so much fun. I'm to frugal to spend money on Vegas, but understand how others want to go there. I do love Disney World. Report
Oh, you folks look like you're having sooo much fun. Okay, so when are you coming to Boston ? I'll even travel to NYC to meet up with my fellow East coast Sparkers.

I love the pics of the smiling faces. Report
I live here in North Las Vegas and would like to here more about any activities here in Vegas! Report
I hope I see you again before then, but if not, I'll be looking forward to seeing you again next December in Vegas! Report
It's my plan to run 10K in the Manitoba Marathon in June 2011. I also intend to run 10K In Iceland at the Reykjavik Marathon in August 2011. Report
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