Custom Search

Monday, February 28, 2011

RnR Mardi Gras Marathon: review remix

I reviewed this race in 2010, but that was the inaugural year and since then things have changed - enough that I think it deserves another review.

Pre-race information, logistics, organization
Pros: It's a Rock 'n Roll race, so they're all pretty much the same. You know what to expect.
Cons: No race day packet pick-up. BUT I did talk to a runner who actually picked up his packet on race day. Apparently there is a table at the start village marked "solutions" and he just went there and picked it up. I wouldn't recommend this, of course, but I was intrigued to hear that race day was a possibility. 

Lodging and transportation:
Pros: Tons of hotels near the start, and they're all nice. It's New Orleans!. Or you could just stay with me and sleep on my sofa. Shuttle services available and improved from the first year, when apparently they picked you up miles and miles from the finish after a long race! There is parking near the finish, too, but you kind of have to hunt for it if you want to park for free.
Cons: Navigating is a little hard for spectators. This race shuts down all the major roads.

Swag: Kind of standard. Shirt quality was way down this year (and really, really ugly) and there were fewer free samples and useful coupons in the bag. Expo was typical Rock and Roll. Like all RnR races it was EXPENSIVE but you can always get a deal - coupon codes, %off, early registry, etc.
The after-party doesn't have food for non-runners (and not real food for runners, either, mostly snacky stuff - although this year Snickers was trying to unload more bars and was walking around the party handing them out) so if you have people meeting you they should bring a picnic. I mean, if they care about food. Obviously I do and I had David bring rolls and cheese and apples.
Heading to the after-party...yum, mandarin orange cups!
Pros: Course was much improved over last year - it avoided the nonsensical long loop into an empty, flooded neighborhood around the end of the full course. Instead, you do a loop along the lake - hot, sunny, windy, but very pretty. This was a big plus. The rest of the course is quite scenic. New Orleans is a beautiful city and I was proud to show it off! I expect this race to garner some good reviews and start attractive star runners: it's completely flat and very fast. It's also held at a beautiful time of year; both years I ran it the weather was ideal.
Cons: As some of the winners mentioned, the roads in New Orleans suck. Very rough ride. Be prepared.

Aid stations:
Pros: Gu, electrolyte drink, and water on course; well-staffed with cheery and efficient volunteers. I loved that some of the volunteers were letting you grab your own Gu, but were offering to open for you. Opening is the hard part!
Cons: I don't like Cytomax at all, but I lived.

Chip timed/scored. Wave start with MUCH better start than last year. Last year the waves started so slowly and sporadically that the race dragged on. I waited in my back corral for almost 45 minutes last year; this year I was only about 20 seconds off the gun.
Abe and I were distressed that they messed up his scoring this time, and it took them ten days to correct it (they gave credit to a runner with his exact number ... PLUS an extra zero in the middle. This guy was in the tenth corral rather than first so I'm pretty sure he was thrilled with his temporary time!). This would not be a problem except for the fact that Abe needed his time to register for nationals, and because Abe won his age group. RnR sent him an email that implies that he will either not get his award or it won't be personalized, but they're still proud of him for his finish. Um, ok.

- Get over here and run this race. If you don't PR it's your own fault for being out too late in the French Quarter.
- Totally stay a few days. And visit me.
- Be aware that the road surface is rough, bumpy, and potholed. Choose shoes accordingly.
- Don't pay to park at the convention center for the expo. You can almost always find free parking on the street if you don't mind walking and you go at an off-time.
- Print the road closures list.
- Get in touch with local runners on Dailymile and find out the scoop on after-parties, if you're interested. I know of two with free food and drinks for runners after this one. We're a party city.
- Fly in right before the race but stay a few days after so you can eat all the yummy food without worrying about how it will affect your race.
- Check the weather. Mid-Feb is when our weather begins to change - usually - so you might get cold weather or really hot.


  1. I've never run a Rock n' Roll race. this is a great review. Thanks!

  2. nice review, gracie! i sure wish i could have joined you .. but i promise to do so next year.

    yep yep yep


  3. Hi! New follower here! Saw your comment on HungryRunnerGirl. I'm also a runner from Louisiana. (I live in Houma.) I am running my first 10K at the Crescent City Classic this year. I'm super pumped!

  4. Great review! Another successful marathon for you. You are such a machine! So impressed!

    In your comment on my blog yesterday, you asked if i had consulted my gyno about my skin... I did as that was the first recommendation by my derm. So I have been on bc for 4 months now i think? And then he added minocycline. And then spironolactone (sp?). So I am on all 3 now which is why I feel like a freaking pharmacy.... I am really hoping to avoid accutane because of the side effect of depression that I"ve heard about, but we'll see what happens... I want to give it another couple months before resorting to trying accutane... stupid skin. I should be past this. I am freaking 30!