From the moment my wife and I touched down in Baton Rouge, we fell in love with Louisiana, and with the Louisiana Marathon.
My first training run in the city began 100 yards from our hotel, the Belle of Baton Rouge, on the Mississippi River levee. The temperature was perfect, and the 4-mile run took me to legendary Tiger Stadium, on the campus of LSU, and back. 7-minute miles ticked off easily, on the flat, scenic route.
At the race expo, we joined our friends, John Switzer, Darlene and John Harris. John Switzer sponsors the Run and Sea cruise, sailing over the Christmas Holidays this year. We can't wait to set sail, run, and race at exotic ports of call. Check out this fabulous tour at: www.runandsea.com.
Dinner at Chimes, near the campus of LSU, was magnificent. Crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and the best oysters ever! 60 beers on tap, the Voodoo Pale Ale was my personal favorite.
On Saturday, I delivered my seminar, "Make each day your personal best," to an enthusiastic crowd of runners. My wife ran the Cypress 5K. Then it was off to Parrain's for more Cajun delights, and cole slaw, laced with peanuts.
The Louisiana Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday were world-class events. Big-city races, with small-town hospitality. The course was beautiful and the weather was perfect. I managed to run 1:28:00 in the half marathon, good enough to win my age division and place 27th in a field of 1800 runners.
The post-race party was the best I've ever experienced. Cauldrons of homemade jambalaya from local vendors, crawfish-everything, and my favorite, alligator stew. Bands and beer made for a great post-race experience.
Put the Louisiana Marathon on your calendar. It's not as congested as the mega-races, and the organization is superb. You'll experience true southern hospitality, enjoy a fast course, and taste the best Cajun food on the planet.
Oh, and along the way, you'll hear a lot of "Geaux Runners!"