New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon

Marathon #15 is in the bag – I finished the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon in a time of 05:15:05 yesterday.  Here’s a video of me crossing the finishing line.


It was a beautiful day for a marathon – the temperature was 50 degrees and the sky was clear.  There were about 18,000 runners (most for the half marathon) and like most Rock ‘n’ Roll races it was extremely well organized.

This was the inaugural  Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in New Orleans.  The course was great – it was flat, covered a lot of the city, and had some nice long stretches around City Park.  The only downer was there were very few spectators on the course.  Even with all the well known New Orleans spirit they haven’t figured out how to show up in force for an early Sunday morning marathon. 

I was happy with my performance, especially given the symmetry of my finishing time (#15: 05:15:05).  I was a little undertrained and, since this was my first marathon in a year, I didn’t expect to break five hours.  I used an 8:2 run:walk pattern (eight minutes running; two minutes walking) as I’ve been training that way to build up strength in the second half of the marathon.  It definitely paid off as I felt fine through 22 miles.  I never really hit the wall, but I did run out of gas at about 22 and shifted into “one foot in front of the other” mode.

My only scary moment was a fall at about mile 16.  I was stuck with a group of noisy people including a guy wearing headphones that would shouted random things every few minutes.  He graciously thanked every policeman on the course and would follow it up with things like “wake up New Orleans” or “hey hey runners”.  At some point a woman wearing a see through shirt fell in with him and he was screaming and pointing at her, which was a rallying cry for the few male spectators on the side of the course.  I was thinking "all types show up for these things” when I tripped over something and hit the deck.  Quick system check – burning hands and a little blood but no issues on my legs or back.  I got up and put in a quick ten minute mile to put some distance between me and the chaos.  I fortunately never saw them again on the run.

I had three fun company moments (for companies I’m an investor in) during the weekend: Impinj, Zynga, and Lijit.  The race system used Impinj RFID chips, I saw Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga interviewed on Bloomberg yesterday, and this morning I noticed that Lijit is the search engine for the marathon site.


  • "Even with all the well known New Orleans spirit they haven’t figured out how to show up in force for an early Sunday morning marathon. "

    They're still hungover from the Saint's win, Mardi Gras, and the rest of February.

    If you're looking for spirit, come back out for the Red Dress Run in August!

  • Congrats on finishing! Are you still on track to hitting all 50 states before you turn 50?

  • Yup. I'm 44 so I've got to average six a year at this point.

  • Michael Birdsong

    I know this next statement is a personal preference, but I find myself in the vast minority of marathoner participants in having it. I have to say I disagree about the need for crowds at marathons.

    I've finished 30 marathons since 1996 and the only one I've ever run in a major city (Denver). As long as someone is there to meet me at the finish (a.k.a my wife of 20 years), and there is some type of electrolyte drink to chug down, I'm happy.

    My two favorite marathon courses (Steamboat Springs and Big Sur International) have almost NO human spectators on the course. I'm sure there are more cows watching me run these races, but it's the scenery and the hills which keep me happy.

    To each marathoner, their own opinion. After all, they cover 26.2 miles to have the right to state it 🙂

    BTW I LOVE the D-Tag race timers. I've used them in my most recent half and full marathons. Those things can take a bit of a beating too. In my January marathon my D-Tag got unintentionally abused.

    Congrats on finishing. Six marathons in a year is far beyond what I would attempt (Three in 12 months has been my max)


  • Darlene

    Awesome run! New Orleans was my first full(4:18:30) and I agree with all of your comments: great weather, low turnout for the full marathoners, and beautiful route through New Orleans(although the long part around City Park could have used some more spectators). I don't know about a marathon in every state, maybe I'll try to complete the rnr series one day. Good luck!!

  • I like to run both big city races, small town, and “out in the middle of nowhere” races.  They are all different for me and I try to vary it.  However, when I do a big city race (like New Orleans), part of the draw for me is the energy from the city.  New York and Chicago set the standard for this – they are amazing.One big difference is that Amy (my wife) only meets me at the finish in the small ones.  In the big ones, we meet back at the hotel.  Whenever we’ve tried to meet at the finish line in a big city race it’s just a bunch of extra stress.And I totally agree – to each his own!

  • Always in your corner watching and cheering. Nice work. My goal this year is 3, with PR target for Chicago. The other 2 will be "fun runs" with Terry and/or other friends. Let's do one together again.

    BTW: I'm doing 8on/1off this year. Also, I'm going to up my long runs to end around 30 before the taper to help with mile 20+. I really like the on/off method so far (a few months into it), but I am curious if I can really go as fast as I want when it comes to crunch time. We'll see.

  • The list is now on my blog (under the marathon tab).  Pick one – let’s do one together this year.

  • Congrats on #15! Noticed you came across the finish line to Journey. A little 80s music motivates me from time to time, wondering if it is a help on a long multi-hour run or if you are just 'in the zone'.

  • It’s all zone for me.  While this was a Rock n Roll one, I was pretty zoned out in Brad-land the whole way.

  • Michael Birdsong

    I've heard both the Chicago and NYC marathons have amazing crowds, and I have a cousin still on my case to some day come back to the city of my birth and run the Chicago Marathon with him.

    I also understand your opinion that big city races should have a higher number of spectators. The Walt Disney World Marathon and Disneyland Half both have some stretches with huge cheering crowds and they definitely do raise youe spirits while running.

    Of course, I've also heard a fellow runner in Steamboat Springs complain about lack of crowds one year as she said 'This is nothing like the marathon in Cleveland." I replied, "and that is a bad thing…. how?"

    Good luck with recovery and prep for the next 26.2.


  • cynthia

    love the race report – nice job!

  • david

    Good solid effort to get back into the fold, well done and perhaps time to set a goal for the next one???

    I am running my first of the era this weekend – the 6 foot tack in Australia -45km of the Blue Mountains, I also bit the bullet this year and signed up for te North face 100…

    Congratulatios once again…

  • I like to run both big city races, small town, and “out in the middle of nowhere” races. They are all different for me and I try to vary it. However, when I do a big city race (like New Orleans), part of the draw for me is the energy from the city. New York and Chicago set the standard for this – they are amazing.

  • dogeesh

    I have not seen you post much about running lately. Thought I would see if you need some motivation. For me it was helpful to find this guys site. I met him at a linkshare conference probably 5 years ago. He is a doctor who does this himself. It is not cool, very usable etc…but he does a great job of organizing music for specific pace running. Hope it helps you!

  • It's an interesting approach. I commonly see unexceptional views on the subject but yours it's written in a pretty unusual fashion. Surely, I will revisit your website for additional info.

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