Voted one of the best NEW Marathons by Runners World Magazine…The Louisiana Marathon will not disappoint. Baton Rouge, the state capital, and home to Louisiana State University is a great host city. The Marathon offers numerous running options and family themed events. There is a distance for everyone. You can certainly make an entire weekend of it! Laura and I left our husbands and kids behind so we missed out on all of the pre- marathon activities by choice.
We flew into New Orleans Friday afternoon and drove over to Baton Rouge (1.25hr drive). You can easily fly into Baton Rouge, but we decide while in the area we would spend some post marathon time in New Orleans.
All the marathon activities were hosted downtown so we booked the Downtown Hampton Inn. Great choice as it was only 3.5 blocks from the start! Great location, free breakfast, and late check out option. We were thrilled to secured the last available room. Don’t delay as rooms book fast!
Downtown Baton Rouge, was a little sleepy. Clearly catering to the Mon-Friday business crowd, there was limited evening dinning and shopping options. Don’t get me wrong there were options, just not as many as I was expecting in a city. Clearly, this is a city in transition and new options are on the horizon. The city itself was very clean and we always felt safe while walking around. We did struggle to find a grocery store in close proximity to pick up some amenities so we opted for a Walmart. When in doubt, seems you can always find a Walmart. Luckily, we had a car.
The expo hosted at the Baton Rouge River Center was walking distance from the hotel. We chose to drive since we planned to drive the course later in the day. Packet pick up was a breeze and they gave us a nice reusable drawstring bag with pictures of Louisiana. While I am not personally an “expo person” they seem to have a lots of vendors, LA marathon themed gear, and some really cool limited prints. The expo certainly met my needs.
We attempted our traditional pre-race drive of the course. We did not quite drive the entire course due to a very small map but we got the general idea. Flat and nice! We enjoyed a WONDERFUL carb load dinner a few blocks from our hotel at The Little Village. Definitely a hot spot and one of a few dinning options. We did not have reservations but were able to squeeze into two spots at the bar. If you go you must order the Village Bread. Get a whole loaf! Yummy! I could have feasted on just that alone!
Race Day! We hit breakfast in the hotel and walked to the start. We were so close to the starting line we were able to utilize our nice and clean private bathroom verses the Porta Potties. BONUS! The starting line up was packed into the small street but manageable. The race was capped at 2,000 marathoners and 3,600 half marathoners. After the waved start, we were off and running. The course best described by the race organizers was spot on!
Friends, family and curious spectators will line up for Race Day Tailgating along the 26.2 miles of roadways filled with inspiring sights and sounds to cheer on the many that chose to run. The Louisiana Marathon course features a fast, flat, runner-friendly path through the lakes, along the river, around downtown, on the university campus and in historic neighborhoods. Runners and spectators will enjoy local music & entertainment along the course.
The locals were out in force turning the race into a reason to have tailgate parties in their front yards. Perhaps it was their warm up to festival season ( pre- mardi gras) It was fantastic! They were so welcoming and you could really get a feel for the spirit of Louisiana. To date, I have never seen so much beer, champagne, and bloody Marys on course( spectator provided). Oh and doughnuts, and of course King Cake! If you chose to you could have partaken almost every mile. I cannot say enough good things about the course. I love it! Here are some sights and scenes from the course.
By far the funniest thing I captured on course was a fellow race participant taking advantage of a tree swing in someones yard. He was singing and swinging. Hilarious! Perhaps, he was enjoying the on course libations? Runners high? Really, it does not matter he was having a blast!
The finish shoot runs right up to the capital. A great way to finish!
The post race festival was hopping! It was open to the public for purchase. Music and lots of different regional foods and Beer. Laura’s stomach was off so we did not stay and sample all the offering. I did enjoy some yummy red beans and rice and a cold Abita!
I typically don’t linger too long at post race activities but this certainly looked like one worth staying for. Unfortunately, we did not have much time as we were pushing our late check out and needed to shower and hit the road to New Orleans. Luckily, our shower was only 3.5 blocks away!
Overall, great experience. I give Louisiana Marathon 2 thumbs up! Great regional race with local flair! Much better alternative to Rock n’ Roll New Orleans.#Runlocal
12th State checked off the list!
#GeauxRunLA you will be glad you did!