Coming to Baton Rouge in January for a marathon, you expect two things: a flat, scenic course, and lots of great food. The Louisiana Marathon over-delivered on both of these. But the thing that stands out most isn’t just the course or the post-race festival; it’s what founder and marketing director Danny Bourgeois promised: a home-town, community atmosphere that made a big race feel like a small-town event.

Race weekend began with packet pick-up at the River Center, nearby to the race start. For those who, like myself, opted to experience the “Deja Vu” event, we picked up numbers for two races – the marathon on Sunday, and also a 5K shake-out race beforehand on Saturday. Runners who completed both events would receive a race-branded crawfish platter for their efforts.

On race morning I awoke to discover an email form the race director wishing me good luck. Nice touch! Earlier emails had kept me apprised of the expected warm weather, so I was prepared for hot and humid conditions when I toed the starting line. After completing the short out-and-back course, I received a beautiful finishers medal (unusual for a 5k, at least for old-timers like me) and enjoyed a full post race festival, complete with plenty of beer options and stands offering standard Louisiana fare, including gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp etouffe. As previews go, this was very encouraging.

Marathon¬†morning brought fog, but it couldn’t hide the highlights of the course, which included views of the towering state capitol, the Governor’s mansion, a tour through the Louisiana State University campus and its enormous Tiger Stadium, and a waterfront run on Lakeshore Drive. As promised, it was a flat, fast course. Aid stations offered a variety of Stinger gels starting at 8 miles, and on crossing the finish line, I knew what to expect from the post race festival. Several servers at the food stands actually remembered me from the day before, and asked how my race had gone. I felt like I was among friends.

So how was my race? Not my fastest time, but surely one of my most enjoyable ones. I give this event a big thumbs up.


About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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