150 runners from around the world participate in a grueling non-stop relay from Sant Monica to Las Vegas.
On March 10th at 5:00am PST, more than 150 runners will embark on an annual 340-mile relay race from the Santa Monica Pier to the Las Vegas Strip entitled The Speed Project. Now, in its third year, this ultra-endurance race is designed to test the runners’ physical and mental limits as they battle unpredictable climate and terrain. Last year, the winning team established a course record of 36:53:00, which will be this year’s time to beat.
“For the runners and teams participating, being able to focus is everything. We want our minds and bodies to determine our limits instead of being limited by rules and regulations,” said Nils Arend, Founder of The Speed Project. “For this race, there are no rules – just get to Vegas.”
Founded in 2013, The Speed Project was a direct response to the corporatization of running relays and races. Arend ran with a group of edgy, fearless runners who were looking for competitive, adrenaline-charged experiences rather than the rigid structure of more traditional races. Seeing the opportunity, Arend took a seemingly crazy idea – running a relay from Los Angeles to Las Vegas without stopping – and turned into a viable event for young, fast, avid runners everywhere.
After the first year, The Speed Project quickly spread throughout the global underground running scene; 20 teams from more than 10 countries are participating in this year’s race. Plus, The Speed Project has evolved from a single event to a format being replicated around the world. Running groups from Germany to South Korea to Mexico are hosting Speed Project-style races in their respective countries.
So, what makes The Speed Project so special? “Knowing how difficult this race is – the massive terrain, running at night, unexpected weather conditions – I would struggle to do this alone,” says Rebecca Gentry, a participant in this years’ race. “I need my teammates cheering me on from the RV and knowing they have my back each time I’m out there – it’s everything. It makes the experience more of an adventure than a traditional race.”