Last weekend I helped to lead the 4:00 finish pace group at the Louisiana Marathon. The marathon was on Sunday, but Saturday was a full day. We started the morning by heading downtown for the Louisiana 5k. I signed up for the 5k kind of last minute purely for the sake of getting the Deja Vu Award, a crawfish tray given for running races on both Saturday and Sunday. We arrived downtown and parked the car a few blocks from the race site and walked to the starting line. I ran into some of my favorite Maniacs at the start line and snagged a few pictures. It was pretty packed for a 5k/10k race the day before the marathon and half, 1,921 runners in the 5k & 544 in the Quarter Marathon (people really wanted that crawfish tray!)
The good thing about this 5k course was it was out and back along the first & last 1.5 miles of the marathon course. A great way to see what’s to come the next day, unfortunately it included hitting a bridge overpass twice. Big climb up then almost immediately turn around and do it again. I’ve run the half marathon here twice and the bridge always seemed easier to handle when it was at mile 1 & 12 rather than at 1 & 2. The weather was great Saturday morning, hanging in the upper 50s and my legs felt good so I thought I would take a chance at picking up an award to start the weekend so I came out of the gate running pretty hard. I slowed my pace some to tackle the bridge climb, hit the turnaround and started to ascend the bridge again. On my way back up the bridge I saw Brooklyn & Lisa coming down heading the other direction.
After a few little rolling hills (again, taking note of those for tomorrow’s marathon) I made a right turn and was staring down the final half mile stretch to the finish line and finished in 22:45. They passed out finisher medals, designed to be similar to the marathon and half medals from the next day.
As it turns out the Male 25-29 Age Division is the most competitive group ever. The top 3 finishers in my age group were 1,2, & 4 overall. However, a 22:45 was quick enough to win the top finisher place for the Military Division. Since joining the Army last year I’ve been lucky enough to be in a couple races that feature an additional division for military members. The award was this really great, heavy bottle opener award with the Louisiana Marathon logo on one side and a combat boot/flag design on the other. A really nice touch on top of a great event. (And a chance to practice my iPhone picture splicing skills, almost had it there)
Finish – 22:45
Overall – 39/1,921
Male – 35/718
Age Division – 5/56