|Baton Rouge Beach Marathon sponsored by|
The Running Chicken Track Club
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
24th Marathon Completed
Runners: 181/Full, 334/Half
Course: LSU Campus & Local Lakes
Mostly Flat, 288ft Elevation Gain
Temp: 51 degrees at start, 70 degrees at finish
Wind: 5 mph SW
SWAG: Race Bag, Tech Shirt, Socks, Gloves, Koozie
Food: Best ever ... Jambalaya, Alligator, Gumbo, etc.
Volunteer Support: Good
Water Stops: Adequate but not great
Crowd Support: Very Sparse
Place: 86/181 Overall
8th/20 in 40-44 Age Group
Total Experience ... 1 2 3 4 5
- Nice small marathon in one of the best college towns, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Best pre/post race food ever ... Jambalaya, Alligator, Gumbo - great Cajun treats
- Convenient hotels close to Expo & packet pickup and good, no hassle shuttle service to the start/finish lines
- Perfect weather, about 50 degrees at the start & 70 degrees at the finish
- Beautiful flat two loop course around Louisiana State University and local lakes
- Good, but very sparse volunteer support, post race support, and almost no crowd support
- Very close to passing traffic during some stretches with no cones or markers, one of the more dangerous races I've ran
- Met Jennifer who was volunteering at the RWB Booth (daugher of Grannie Frannie Runs)
- Had a great time hanging out with and running the entire race with my friend Bobby from North Carolina
- Probably the most anticlimactic ending to any marathon I've ran so far
- Nice small race, but still looking for the "Beach" in Baton Rouge
Finisher Medal & SWAG
|2012 Baton Rouge Beach Marathon Finisher Medal & SWAG including race bag, gloves, socks, and Brooks Technical Shirt|
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times ... I LOVE THE SOUTH!!! The Southern part of the United States is somewhere I don't travel to a lot, but every time I'm there, I just don't want to leave. And on this trip below the Mason Dixon, I found one of the true gems of the South ... Baton Rouge, Louisiana! As the capital city Louisiana, there was of course the typical Southern hospitality to be found everywhere, but the city is also one of the best college towns in America, home to Southern University and Louisiana State University.
|Beautiful ceremonial Indian Mounds on the LSU Campus|
|Some of the great architecture at LSU ... Top Row from left: Tiger Stadium, Memorial Tower, Old Law Building Bottom Row: Journalism Building, Julian C. Miller Hall, David Floyd Hall|
|Top: Mike VI ... the LSU Bayou Benal and team mascot who lives at Louisiana State University|
Bottom: Tiger Statue in front of Tiger Stadium & Tiger Walk in front of Mike VI's compound
I met my friend Bobby from North Carolina at the Myrtle Beach Marathon earlier this year. Since then we've become friends and ran part of the Little Rock Marathon together and even played in an online fantasy baseball league together (because we're both sports geeks). When we found out we were both running the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, we decided to get together at the packet pickup and run this race together the next day too.
|Me with Jennifer from Team RWB, |
Bad camera angle, I promise my melon's not that big
At the Expo, I asked a couple of the volunteers why there was a chicken on everything. I knew it was for the "Running Chicken Track Club", but wanted to know why they used a chicken. The two ladies I asked didn't know. In fact everyone I asked all weekend didn't know. At this point I'm not even sure there is a "Running Chicken Track Club" ... but I probably just didn't find the right people. Regardless, the logo makes me smile. I mean ... it's a running chicken ... right?
After that, Bobby and I headed out and walked around the LSU campus before finding a good local place to eat for dinner. One of the ladies handing out race packets recommended that we come back to the Expo later that night because they were having some traditional Cajun favorites for the pre-race meal like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and yes ... Alligator. But I didn't think I wanted anything that spicy on my stomach before a race, so we looked for something else. We were staying at different hotels, but the front desk employees at our individual places both recommended the same thing ... Parrain's Seafood Restaurant.
|Parrain's Seafood Restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Shuttle bus to the starting line|
While we waited for the race to get underway, several of the post-race meal preparations were underway. I watched as a couple of good-ole-boys prepared what I think was Jambalaya. I'm not sure what all went into it ... or if I wanna know ... but it smelled delicious. All I can tell you is one of the fellas had a shirt on that said "Got Boudin?" Boudin is a spicy sausage like combination of rice and hog guts ... so 'nough said!
