Photos show chaos at Mandalay Bay following marathon
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Claims of dangerous and chaotic conditions have organizers of the Rock N' Roll Las Vegas marathon vowing to do better.
Ever since Sunday's race, runners have taken to Facebook and blogs to express their outrage and new photographs back-up their accounts.
"It was tough. We didn't know where to go and there wasn't anybody guiding us," says racer Mary Murphy.
"There was a lot of chaos on the way back to the hotel," adds Murphy's daughter Kelli.
The photos, snapped with cell phones, show thousands of people pouring into Mandalay Bay hallways unable to move. People report being stuck for nearly an hour with numerous people vomiting and passing out.
"We had heard that lots of people collapsed," says racer Christie McMorris. "Inside the hotel was horrible."
It was the capstone to a race with 44 thousand people that runners say was too large with too little planning.
"I actually didn't start 'racing' until mile four because I was dodging people," says Alejandro Belmares, an experienced runner with more than 100 races under his belt.
He and many others on the race's Facebook page report being sick ever since.
Along the marathon route, Belmares points to empty water stations, a lack of blankets and aid stations offering little aid.
"It was just a complete disaster," says Belmares. "I remember when we stopped to go to the bathroom it was like the walking dead."
We spoke with race organizers by phone from their San Diego headquarters and they admit to problems.
"Anytime you have a field of that size and a night time start there are always going to be some unforeseen challenges," says Rock N' Roll Las Vegas spokesperson Dan Cruz. "Those challenges came to head in the Mandalay Bay."
Spacing the runners, Cruz says, did not go as well as planned and the frigid, rainy weather compounded problems.
As the night went on, Cruz says they lost volunteers while the need to administer first aid increased.
"No question there were some short comings along the way," says Cruz. "We're listening to feedback from participants and are going to do everything we can as an organization to make things right."
For their part, Mandalay Bay also released a statement to Action News which reads:
“Mandalay Bay was host to several major events this past weekend that drew thousands of guests to our property. Despite our careful planning with the Rock n Roll Marathon organizers and being fully staffed in all departments, crowded conditions and inclement weather led to some negative guest experiences. We are working with race organizers to review the events that led to these unfortunate circumstances. We are committed to take steps to ensure they do not happen again. This was a successful first-of-its-kind event but many lessons were learned. We are committed to work closely with our partners to improve this event in the future.”