I’m still trying to catch up with race recaps for the races I’ve completed in the past. Earlier posts covered the Atlanta Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, the Virginia Creeper Marathon, the Nashville Country Music Marathon, the Baltimore Marathon, and the Harrisburg Marathon. Next up… my recap and review for the Rock N Roll (Mardi Gras) New Orleans Marathon!
Website: Rock ‘N Roll New Orleans Marathon.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana.
Time of Year: Sunday in February.
Size: 12,000 runners across events, including a half marathon.
Weather and What I Wore: It was great running weather–clear skies, not windy, comfortable temperature. I wore too-short shorts (which came back to haunt me, and necessitated handfuls of Vaseline as a I neared the end of the race), a short sleeved tech tee, and a hat. I started with a long sleeved tee on top but ended up with it tied around my waist for most of the run.
Logistics: I flew in to the New Orleans airport a couple days before the race. I stayed with a friend the first night and then stayed in a nice hotel (Loews) the night before the marathon. We easily walked to the start on race day. Runners hop on a bus after the race to be taken back to the start area. Coming a few days early gave me a chance to explore New Orleans a bit. I didn’t find a ton of healthy food for snacking but I did go to Carmo for vegan lunch, and I got some corn at the market (not to mention beignets at Cafe du Monde).
Expo and Swag: The race shirt was a white short sleeved tech tee. A fine finisher medal. No other swag. The expo was at the Convention Center, which was a bit of a walk from where I was staying, but not too difficult. I got suckered in to buying one of those electronic pulse massagers at the expo. I rarely use it, but it was funny to put it on a supertense boyfriend I once had. He really freaked out…
Course and Terrain: (Note that this course is being re-designed, so it will not necessarily follow the same path I took.) This is a flat course on pavement. The race started downtown and went through many of the neighborhoods of New Orleans, over a bridge (the one hill), and then along the water. There are some out and backs in the more-boring second half that are less than awesome. There was fun musical entertainment along the course and several spots for spectators, although again the second half of the race (without half-marathoners) was very quiet and a bit boring. The race ended in lovely City Park.
Speed: FAST! My current PR happened at the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon! I ran the first 15 or 16 miles at BQ pace but just couldn’t hold it. After slowing down for the last few miles and quickly stopping a couple of times to grab Vaseline from volunteers to glob all over my inner thighs (thanks for that, race directors!!!), I ended up just under 3:45. Even though it wasn’t a BQ, I was really happy with my time. I also remember that I ate a bunch of Gu during this race–maybe 6 packs? That was a lot for me, but I do think it helped me with my pace; I also think there were psychological benefits to taking in more fuel to keep me going.
Overall: Like it. Not as big as some of the other Rock N Roll events. This would be a pretty nice first race if you live near New Orleans or have friends there. Great for a PR or BQ time. But not so special that I feel like I need to do it again.