Latest reviews by Jennifer Zenuch

(2016)
"New race finish area! "
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This race has quickly become one of my favorite races of the spring. It's an Easter tradition in New Orleans. The race always happens on the Saturday before Easter. With a huge field of participants (I think over 17,000) from runners to walkers to strollers, it can be both a highly competitive race or a fun party in the back. Some people pull coolers full of adult drinks the whole way! There's even a fun costume competition with prizes.

Pros:
- GREAT expo. They always bring in some really great vendors for the expo and it's huge for a 10k. I like that a majority of the vendors are local too.
- Flat, scenic course through downtown New Orleans, the French Quarter, then up Esplanade to finish at City Park.
- Wonderful finish festival with lots and lots of food, beer, and great music
- The addition of timed corrals has greatly improved this race for those who truly want to RUN it. They were policing the corrals pretty heavily this year so make sure you sign up for the corral you want to be in. I moved up to a faster corral this year and it made a ton of difference. MUCH less weaving and winding around walkers.
- I really liked the t-shirt design this year.
- Medals for all finishers!
- The first 500 people to finish (based on chip time) in each gender receives a commemorative poster (worth $50)! I was only 4 seconds away from a poster this year!!! WHAAA!!!
- Aid stations every mile were manned but some great, enthusiastic volunteers.
- Tons of fun costumes and crazy antics along the race route. (jello shots anyone??)
- Fun family/kid zone in the finish festival with a climbing wall and blow up obstacles and slides.
- The buses were really quick taking people from the finish to the start in the morning. Very little wait time.
- It's spring in New Orleans. The weather was gorgeous!
- New race finish area eliminates the old blind finish. I liked it!

Cons:
- The lines for the porta potties at the start were really, really, really long. I ended up just having to hold it and run really fast to the finish to go. Ha!
- There was some confusion by the people policing the corrals on how to get to the "D" corral. They told us to walk through the "E" corral to get to "D". It took us several minutes of weaving through a mass of people when all the while all we had to do was walk around to the side of the street to easily enter there.
- The roads can be a little rough - but that's New Orleans. You learn to look down as you run.

I truly love this race. It is always one of my favorites and one of the funnest races I do each year. I'll keep coming back for more each year! Next year that poster is MINE!

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(2016)
"Run for the king cake, cake balls!"
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Thumb mambo medal

This is fun race that's kind of a tradition for our family. We've run it now 4 years in a row and we always push the boys in the stroller for it. It's a great fun race always around Mardi Gras, with a Mardi Gras theme and even special awards for the best costume. What makes this race every year are the super cute medals and the GREAT after party. Tons of good food and the king cake flavored cake balls are to die for. I always grab several after the finish line.

Pros:
- SUPER cute finishers medal for ALL race distances - even the kids one mile fun run. The medal design just keeps getting better and better.
- Decent race t-shirt - long sleeve cotton with a cute Mardi Gras graphic.
- Relatively flat course around LSU and the LSU Lakes.
- GREAT post race festival = lots of beer, food, and good music. Food ranged from Jimmy Johns sandwiches, pulled pork BBQ, gumbo, jambalaya, and king cake flavored cake balls.
- KING CAKE FLAVORED CAKE BALLS!!
- There's a costume category, so lots of fun costumes on the course.
- Parking was very easy and stress-free in the garage right by the race start.

Cons:
- The roads were pretty bad this year. They ran us down one road that was all torn up for construction. If you weren't paying attention you could easily step off into a huge hole.
- Lots and lots and lots of walkers. Add that with the road construction = very narrow running path which lead to lots of boxing in.
- The water at the aid stations was warm and tasted terrible. Like, out of a dirty garden hose terrible. Luckily we carried some with us in the stroller because it was really bad.

It was really cold this year, so we didn't stick around too long after the finish but it really is a fun party in the park. We will be back again next year to run it again!

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(2016)
"Bad roads, construction, and heat = race killer"
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This was my fifth marathon and probably one of the hardest I've ever run. The bad New Orleans roads on the first half plus the intermittent construction plus the early heat and humidity killed this race for me. It was not one of my faves but it's done. I can check it off my bucket list.

Pros:
- Good sized expo with the usual vendors you see at a RNR event.
- Decent race t-shirt, but QUIT printing them in black please! Why? WHY? Black tech shirts in the summer = Ew!
- Packet pick-up was well organized and easy to maneuver.
- Excellent aid stations throughout the course with a good variety of water, Gatorade, snacks, salt, and fuel.
- The race volunteers were really great. Very helpful and upbeat.
- The course scenery on the first half is lovely. You run down St. Charles through the Garden District, through the Quarter and then up Esplanade to end at City Park. It's a good route that a lot of New Orleans races take.
- There were some fun bands on the course - mostly the first 13 miles.
- The medal design this year was really cool. I liked the St. Louis Cathedral.
- The marathon finishers jacket is a really nice touch. It's a pretty decent Brooks jacket too!

