Many view running as a way of life. An attitude to accomplish goals as well as a way to respect the body, and mentally keeping strong for life’s daily struggles. Still, there is no reason for this cherished hobby to be a boring struggle. Take a break from the usual cardio workout and join a fun road race right here in Louisiana. Hosting a diversity of landscapes, themes, and courses the boot state always knows how to throw a party after a day of hard work. Here are 9 of the best road races in Louisiana.
This two-day event started at the Mardi Gras Marathon in 1965. Cruising through the historic Lower Garden District and ending beneath the beauty of the oaks in New Orleans City Park, this marathon is not only fun but scenic as well. This year, they’ve added Saturday into the mix with the all-new 5K run with racers still able to join the marathon, half marathon, or 10K on Sunday. Bands are lined up all along the course charging up runners to compete at their finest all while having a great time. In New Orleans, people in costume are certainly welcome for any and all occasions. The Finish Line Festival boasts the biggest acts and then the real party ensues with free-flowing beer. Get down and run at the Humana Rock N’ Roll New Orleans.
This race takes on approximately 2,000 runners each year. It is no surprise as the course runs through the capital of Cajun country, Lafayette, that is littered with historic architecture, sprawling oaks, and tons of rowdy fans there to cheer on runners. There are generally a few events to choose from, including a marathon and half marathon, as well as qualifiers for the Boston Marathon. After the race, enjoy the festivities that this year includes music from the most entertaining man in Zydeco, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band! Some of Lafayette’s freshest, most authentic Cajun and creole cuisine is also available from any of the delicious food vendors. Get a plate, a cool beverage, and experience the culture of Lafayette!
This running festival is sure to be blast. Being held in the capitol city of Baton Rouge, this multi-format race has a course for all levels of racers. Participants can choose from a full, half, or quarter marathon. Other races include a 5K and a kid’s marathon for the younger racers. Being a festival, it is only natural that the races also celebrate food, music, and dancing all weekend long! Local musicians, cuisines, and craft brews all come together for the real Louisiana experience. See the sites of Baton Rouge as racers wind through the downtown area, next to the river on the levee, and through historic Louisiana State University campus as well as the University Lakes. Louisiana Marathon has a route for everyone.
Known in the city simply as The Classic, this race is New Orleans’ premiere 10K race that has been happening ever since 1979. Starting with 902 participants that year, the race has now over 20,000 participants looking for a fun, fit time in the Big Easy every year on Easter weekend. This race is unique as it not only spans historic downtown New Orleans, but in its attraction of all kinds of characters. From elite athletes from around the globe, to participants sipping a cocktail the entire 6.2 mile run, every sort of face can be seen at The Classic. In recent years, it has expanded into a two-day Expo preceding the race, followed by the five different races themselves and a post-race festival, including food, drinks, and local music.
This fast and flat USTAF certified 10k, starts and finishes at Big Island Park in the central Louisiana city of Alexandria. Having started in 1999, this race winds through downtown Alexandria, then into the historic garden district that is littered with stately oaks and beautifully blooming azaleas. Jambalaya and pasta salad are a few of the cuisine items available after the race. Balloon animal, jumpers for kids and a one-mile family run that’s goes along the levee makes this race is great for the entire family!
It isn’t a Louisiana running year without a little Mardi Gras celebration. This three-run event hosts a one-mile fun run, mambo 10K, and mambo 15K. A great way to get your kids interested in health, the Raising Canes Fun Run will award first second and third place prizes accordingly to kids in four different age group brackets. The 10k mambo has been happening since 1999, and now hosts a new route that runs through the downtown area along with the picturesque Garden District. The newest and biggest challenge in this event is the 15K mambo that takes runners on a 9.33 miles course in the same area. After the race, enjoy the fete in Town Square on North Boulevard where craft beer and local restaurants provide the perfect zap to your taste buds after a long day of racing.
The majority of this course is on top of the levee overlooking the Mississippi River on the West Bank side of New Orleans. The Ole Man River hosts around 900 people with a half-marathon along with a 5K that awards cash prizes to the top three male and female finishers along with the first Masters. However, in this race everyone is presented a finishing medal for their efforts in chugging along the Mississippi River.
This scrumptious run goes through the streets of the small town of Abbeville. There is a 5K run for experienced racers as well as a one-mile fun run/walk for those just looking for a relaxing good, yet healthy time. Participants celebrate their finish with a delicious beignet breakfast, which for those who don’t know is basically like a fried French donut with powdered sugar on top! Face painting, live music, and fun jumps are also available for those waiting on loved ones to finish the big race. Though the beignets are free to racers, guests are also able to purchase the delectable little breakfast sweets for just $4. Run, finish, and grub down!
Avery Island will host its annual Jungle Gardens race with three different races to choose from that run through the stunning Jungle Gardens. A 7K Trail run, 5K and one-mile run are available to all participants. Guests are also able to walk or stroll through the gardens at their own convenience if they do not care to run. Being held on the hard pack road that runs through the gardens, which includes a centuries old Buddha, this run has crazy hills and rough terrain that is unique to most runs in the area. Though it makes the run tough, the picturesque landscape and quiet setting make for the perfect day get away. All proceeds got to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a picnic full of entertainment after the race. Home to the Mcilhenny Tabasco Company, guests can explore the factory of the historic spice company. A full day pass is given to all signed–up participants to explore the island.