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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Louisiana Marathon 2014: Lots of changes, still a great race

This was my third time attending the Louisiana marathon, and this year the finish fest wasn't the free-for-all of beer and food it's been in the past. In prior years, the fest featured up to 21 local brews and multiple food vendors, dishing up food on demand. The result? No food left for the marathoners! The half racers ate all the food!

This year, runners got a wrist band attached to their bibs, with ten punches on it. You got ten servings of beer and/or food. Non-runners could buy a band for $20, or $10 for a smaller band with just 5 punches (the finish fest sold out of bands - the number was limited to ensure that there was enough food).
I used all ten of my punches, and it was plenty of food for David and I both, augmented with king cake, of course. I brought a homemade king cake to the fest for the other runners in my group.

The beer was only Michelob Ultra this year. They were the corporate sponsors of the half, so of course they were the exclusive beer, but I did miss the sampling we've had in past years. Next year I'd probably bring my own beer, not that I drink a ton, but it would leave my punches free for food. And I could get better beer than Michelob Ultra.
Crowds at the finish

Why YOU should run the Louisiana Marathon:
- Flat, fast course
- Always beautiful weather
- A race director and staff who are runners themselves
- Deep discounts on registration throughout the year (check Facebook)
- Local cuisine
- Nice T-shirt
- Option for pasta dinner ticket purchase: I haven't done this, but they have pretty A-list speakers (It was Bill Rodgers this year!)
- Starts on time. Awards on time. Bands and music are on time.
- Easy ample parking or places to stay near the start
- There is a full, half, 5k, and kids race option (5k and kids on Saturday)
- If you run with Varsity, free tent with bag/cooler drop and stretches at the finish!
Getting a stretch from personal trainer Erich Tanner from FutureFitness in Baton Rouge - thanks Erich!
Things I don't love / things to remember:
- Packet pickup Friday and Saturday only for Sunday race
- The second half of the full course is full sun and gets hot!
- There is never any water in the finish fest, only at the actual finish line: so remember to grab a few extra bottles.
- Michelob Ultra. Also, the cups for beer were tiny, like 10 ounces.
- Not a complaint, but make sure you register with a host hotel early, as they booked early this year.


  1. Sponsorship has it's privileges and the privilege is giving you less than stellar beer!

  2. You have me pretty sold on this marathon. If I do another one, it's definitely on my list, especially bc I have family in the area.

  3. And…I still haven't see which race you did or how you did it! Need to see if you posted yesterday. Anyhow..the course sounds nice; the beer, not so nice!

  4. How well was the course marked? I ran the race a LONG LONG time ago when it was the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon and ran OFF COURSE TWO MILES. In fact, because the lead girl ran off and accidently shortened the course, I was boosted up to 2nd place (instead of 3rd). And I remember getting the total shaft on the award- just a silly little ribbon that said 2nd place (and this was 2nd place OVERALL, not AG). Anyway, I remember them serving alligator, which I thought was super cool and unique. Unfortunately, my stomach wasn't feeling up to trying any. Glad you had a fun race/run!

    1. OMG. That is actually a different race (Beach is held in December. Louisiana is new, only 3 years old). But the thing is...I also went WAY off course at BR Beach! I ran an extra mile and still placed third...and I think I got a coaster!

  5. Flat would get me there even without all the food. Pity it's so far away.

  6. Sounds like a great race! It would be on my list if I ever lived anywhere close enough to do a back-of-the-pack runner, I really appreciate races that don't run out of food at the end!

  7. Totally following on Facebook. Sounds like fun! Bummer about the beer, though. That's like after the Oakland Marathon when the free wine was Barefoot.