Jackson Day Road Race 9K

Hello friends!  So I randomly signed up for the 105th Anniversary Jackson Day Road Race 9K – held in New Orleans, LA.  For those of you wondering, a 9K is 5.6 miles.  Don’t worry – I had to look it up myself!

The course for the race was a point-to-point starting at the Old Spanish Fort (Robert E. Lee & Wisner Boulevard) and finishing at Jackson Square, in the heart of the famous New Orleans French Quarter.   The course roughly follows the route that Lafitte’s pirates took in responding to the call of Major General Andrew Jackson for reinforcements preceding the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.

Sounds fun, right?

Post-race activities were at the Steamboat Natchez dock in the French Quarter, overlooking the Mississippi River – and included BEER and KING CAKE!

So how did it go?

49:45 Total (8:46/mile)
#7 of 47 in Age Group (25-29 Female)
#50 of 250 Overall Female
#216 of 572 Overall

I set my alarm for 6:00 AM – left the house by 6:30 AM – and arrived at location around 7:30 AM.  Race day packet pick-up started at 7:30, so my plan was good to go.  You had the option of parking your car at the beginning of the race, and catching a bus back from the finish – or parking your car at the end of the race, and catching the bus back to the start.  Seeing as I didn’t really want to fight the French Quarter traffic after the race, I chose to head straight to City Park and parked RIGHT BY the starting line! 

The Race Day package pick-up was simple and fast – NOTC was very organized.  I then did a very light 1 mile warm-up jog around the neighborhood, waited in line for the port-a-johns, then lined up with the rest of’ ’em!  There was one late bus coming up from the French Quarter…but the wait resulted in only about a 5 minute delay.  We sang the National Anthem, and were off!

Overall: A flat, fast course!  There were volunteers at every mile yelling out the total time.  And every single side road was blocked by the police so that we could have a safe run!  Very efficient.  The first 3 miles of the path runs along the City Park (Wisner Blvd).  Mile 2 is at the top of a small hill (the overpass to I-610)….but as soon as you get to the bottom on the other side, there is a water station.  Mile 3 turns left just after the New Orleans Museum of Art, and follows the river along Moss Street, until it hits Orleans Ave.  There is another water station just after Mile 4.  Mile 5 hits as Orleans Ave. runs into Basin Street.  There is a sharp turn which leads you onto Toulouse St.  I really tried to kick-it once I hit N. Rampart Street, knowing I had less than half a mile left.  You finish in the heart of the French Quarter on the side street along Jackson Square.  The cool-down walk leads you to the Riverwalk, straight onto the loading dock for Steamboat Natchez.

The after-party consisted of music, food, beer, and was within a block of the French Quarter.

This was my first longer-than-5K, less-than-a-half-marathon race…and it was fun!  And it was my first long run where I ran every mile at a sub-9 minute pace! (8:43, 8:52, 8:47, 8:51, 8:57, and the last 0.567 mi at an 8:16 pace).

EDITED 01/20/2012: Video found via Claim Your Journey

Source: New Orleans Track Company | Video courtesy of Louisiana Running Company)

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