“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Louisiana 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!”
*Please note many details and observations are the same as the Quarter Marathon review, but the pictures are all different.
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 Marathon, Deja Vu Challenge, Sunday January 17, 2016. Baton Rouge, LA. 7 am. 35 ish degrees, sunny.
Check out pro, Jen’s half marathon review!
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. In fact the race sold out this year. This is only the 5th year of the event.
Included with registration: the crawfish platter, a finisher’s medal, bib with timing chip, post race food festival wrist band and race specific, gender specific, short sleeved cotton shirt. (if you had run this for 5 years, you would also earn an additional award)
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.
There were a lot of race emails as well. One of those included a virtual event bag, but many were offers I had no interest in. In addition to a lot of emails, the website was full of all the information you would ever need.
Strange note on the expo security. When I went early on Saturday I had my post race water bottle with me and got through no questions. Later in the day I brought a re-usable water bottle and had to dump out my water.
Pro, Erica and I were able to go check out the expo. We met fellow Pro Joe, he was pacing the 4:00 hour marathon.
We also got to chat with Danny, he helps the RD and with marketing for the race.
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 marathon started at the same time as the half marathon. There was one corral for both events. Participants were encouraged to line up according to pace, and use the pacers provided. There was music pumping on a loud speaker and announcements were made, but there were a lot of people, which made hearing difficult. Everyone was to be in the corral 10 minutes before the race start. The National Anthem was sang live. Then the Ainsley’s Angels wheelchairs started, followed by everyone else. There were spectators lining the starting chute walls. There were port-o-potties available. Gear check was set up nearby, 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.
This was a crowded start, and people are rude during the National Anthem, not sure why they had to keep pushing through the crowd during the song. Also with all the expo security it is strange gear check bags were cloth and not see through. It was also kind of cool.
This race also had an app. The app had all the information you would ever need, expo hours, race course and live tracking. This app is also FREE!
Race/Course: The race was run around the LSU campus, around lakes and through the city of Baton Rouge.
- Paved surfaces – asphalt was warbled in areas where tree roots were, there were some potholes, had to pay attention to footing
- hydration stops – there was water and Powerade in paper cups. Although you had to be sure to pay attention, some stops had different cups, some had the same. For the most part Powerade was after water, but some stops it was all mixed in. Some stops were crowded too, the on near mile 7 was narrow, and I was cut off twice.
- Food/nutrition – Honey stinger gels were provided by the race. There was no actual food.
- Spectators – there were many in populated areas, some cheer stops. They had alcohol, donuts, king cake, oranges, candy, bananas, champange in addition to their witty signs. There were also many areas there were no spectators.
- Aid- provided water and gels, but there were medical stations on course, and a wet sponge stop.
- Photographers – most of them were stationed around the start/finish, but there were some on the course. All pictures were posted a couple of days later and FREE
- Terrain – fairly flat, but there were some hilly parts, like crossing an over pass.
- Scenery – ran around LSU campus, around a lake, through neighborhoods
- Volunteers/ law enforcement – there was someone at every intersection and every corner
- Course Markings – each mile was marked with a card board sign, there were no arrows or marks on the pavement
- Timing – mats at 3 points on course for tracking
- Bathrooms- there were many on course, but it seemed there could have been more as early stops all had a line
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. There was also a gear stand to buy race merchandise. A tent was set up to claim the deja vu platter, it was just a plastic tray.
Finish Festival / VIP tent: The Finish Festival was similar the events from the day before, but with different food options, there was even the vegan villiage. 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, they had maybe 4 beers available.
I took advantage of my VIP access, and spent my post race there. There was a buffet of fancy food, but healthy post race options; quinoa, freekah, steak, rice, strawberries, etc. Then there was the open bar with Abita beer, mimosas and bloody mary’s. There was king cake on each table. The tent also had free massage.
Overall: What a fun marathon, there could be more spectators, but the course is fairly flat and the post race festivities are awesome!! So much food! I will try to run this again.
Personal: This was my 10th marathon. I signed up 10 days before the race. I didn’t have high expectations, but I am in the midst of training for a March marathon. I also had a strange knee flare up pain, but related that to shoes with too many miles on them.
I started the race by running a few miles with Erica, this is when I snagged my first taste of King Cake, YUM!!! I think we parted ways before mile 4 and I kept trucking. I felt good.
At about the 14ish mile mark I saw Melanie – another pro – on an out and back section. It was nice to see a friendly face. I also got a “Go Hawks!”
Then at about mile 18, I found Melanie on the course, she was struggling with a knee problem. I chatted with her for a while and wished her luck, she was still pushing.
At around mile 21, I caught up with Team JoJo from Ainsley’s Angels. It was nice to run a few miles with them. The one guy kept a nice conversation, and pushed me to at least mile 23.
I finished setting a new official PR, by 3 minutes. At mile 25 there was walking, and pain, my legs were tired, but the weather and course was perfect for a fast race. Official results 4:55:02.
My Garmin was off probably starting around the second mile, but I could have taken corners too wide or something, I had a distance of 26.56.
I then enjoyed the remainder of the day touring the city. Visiting the USS Kidd and taking in the local fare, although I passed on the oysters. I wish I had more time to explore and find a beignet. So if you travel to the area, plan some extra time to explore. However I found a grocery store to bring some things home.
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