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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Old Man River race review

I've done this race before, but the updated course and perks deserve a new review!

Pre-race information, logistics, organization, cost: 
Most information is located on the NOTC website, and you can register online. Website gives all the details about early packet pickup, day-of packet pick-up, parking, awards, and after-party. Like all NOTC races, it's organized and easy. The race is affordable, with the lowest price being $60 for members and $65 for non-members with early registration. There is a 5k held at the same time. You can register for either race the day of the race, although you had to get your T-shirt later.
Lodging and transportation: Host hotel on-site and free parking garages. Easy to get to, and the roads don't close until 7:15 for an 8 am start. 
Swag: I really loved the long sleeved T. It's a technical shirt, but looks and feels like everyday wear. And the design is excellent. 

The medal is cool, too: the ship's wheel actually spins!

Course:The half marathon course starts on the Mississippi River and follows it in both directions (1 loop and 1 out-and-back). Because it follows the river's bend, both loops end up with basically full headwind one way and full tailwind the other.That's a con, as is the fact that the whole course is full-sun. The first half of the course isn't amazing; it's in some industrial areas. But the second is very nice along the levee, with great views of the city. Since the course follows the road/path up and down the levee several times, it's not a totally flat course, which is a nice change for New Orleans race. It was refreshing to use some different muscles once in a while! One problem: the levee got a little congested even late in the half marathon - the 5k might have been tight. 

Overall, I think the course is excellent. You have to expect wind and sun, but given the smooth surface and the nice occasional man-made hill, I'd say in the right weather, it's a PR course.
Aid stations:
Water and Gatorade and even Gu on the half course at one point. 
After-party: Music, jambalaya, beer, coffee, red beans and rice, massages, and probably more - but we didn't really stay, as I had to run to the grocery store, then get cooking for a holiday party! 
 The NOTC finally got a timing mat at the START of the race, rather than just the finish, so you get a real chip time - but keep in mind that the NOTC always scores by gun time. I did not stay for awards, so I am not sure what they were exactly, but I saw some anchor and ship's wheel themed medals on Facebook.
Suggestions: Nice, low-key half with unparalleled views of the city; it would make the perfect Christmas destination race (visit NOLA for the holidays!).

1 comment:

  1. The shirt is pretty sweet and I love the medal. I'm a sucker for medals that have parts that move.