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Friday, February 3, 2012

Louisiana Marathon: Race Review and DISCOUNT!

This was the inaugural Louisiana Marathon this Sunday. You can read my recap here
The race: There is a full, a half, and a relay, and the day before there is a 5k and a kid's one-mile. The race was well-attended, with over 1800 runners Sunday and about 400 Saturday. There were runners from 46 states and several other countries. 

At the start
Registration and cost: This is a slightly pricey race, but if you register early you can find discounts. I got in for $50 with a coupon code. That, my friends, was a DEAL! Someone can pick your packet up for you on Friday or Saturday, but there is no race day pick up, which is not my favorite. 

Finish line 
Swag: Not much - the T-shirt is kind of cheap technical with very weird sizing, so that I had to get a men's medium to get one long enough (the smalls were very short and wide). There was a small expo with absolutely no free samples of anything. However, this isn't the kind of race you run for swag; you're paying for a posh afterparty and a well-run race instead. 

Course: Course was mostly pretty although there were some long, dull stretches; it was not a totally flat course but there weren't outright hills, just the occasional long grade. I learned the hard way that this is a majority full-sun course (sunburn!). My only complaint about this race is about the course: The half and full separate and come back together several times, which means that fast runners are hitting a wall of slow half-marathoners repeatedly. These sections were miles long. It meant I was dodging and ducking, and some of the halfers were tired out and stopping to walk or stopping at water stations. I assume that they will change this for next year - it's just part of the learning curve! 

This race picture kind of demonstrates the congestion, although this was on a wider section - still, imagine everyone around me was running a 10:30 mile, and you can see how this would mean a lot of dodging and weaving for several miles at a time.
Support: Support was really excellent. There were many very well-manned water and Powerade tables (both at each station) and there were Cliff gels twice (I missed the second one though). There was a nice crowd out, too. It's nice to see a community get out and spectate for a race, and only a few areas had no one out. 
The after party by the state capitol
Post race: There is an after-party with live music, plenty of food from vendors, and local beers. They charge $10 to get in if you didn't race, but it isn't roped off and no one was paying. David didn't pay; he just didn't eat the food provided for runners (poor man was starving, too). The awards were given too late for my tastes: 1 pm for the marathon, and it started at 7am! But they kindly let me pick mine up early.
T-shirt, poster, medal, and jacket
Awards: So kick-butt. Everyone gets a medal; overall and age group winners all get the same thing, a fabulous fleece jacket for girls or a sweatshirt for guys, and an art print (see it here). Since edition number affects the value of a print (did I tell you I took a print making class once? Loved it), overall winners were given prints from the top 25 editions (I got #11)! Cute idea. These are definitely the best awards I've ever won: I'd much rather wear a jacket around than add a plaque to the stack on my desk that I am debating throwing away. Plus, the top three overall got the aforementioned Whole Foods giftcard! 
This race catered to first-timers, and the top 25 first-time marathon finishers actually received a free pair of Mizuno's from Varsity Sports. Um, how awesome is that? 
Technology: This race had some pretty cool features I wanted to mention. Notice the QR code on the race bib: if you scan it, your name and results pop up on your phone! Loved that! I also liked that right near the finish they were running a results booth. They put your number in and printed you this handy receipt with your time and division place and even your splits (it could be improved by putting overall place within your gender).
QR coded, personalized bib and timing receipt
You can get info from the website, but most of the things I needed to know I got from Facebook! If you run this race, I suggest liking the louisiana marathon on Facebook. 
Etc - Everything went very smoothly for this race, so I'd definitely recommend it. You can already register for next year, and the time of year almost guarantees nice weather (I said almost). 
*NOTE right now you can register for next year using the code EARLYBIRD for $15 off. I got suckered in and registered for the full marathon for just $50!* REGISTER NOW, this coupon code expires Feb 5th at midnight! 
So overall? Almost a perfect race. Give them time to work on the course. 

Note: All pictures except the race picture courtesy of Louisiana Running Company.


  1. A lot of us in my running bunch have been talking about doing this race. It's at a nice time for things and such.

    In total agreement about the jacket (cool!) rather than a medal or plaque... You know, you can donate those through medals for Mettle? they refurbish them a tiny bit and give them to children who are hit milestones in Cancer treatment. Once of the BEST things to do with a Medal, In my opinion. I save a few (my firsts) but have sent them a few boxes.

  2. That's some awesome swag! For a first time race, they seemed to do a really good job! I can't believe you could get your results PRINTED out right away! That's awesome!

  3. I have never run a race where the results are printed out like that, but I would absolutely love it.