If you’re a runner, you’ve no doubt run races. Some races like to attract runners with sayings like “fast and flat course” and then you run it, and its not flat. That was the 2012 Mardi Gras Mambo 10k. Don’t get me wrong it was a great race. Its just that the term flat is relative and for those of us that live south of I-10, the levee is not flat. And I can’t fault the organizers for a headwind the entire last 2 miles. Even with both of these, it was a great race and I was excited about the number of people that showed up.
In years past, the Mambo had been held in different locations but this year it returned downtown to the Atrium and was a first class event. The race started in front of the Atrium and took runners down Nicholson to the LSU campus. After a quick left turn we passed Tiger Stadium, yelled “hey” to mike, ascended Victory Hill and made our way to South Stadium Drive. This stretch seemed to take forever, because I knew the levee, and its headwind were approaching. As course passed the LSU Vet School, it climbed the levee and the fun began. From here a straight shot of a little over 2 miles took the runners back to the Atrium and the finish line.
The state of running in Baton Rouge, and Louisiana as a whole has come a long way even from a few years ago. 1385 runners completed the 10k and from what I understand that is up from 800 ish last year. This combined with the turnout at the Louisiana Marathon has me encouraged that running in Louisiana is getting big and its getting real. Just ask Matt Manning. If you can catch him.
Manning won the race in 32:05 or 5:10 min/mile. That’s stupid fast. I can only imagine what he’d run without the aforementioned hills and headwind. He wasn’t the only one who had a great race. I spoke with several of the citizens of RunLa Nation as well as some others I didn’t know and it seems like everyone set or came close to setting a PR. Serious work was put in at this race and Louisiana looked strong.
I set my goal for under 45 minutes so that I could get into the fast grouping at the Crescent City Classic. I dealt with the hills, cursed the headwind, hated life, spat on myself, almost took a wicked digger, and crossed the finish line in 44:12. I definitely had noodle legs at the end but all the speed work had paid off. I know a lot had to do with then 3 or 4 runners I fell in with at the end on top the levee. We pushed ourselves and made each other go faster and I don’t think I would have gotten sub 45 without them. So if ya’ll are reading this, thank you.
Overall I thought it was a great race with even better people and first class talent was on hand. The great thing about 10k’s is that there’s something for everyone. You can go berserk and get totally cray and run a 32:05, or take you kid for their first race, or reap the rewards of a lifestyle change and recent weight loss. Races like these can really bring the community together and foster relationships that will last a long time. I hope everyone had a great time and continues to Run Louisiana.