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Friday, December 16, 2011

Baton Rouge Beach Marathon race review

The Baton Rouge Beach marathon is probably my favorite race so far, although it might tie with the Harrisburg Marathon I ran last year.
The race: You have options to run the full or half; it is a small race, and more runners complete the half (only a few over 300 finished the marathon).
Registration and cost: Early registration is $65 and $75 for half and full; late registration - which can be as late as the night before at packet pick up or even the morning of the race - goes up $10. This is rather high for a small marathon, but it was so superbly done that it is worth it. 

Check out the website to register online; oddly, the website is amateur and silly, but the rest of the race is impeccably organized. 
Free stuff!!!!!!!!

Swag: A ridiculous amount. First off, there is dinner - free - at packet pick up with salad, pizza, jambalaya, and beer. Second, "swag bag" takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that the swag is in an awesome bag! A duffle bag! (Half-ers got a string back pack). The swag included bright wicking socks with the running club's cute silly chicken logo, throw-away gloves, a coozie, a magnet, a temporary tattoo (also the running club's logo) and nice samples like Aquaphor. The shirt is a Brooks technical T, and it has no advertising on it - which I like. The medals also have the goofy chicken logo on them, and our awards were sturdy little plaques. I like the smaller size. I feel bad throwing out race awards but big ones are...awkward. 
Course: You wouldn't think I'd rave about a double loop course, but I am! It's just a great course. There are patches of mild hills and plenty of tight turns, but overall it is flat and easy, and it is quite varied (neighborhoods, LSU campus, and the pretty LSU lakes). Variety is key for me, and even on the second loop it didn't grow dull (Maybe because I got lost and threw in some new stuff!). The course is sort of open to traffic but there are police at intersections. Nice mix of sun and shade.

Support: This is such a smoothly organized race, I'd recommend any race director visit this marathon for tips. Packet pick up the night before was easy and took no time at all; there were shuttles from parking areas to the start the morning of, which went without a hitch; the race started on time and the awards ceremony was quick and I didn't have to wait forever. Most of the water stops had entertaining costumes and silliness and were run like they ought to be - water and Powerade separate, volunteers even offering blue or red Powerade for the picky! There are not many spectators (maybe because finals are about to get underway at LSU?? But I thought more people would be out in the neighborhoods) but the volunteer support was top-notch.
Post race: Beer - and I mean your choice of bud with lime, bud light, bud 55... maybe more! - soft drinks, etc. and a spread of pastalaya, jambalaya, fried fish, french fries, mozzarella sticks (!) and more. It's in a pretty location - on the lakes in a park - so it is a great place to hang out afterwards and knead your hamstrings. 
Awesomely, finishers times are printed and displayed within literally minutes of crossing the finish line, so you can immediately see how you did. Results are posted online the DAY of the race, and the race pictures were emailed out the next day! Which was a Sunday! 
Etc - The race is chipped, and there is a discount hotel option with the race. If you register late you *may* not get some of the fancy swag like socks and gloves (I registered late and still did). The halfway point runs right by the finish line, so if that demoralizes you perhaps you should look the other's a 7:00 am start, which I like, but which disgusts others. The weather can be anywhere from 70's to 40's this time of year. 
So overall? Run it. It is awesome. 


  1. Glad this is such a great race! I think the full would be nice but it seems I do most all my training runs on some portion of this course, so wondering if it would get a little boring. I think that is why I like racing in NOLA. Not too far too travel but a nice variety/change of scenery for me!

  2. Sounds like this marathon is a secret of sorts - i have never heard of anyone but you running it! I've also never been to Baton Rouge, so maybe a destination marathon is in the cards in the future! Thanks for the review :)

  3. I am so interested in this race. I lived in Baton Rouge and worked at the Lake for a couple of years. I will have to look into it.

  4. I think any race that gives out Socks is well worth it! i don't know why. But I do.

  5. The free dinner part of the swag sounds good. I imagine you'd be hungry after running so much