In early 2015, I still had never been to Louisiana. Not once. Not for a second. had studied law in Florence, Italy, ran a marathon (twice) in Seoul, Korea, and went for a jaunt amongst the moai of Easter Island. But after running the Crescent City Classic and then the Louisiana Marathon, I am happy to be heading back to Baton Rouge for the second straight year to once again be part of the Louisiana Marathon festivities. This time I will be taking part in the half-marathon after securing my 77th Boston Qualifying marathon time there this past January. More importantly, I have carved out more time for myself to enjoy the events of the weekend. (Register here!)
Let me give you a brief overview of what one can expect. First ,you have the Finish Fest which has a variety of beverages of the alcoholic variety. They aren't my cup of tea but tons of people enjoy them and apparently the four different Abita beers on tap are well-received. There are dozens of local food for people to taste many with that cajun flair. Finishing a marathon leaves you with the weirdest cravings and chances are you are going to find what you want here from someone.
The course itself is quite beautiful with a distinct bayou sense, neighborhoods right on top of the Mississippi River, a loud and large support from townsfolk and some fun fans. In fact, one of my favorite most original signs ever was just after 13 miles in the marathon when the sign said "You have [picture of then LSU coach Les Miles] to go then before!" That was brilliant. I don't care if he got canned. I hope that sign is there again.
It is a forgiving course. It is not easy. It is not hard. But it is just the right amount of differentiation to give you a challenge but also help you out. Often shaded by large beautiful southern trees, with wide streets shut down for the runners to enjoy. No shuttling you off to a place where tons of cars and people are in your way. This race is about you!
With an average 40 degree start temp and 60 degree finish temp, that is about the best you can hope for in this climate change world we live in. With an expo in close proximity to the many wonderful hotels downtown and all of them close to the start/finish line, there is not any real fear of getting caught in traffic on your way to the start.
If you need another, more altruistic reason, think about how hard this area has been hit with storms. First Katrina a decade ago and then this year with a storm, that because it didn't have a name didn't receive the same amount of media attention. Where do you think your tourist dollars will go further? In Vegas or NYC or here in the bayou where businesses are trying to rebound, people put their lives back together and communities rebuilding? So above and beyond all the other reasons you could run in this beautiful area, think about how much good you can do by showing up and throwing a few bucks at local establishments. Runners like to talk about how much good we can do - well, now here is your chance.
you will get 15% off your registration for any of the wonderful races.
So come join me while I run the half-marathon, take in the culture, throw back some calories and enjoy good ole Red Stick this upcoming January.
See you there!