Cons:
- The roads were HORRIBLE! I expect bad roads in New Orleans for most of the race, but add on the trolley car construction and it made the roads rough, full of loose gravel in places, and narrowed down to a 4 foot bottle-neck in others. It was rough going, especially on the first half.
- The back half is pretty desolate, with not a lot of scenery or spectators or SHADE.
- The merchandise for the race seemed pretty meh and cheap looking this year. I was underwhelmed.
- It's an RNR event so it was super, super crowded.

Again, I can check this full off my race list. But one and done for me on that distance. I'd do the half again, but not to full. Just not the race for me.

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(2016)
"Not a stroller friendly 5k. "
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Thumb 5k medal

We run a lot of local 5k's as a family, pushing a double stroller. It's a fun way to get out and get some exercise with the entire family. We signed up for this 5k for fun, but we really like to try and run the 3.1 miles as best we can. This 5k was pretty much impossible to run with a jogging stroller and I thought the course really failed to show the beauty of downtown Baton Rouge.

Pros:
- Great race medal. It really is a nice medal for a 5k. You don't get medals with 5k races too often so that was a nice plus.
- Nice cotton/poly race t-shirt with a good graphic.
- GREAT expo. This race shares the expo with the Louisiana Marathon and half marathon so it's huge. There were a lot of great vendors and speakers at the expo on Friday before the race.
- Parking was easy and abundant in several lots and garages around downtown.
- The Louisiana Marathon has an app you can download for free that gives you all the details you need for all of their races: 5k, quarter marathon, half marathon, and full.
- GREAT post race finish festival with tons of good food. Unprecedented amount of food for a 5k.
- Free race photos for digital download.
- This race was part of the "Deja Vu" series where you get a fun crawfish platter if you ran both Saturday and Sunday.

Cons:
- The course was pretty meh. You ran a couple blocks through downtown, hit a big overpass, ran down some really narrow residential/industrial roads, hairpin turnaround, back over the overpass again and then to the finish. The last mile was probably the most scenic as you came back into downtown.
- Some of the roads were really rough and narrow. That, plus the hairpin turnaround (and the big overpass) made manuevering with the jogging stroller very difficult.
- There was no race day bib pickup for the 5k. I understand that's a logistical nightmare for the larger races but it would be nice for the much smaller 5k. We live over an hour away so we had a lot of butt in seat time in the car driving to go pick up a bib for a 5k.
- Both the 5k runners/walkers and the quarter marathon runners/walkers started together so it was really congested and crowded at the start.

Neutral but noteworthy:
- There were a LOT of walkers up front at the start. Weaving and maneuvering around all the walkers (so many up front) was tough. It will really slow you down.

If you want to participate in the Deja Vu challenge for The Louisiana Marathon, or you just want to get out and have a fun morning at a 5k then this is a decent race. I'd suggest do it for the post race finish festival, if for nothing else. But it's definitely not one to try to go out and try to PR or run.

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(2016)
"Kids Marathon = 1.2 miles of fun - but needs some tweaks."
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Thumb austin medal

Our 4 year old son loves to run the little one mile fun runs with us and when we saw that Louisiana Marathon was doing a special Kids Marathon we knew we had to sign him up. And then I found out there was a special kids medal! He's all about the bling. Ohh yeah.

This was a pretty big kids run and they were trying to organize the fields by age, but it was a bit like herding cats. It felt like there was a lot of disorganization and it was very difficult to hear the race directors trying to tell people where to line up. My biggest issue with this race was they dangerously put ALL kids running with their parents in the back with the little, little kids running with their parents. They really should have a separate corral for older kids "racing" with their parents and then a final one for little ones fun running with their parents. My 4 year old son seriously almost got ran over several times by bigger kids and adults trying to sprint the 1.2 miles. My husband had to pretty much body shield him and shoulder check a few people so they wouldn't bowl over my son. One more separate corral for the little guys would alleviate all that.

Pros:
- 1.2 mile course aimed mostly at kids. It was a really cute event.
- They color coordinated the kids by their age and sent them out in corrals 5 minutes apart.
- Kids running solo have a matching wrist band that their parent must wear to pick them up in the specially marked parent meet-up at the finish. I liked that added security.
- There's a great kids finishers medal. My son was so proud of his! I swear his medal was bigger than my 5k medal. It was great.
- Kids also receive a size appropriate race t-shirt. I love that they had actual kid sizes for the shirts. He proudly wore his to pre-school the next week.
- They have a whole kids play area at the finish with blow up bouncy houses, slides, face painting and games. This was a lot of fun and a great idea for families waiting around on the adult race finishers.

Cons:
- As stated before, it was pretty dangerous putting the big kids with parents in the same corral as the little kids with parents. They're running for different goals. I hated that my son was getting run over by these bigger folks. Please, please add another corral next year for the younger littles with parents.
- There was a LOT of standing around waiting time as they released the corrals 5 minutes apart. The race started about 10 minutes late and it took almost another 45 minutes for our corral (the last one) to get to the start. That's tough for a 4 year old to stand around, in the cold, and wait that long to run.
- You couldn't hear what the race directors were trying to say. Maybe more speakers around the start would help. Not being able to hear just added to the confusion.
- There was no race morning bib pick-up.

All-in-all it was a really cute, fun event and my son loved it. I think it could be a great event with just a few little tweaks.

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