“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Louisiana Marathon- quarter marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
The Louisiana Marathon is a weekend event. On Saturday you can chose to run a 5k or quarter marathon, (there is a kids race too) and on Sunday there are options for a half marathon or full marathon. If you are feeling – awesome – you can opt in to the deja vu race, which would be a race each day. I chose to run the deja vu race, to earn the crawfish platter award. I ran the quarter marathon and the full.
The Louisiana Quarter Marathon, Saturday January 16, 2016. Baton Rouge, LA. 8 am. 55 ish degrees, sunny.
Registration: This was available via the Louisiana Marathon website. There were registration options for each event, including each combination of the deja vu race (so you didn’t have to register for 2 races.) The price increased as race day neared. The race is also a capped event, and sells out.
Included with registration: a finisher’s medal, bib with timing chip, post race food festival wrist band and race specific, gender specific, short sleeved cotton shirt.
Expo/Packet Pick up: The Expo was it’s own separate event. It was a two day event held on Friday and Saturday at the River Center in downtown Baton Rouge. There was security to gain access to the expo, with a bag search. Once past, there were boards with bib numbers for look up. Then as you entered the space you grabbed your bib with drawstring bag, then entered another area to grab you shirt(s). Someone else could grab your things if you provided them a confirmation email and copy of your photo ID. You could also purchase post race VIP access here, if you didn’t purchase on the web.
Once past acquiring all the things you needed, there was free coffee available, and then all the vendors. First stop was all the race merchandise. Something unique to this event is an artist print. In addition to the “normal” expo fare there was a center space called “the studio” which hosted speakers and events like yoga throughout each day. It was a good size expo with products and races in the area.
Notes on parking – I stayed at a nearby hotel, maybe 1 mile walking distance at the furthest. I was able to leave my car in that lot. I am not sure about the parking situation for the race or the expo. I did see signs in town for $20 parking, but not sure if that is for general business days.
Pre-Race: The quarter marathon started at the same time as the 5k. There was one corral for both events. Participants were encouraged to line up according to pace, and there were signs on the corral fence. There was music pumping on a loud speaker and announcements were made, but there were a lot of people, and I couldn’t hear any of them. I don’t recall hearing a National Anthem. I also just remember moving forward as I don’t remember an actual starting gun. There were spectators lining the starting chute walls. There were port-o-potties available. Gear check was set up near by, and you were to use the cinch sack bag obtained at packet pick up, they would stick masking tape on it with your bib number.
I walked to the start with fellow pro Erica, and we met up wit pro Jen for a race day picture. I know Erica ran the 5k, here is her review!
Race/Course: The Race was through Baton Rouge on city streets
- asphalt – while the course was all on a paved surface, some of the asphalt was buckling due to tree roots
- not very hilly, there is one major hill to cross a highway, but flattens out for the most part
- crowded start – with both races starting at the same time, it was a game to dodge in and out of runners for about the first mile. Then the races split from each other and made for a more pleasant experience
- photographers on course
- spectators mostly around the start/finish area
- 3 hydration only stops, paper cups. Water and Gatorade, but sometimes in the same cups and randomly placed in each station. Volunteers shouted which they had.
- volunteers everywhere, and law enforcement at every intersection, I have never seen so many.
- course markings – mile marker signs only, and volunteers blocking roads so you knew which direction to go.
- scenery – not much to look at, left downtown, ran through a neighborhood or 2, would be run down areas to nice homes
Finish: This was easy to find, the start arch was also the finish arch. There was a clock and photographers. A volunteer handed each person a bottle of water, and then you were given a medal based on the distance you ran. The chute seemed longer than it did at the start, but was not crowded. It was about a block walk to post race festivities. You could grab your bag from gear check, a recovery drink stand was open with a chocolate drink and powerade. There was a live band performing. A market style stand was set up with bananas and oranges.
Finish Festival: This was past the area described above. This was a section of food vendors, activities for kids and the beer truck. Participants were given a wrist band with 6 “punches.” You could stop at a vendor and grab either food or drink, you could get 6 beers, 6 food items or a combination of both. Vendors would even switch half way through and change their fare. Some would also have so much food, they wouldn’t mark your bracelet. These vendors were all local restaurants from the area, it was like a “taste of Baton Rouge.” Abita Brewing was serving the beer, hey had maybe 4 beers available.
There were lines for each vendor, but they moved really fast. The only thing I wish I had was a bag or something to store my bottle of water in as I sampled food.
There were activities for kids of all ages, rock climbing walls and Dow Chemical had additional food available, while demonstrating how science worked. They used liquid nitrogen to make fruit smoothies. As the festival wound down, music and such was over around 1-2pm, the kids races were happening.
I found Erica and I think we ate our way into a coma. There was so much food available, and this was just for a 5k/10k event. Everyone helping was soo nice and friendly. We had fun making a kids craft at the Dow tent. My favorite food item was a butternut squash with pork cheeks and bacon jam. This attention to detail on the post race food was top notch.
Overall: For a race of such a short distance, the post race was worth it!
Personal: I took the course easy, didn’t push it too much, knew I would be running the full the next day. I enjoyed myself, the food and the weather (it was a bit warmer for me this time of year). I finished in a time of 1:05:47
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