Sunday, February 4, 2001

Mardi Gras Marathon (Louisiana)

February 4, 2001
Marathon 14, State #8 (Age 32)
New Orleans, Louisiana

I'm writing this several years after the race, so my info is as I remember it.  I traveled to this event with my friend Bob Hendershot.  It was my first trip to New Orleans, and what a different world this place seems to be!  We did not rent a car and took taxi's to and from the airport.  The Radisson is a great hotel, close to expo, start/finish line, and Bourbon St.  We arrived Friday night for a Sunday race.  Saturday we visited the expo and walked along Bourbon St.  I found a Sun Glass Hut because I had forgot mine and bought my first M-Frame from Oki, still use several years later!

We discovered K-Pauls which was recommended to us before we left for our trip.  I'm certain there are many great places to eat, but this is a must stop place for lunch or dinner!  Everything is packed for dinner, so seek a table early!  For dinner we found an Italian restaurant on the corner of a street that intersected on Bourbon St.  We ended up being seated on a balcony and could overlook some of the chaos.

Sunday morning I was not surprised, but found many people still stumbling in from the night before.  They were obviously not running the marathon!  I loved the course and lived up to it's reputation - fast!  The only hill were the overpasses which we only crossed one or two.  The sights including many mansions were all beautiful!  It was very exciting crossing the finish line in the Superdome.  I do remember lots of great snacks after the race including post race massage.

Sunday night was also a blast.  After cleaning up from the race we took a trolley to a side street and found a out of the way restaurant/deli.  For dinner we had to experience some Cajun cooking so headed back to Bourbon street to experience a very lively Sunday night crowd and some fabulous food!

New Orleans pops like a firecraker - always explosive, fiery, flashy, illicit, and just this side of dangerous.  Hence the appeal.  The city's cultural melange provides much of the powder and the spark for the brilliant show, most notoriously exemplified by that brazen February rite known as Mardi Gras.  Taking its name from the crazy festival, the Mardi Gras Marathon passes through the site of the festival's madness - the French Quarter - and many other New Orleans attractions including Bayou St. John and Esplande Avenue.  Nearly doubling in size in the last two years, Mardi Gras is growing into one of the most popular marathons in the south.  [Craythorn and Hanna]

No hills! New Orleans is below sea level and sinking more each year. Except for one small overpass (mile 5 and 9) it's flat and fast. This magnificent route takes you thru many of New Orleans most famous scenic and historic neighborhoods including the French Quarter, Esplanade Ridge, Bayou St. John, City Park, Mid City, Garden District, Uptown, Audubon Park. The thrilling finish line is inside the Louisiana Superdome. There course has no potholes, just blemishes to the pavement that cause one to slow down and thus further enjoy the historic scenery.

Runners find spectators scattered in the many residential communities along the route.  Over 16 fluid stations are located throughout the course courtesy of Gatorade. Stations placed about 1-1/2 to 2 miles apart for the first half of the course and every mile on the last half of the course. Portable toilets will be available at each station. Gu Gel will be available on course. Every mile will have a highly visible sign and personnel will be on course to call out split times at each. Ambulance units positioned on the course in numerous locations and at the finish line.


Custom medallions presented to all marathon finishers at the finish line. Award divisions: 1st, 2nd, 3rd overall, 1st masters, 1st grand masters (presented in Superdome). Age Groups: 1st, 2nd, 3rd ages 19-under thru 75 and over, 5 year increments (age group awards are mailed).

Custom medallions presented to all half-marathon finishers at the finish line. Award divisions: 1st overall, 1st masters, 1st grand masters (presented in Superdome). Age Groups: same divisions as marathon (age group awards are mailed).

Custom medallions presented to all 5K finishers.

Browse the expo and pick up your race packet

    Homewood Suites New Orleans 901 Poydras Street. Telephone: 504-581-5599.
    Radisson Hotel New Orleans On Canal Street. Telephone: 504-522-4500 or 800-333-3333.
    Valentino New Orleans Hotels Telephone: 800-366-2743.

We stayed at the Radisson which was walking distance to the Expo, Race Start/Finish, and Bourbon St.  Be prepared for drunks strolling in at all hours including the morning as you leave the hotel for the race!

Brian's top 10 list of things to do while in New Orleans: (excluding of course Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest)
1.  Spend 1 more day than you normally spend for a weekend marathon.  There is so much to see.  (I would fly out Thursday and fly home Monday)

2.  Eat Lunch at K-Pauls  this is really busy, little pricy, but worth every penny.  There WILL be a line out the door no matter what day or time you show, but easier to get in for lunch compared to dinner.  I've been 2x, if only the two of you there's a chance you can get a seat at the bar and avoid the line!  (in the French Quarters)

3.  Ride the Trolley

4.  Go to Bourbon Street (go during day to check out shops, go back at night to experience the night life)

5.  Even if you're not a drinker, you MUST visit Pat O'Briens and you must have MORE than 1 Hurricane (a hurricane anywhere else does not compare - really!, also they're not cheap but worth it, don't forget to tip your bartender)

6.  Go to the Flea Market in the French Quarters

7.  See a Creole Band Live (on Bourbon Street)

8.  Beware of cross dressers (remember guys always have adam's apples!)

9.  Check out a cansino (this is optional)

10.  Have a Blast!


The Louisiana Superdome, 1500 Sugar Bowl Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana. Guide to New Orleans One Stop Information Guide  Visitor's Bureau  Official Tourism Website