Going into this race, Bobby and I were both pretty run down from a full year of running. I had just ran probably my fastest marathon about three weeks prior at Marshall, and Bobby was running in his incredible 13th marathon of the year! An unbelievable accomplishment! So both of us agreed to just kinda take it slow and enjoy the day. And the day was very easy to enjoy. When I woke up on Saturday morning, it was a beautiful 50 degrees with almost no wind. There was a little fog in the air that settled in right before the race started, but it quickly burned off. It was a beautiful morning to be running a marathon!
The race website said they were limiting registration to 1,500 runners, but as I looked at the runners lined up in front of and behind us at the starting line, it seemed there were probably no more than 500. Also, the race is called Baton Rouge Beach Marathon ... but I didn't see one grain of sand before, during, or after the race? Weird. I think Baton Rouge Beach just refers to all of the lakes in the area, but who knows, maybe there was a whole beach that I missed.
|A coupla Cajuns conjuring up some vittles fa yonda race!|
Despite not being in great shape for this marathon, it was great having someone to run with for an entire race. The only other people I had done that with were Michael at Disney, and my daughter Madison at Oklahoma City. Bobby and I have a lot in common with our kids and our love of running and sports, so we of course had no trouble filling four hours with conversation. Although toward the end, both of us got pretty quite.
Admittedly, Baton Rouge was a little different than I thought it would be. I figured there would be gator-fighting rednecks with thick French/Cajun accents that I couldn't understand, and Fleur De Lis emblems painted on everything. I also thought I would hear a lot more Cajun music. For the most part its pretty much like most nice college towns, except for the Southern charm. But at mile 4, as we ran toward a bunch of screaming girls in pink tutus at a water stop, I finally heard the familiar voice of Garth Brooks blaring over the loud speakers ... "Operator won't you put me on through, I gotta send my love down to Baton Rouge!" (Not that Garth is genuine Cajun but you get the point ... is that guys still alive?) I laughed and told Bobby that my trip was now complete. I heard Garth Brooks singing "Baton Rouge" in Baton Rouge! Awesome! I high-fived the girls as we ran by and then settled in for a nice relaxing race.
The BRB Marathon is a double looped course. This was kinda weird for me since before three weeks prior at the Marshall Marathon, I had never ran a looped marathon course. But now I was running my second consecutive ... after running two of them back-to-back, I can tell you I prefer the non-looped type. The course took us around the LSU campus, by the sports stadiums, through some beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods, by City Park Golf Course, and then finally around City Lake Park and University Lake. The LSU campus is simply beautiful and it was great to spend so much time there. The lakes were large city lakes with a lot of local birds nesting in trees that several folks had stopped take photos of.
The only real point of "criticism" I have about this race is the traffic control ... or lack thereof. The local police officers did a great job of holding traffic for us, and there were a few volunteers along the way to point out turns. However, in a couple of locations along the course, we were running in the right-hand lane with cars approaching from the rear. We were literally running in traffic! There were no cones or anything to divert the approaching automobiles in some locations. I mean, there's no way I would ever run like this on my own in training - it would just simply be too dangerous. A couple of times we cut across an intersection and you literally had to look over your shoulder to make sure you weren't in traffic. It just seemed like they could have had cones set up to at least encourage cars approaching from the rear to get over a little.
Because of the "not great" traffic conditions, and also because I have really grown to love trail running, I spent a good portion of the race on the grassy shoulder and on dirt paths that had been worn down from walkers and runners adjacent to the street. When my feet got a little tired from pounding the asphalt, it was nice to jump onto the grass and give them a little cushiony break.
Most of the course was fairly well shaded, but it got a little warm toward the end. I think both Bobby and I were both ready to be done at about mile 20. The temperature was nearing 70 degrees - a far cry from the 18 degrees I had ran in on Tuesday morning in Kansas City. Plus, since it was a looped course, we used the same water-stops the second time through the race. Frankly I could have used one or two more stops, but it was just because it was a little warmer than normal.
|Me and my friend Bobby after the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon|
I had really looked forward to all of the great Cajun food after the race, but was afraid I wouldn't be able to enjoy it due to post-race stomach issues. The race had been fairly relaxing for both of us, but just as I thought, my stomach prevented me from eating anything for a while, let alone, spicy Cajun food. But it looked and smelled delicious.
Bobby and I snapped a quick picture and then jumped on the bus back to the hotel where we both headed our separate ways. We'll probably run more races together next year - and it was cool having a friend to run this one with. The ride home is always a lot more challenging than the ride to a race, but this one wasn't bad. Unfortunately, I'm running out of States that are close to home and will probably have to fly many of them from here on out. I would recommend the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon ... it was a really nice small race in one of the best college towns I've ever visited.
... be great today!