If you're so inclined, you can run a marathon nearly anywhere.
There are not many places where you can eat beignets and listen to live jazz afterward. The Louisiana Marathon, however, offers participants and spectators a chance to experience the state’s culture and promote a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Many races across the United States incorporate certain aspects of the city or state’s culture. Louisiana Marathon founders Patrick Fellows, Danny Bourgeois and Craig Sweeney wanted to infuse a passion for running with a distinct, unique feel.
“It’s really an event for athletes to inspire the health of Louisiana,” race communications director Erin Rosetti said. “We want it to be the premiere running event in the southeast.”
The Louisiana Marathon, which began in 2012 and has grown into the largest race of its kind in the state, takes runners through all major spots of the capital city, including downtown Baton Rouge, along the university lakes, though LSU’s campus and the river town neighborhoods, further emphasizing various aspects of Baton Rouge culture.
The idea, Rosetti said, is to make this into a weekend-long event — not just a race or two.
To that end, "Rendezvous8" is coinciding with the Louisiana Marathon, adding a second line with a band, the Michael Foster Project, and a live demonstration by Meanwhile at Café Du Monde, where locals tell their own stories about how food has affected their lives. Rendezvous8 will take place at the Raising Cane’s River Center.
Additionally, the Louisiana Street Food Festival will feature a food village with more than 20 local restaurants and caterers providing food and locally brewed craft beers.
“The Louisiana culture at the Rendezvous ( festival) is unique and distinct,” Rosetti said. “And we like to have a little lagniappe.”
That was all part of the plan.
Since it began in 2012, the Louisiana Marathon has grown exponentially from just another running event to one of the top events in the nation. Now in its eighth year, the Louisiana Marathon has since expanded to have runners from all 50 states and more than 32 countries.
More than 2,000 runners are registered for this year’s race.
Two events, Saturday's Louisiana 5K and Sunday's half marathon, are already sold, while the marathon event is steadily becoming more and more competitive.
The Louisiana Marathon is USATF certified and serves as a qualification events for the Boston Marathon, among others.
“It’s a flat and fast course that can help both train or qualify for the Boston Marathon,” Rosetti said.
Des Linden — a two-time Olympian who became first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years last April — will be competing in the Louisiana Half Marathon in preparation for this year's Boston race.
Linden placed sixth in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4.
Linden will congratulate participants at the finish line, and VIPs can meet her at the Finish Festival.
The competitive nature of the event has carried over to Louisiana state offices.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is leading the Healthy Louisiana Challenge, challenging state workers to take part in the Louisiana Marathon to promote healthy living.
Edwards is running the Louisiana 5k him, and more than 200 state employees will take part in various weekend events.
The division with the most participants will receive a custom trophy and bragging rights until the next Louisiana Marathon.
“This aligns with our goal of helping the state of Louisiana and its residents embrace a more active lifestyle to become a healthier, fitter state,” Rosetti said.
660 N. 4th St.
7:51 a.m. National anthem
7:55 a.m. Ainsley's Angels wave start
8 a.m. Louisiana 5K and Quarter Marathon start
10:30 a.m. Kids race start (N. 3rd & North St.)
660 N. 4th St.
6:51 a.m. National anthem
6:55 a.m. Ainsley's Angels wave start
7 a.m. Half marathon and marathon start