Most people know that finishing a marathon is nothing to scoff at: 26.2 miles of knee pain and exhaustion, months of training, and hundreds of dollars spent on nutritional supplements, good shoes, and pasta. But have you ever thought about what goes into organizing a marathon? From getting city permits and closing off traffic to making sure the distance is 26.2 and not 26.1 miles long, as well as keeping the route stocked with medical tents, cups of water, and Porta-Potties, putting on any major running event is no easy feat, either. Yet last Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half went off without a hitch.
This year, close to 13,000 people ran or walked in the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll event—the 10th year of the race here in New Orleans—which covers ground along Poydras Street, Saint Charles Avenue, the CBD, the French Quarter, City Park, and Lakeview. Thousands of volunteers, musicians, DJs, and general supporters came out to cheer on runners with a song or a sign—touting such phrases as “You run better than our government does!”—or to pass out goodies along the course, including Gatorade, beer, chocolate, and Jell-O shots. Even the weather decided to cooperate: It was cool, cloudy, and dry—a perfect day for a long run.
Rock ‘n’ Roll gives its participants the red-carpet treatment—quite literally, in fact, with a red carpet spread across the finish line (a most welcome sight after 26.2 or 13.1 miles). And as folks ran, walked, or crawled across the finish this weekend, they were also congratulated with bananas, chocolate milk, Zapp’s Chips, and specially designed New Orleans-centric medals, along with a “finisher fest” that included free beer and live performances from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, among others.
Rock ‘n’ Roll puts on nearly 30 different music-filled races around the world—including many 5k and 10k races if you’re not ready for the big leagues quite yet—so if you missed the race this past weekend, you can always sign up for another upcoming run. Or, registration is already open for Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans 2020, so sign up now for the best rates. Besides, if you’re planning to do the full marathon next year, it’s not too early to start training now.
For more information, photos, or to register for races, go to runrocknroll.com.
Some photos are by the author; others are compliments of Al Bello and Jonathan Bachman, both with Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series