Esther Reincke is used to running alongside Cameron Robinson, having spent the last three years racing various tracks and terrains across Las Vegas with her former Las Vegas coworker.
But as she steps to the starting line of the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll half-marathon on Sunday, Reincke will instead be honoring Robinson’s memory. The 28-year-old man was one of 58 killed Oct. 1 in the mass shooting on the Strip.
“He would be in an orange and bright green outfit when he ran,” Reincke said, holding back tears. “Everybody loved him that met him. This race is all about Cameron for me.”
Reincke, 60, like many others scattered within the estimated 40,000 runners at this weekend’s annual marathon, will face a range of unforeseen emotions during the first major outdoor event on the Strip since the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre last month.
Besides the lingering threat of security, runners valley-wide are battling feelings of sadness and anger while attempting to show their lifestyle won’t be deterred by the actions of one “coward,” Reinke said.
Henderson octogenarian and U.S. Navy veteran Ben Rumph stood at the door of the Health & Fitness Expo Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. A half marathon bib in hand, Rumph, 80, shook his head as he recalled watching the post-shooting events unfold on his television screen. But he signed up for the marathon anyway, saying he wasn’t deterred by the chance such an event could happen again.
“It really bothers me,” Rumph said. “But we can’t let this affect what we do and don’t do.”
Las Vegas Police will have increased security measures for the weekend events, starting with the 5K run on Saturday.
More than 200 officers will be deployed for that event, and police presence will increase to 350 by the start of the full marathon on Sunday afternoon, Metro Captain Andy Walsh said. That’s nearly double the usual staffing for the annual event.
Among other increased security measures include an increased number of police snipers with long-range weapons, and the use of empty Regional Transportation Commission buses and other public vehicles as barriers to prevent other vehicles from entering the route.
The marathon starting line moved a mile north from of the front of Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard to New York-New York. The event’s annual concert was moved from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night, and the location was changed from Las Vegas Village, site of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds across from the SLS.
“More than anything we just want everybody to be safe,” Walsh said.
To honor the victims, organizers said the first two miles of Sunday’s marathon, half-marathon and 10K will be done without the event’s usual banter and playing of music. The minutes of silence will serve to honor the victims of last month’s shooting, marathon spokesman Dan Cruz said.
“Vegas Strong will run rampant throughout our race this weekend,” Cruz said. “We want to be an event that helps Las Vegas bounce back and rebound.”
The RTC announced several of its bus routes would be affected on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Commission representatives urged riders to allow extra time for their commute.
RTC service will be detoured or shut down on all routes that encounter Las Vegas Boulevard from Mandalay Bay to downtown, spokesman Brad Seidel said. Some routes in Henderson and the Boulder Highway will also be affected.