I won't go super in-depth, but here are some changes that Competitor Group made this time and observations from me:
|I'm so totally ready and excited to run this race.|
Expo: This race has gotten large recently, with over 22,000 runners registered. That made the expo incredibly crowded - like, claustrophobically so. RNR recommends that local runners attend on Friday to reduce crowds, but the expo is open from 10am to 5pm only! So maybe that would work for local runners who are unemployed? The line for a beer wristband was over 100 people long by dead reckoning, so I skipped that.
Start: Since RNR added a 10k, the full and half marathon started later: 7:30 am. No big deal, except it is. That's another half hour later to be out in the sun. I preferred the 7am start.
Course: This course keeps changing! In general, it's been the same; you start at Lafayette Square in the CBD, run down St. Charles, turn around at Audubon Park (it used to loop through the park, but Audubon put the kibosh on that), run back up St. Charles, run down Decatur, down Esplanade to City Park, up Marconi to the Lakefront, back to the park for the finish. The differences this time were:
- They tried at the Lakefront. They really tried. Everyone knows these miles suck: they're hot, sunny, windy, hilly (bridges), and lonely. RnR set up these empty booths playing music along the lake! It sort of worked. They didn't take the place of spectators, but at least it wasn't just silence punctuated with sighs and groans.
- You ran down Wisner to the finish, on the other side of the park, which had some blessed shade (finally). I liked that, even though it was very empty of spectators, as well.
One big complaint I had about this course was the placement of Gatorade. They started serving it at MILE ONE, which is dumb, and had none on the Lakefront, which was a hot and sunny area where it was much-needed. Thankfully for me, one of the only people out there had a table of Coke, which was hard to get down but really helped.
Price: I actually think it's easier to get a good price on this race now. I registered the week of the race, right at the last minute, for $130 (plus I had a $10 coupon code that said it expired in December, but still worked). Post-race, I preregistered for 2017 for $57! That's amazing! And even the $130 was less than I paid for the Louisiana Marathon HALF the week of the race!
|Shirt I will never wear.|
And I actually like the finisher's jacket. It's super thin and flimsy, but perfect for balling up and stuffing in your purse or luggage!