Overview & Background
OK, I will make this as quick as possible as Mardi Gras Madness is a community race supporting a great cause in Students Off And Running (SOAR), in fact, I am not even going to give this race rating since that would be like giving a Yelp review to a local girl scout troop. I will have some feedback where I saw a few things that could use a tweak to make it a little better but that is about it.
Now some people may think that a charity that supports at-risk youth with a running program is a lesser cause than one that would feed, shelter or help with education. While I understand this logic, I challenge you to look at it a different way. This program teaches at-risk youth about aspects of life that many ordinary people go through their entire life never learning. First and foremost, is that if you want something it take persistence and hard work. There is a reason that more people have PHDs than have finished a marathon. So imagine now a youth that feels like life’s deck is stacked against them, but they are in the .5% of the population that has the drive to finish a marathon. What does that for their life?
There are about 570 marathons held in the United States every year and approximately 0.5% of the US population has run a marathon*
Pre Race & Course
The marketing for this event is an eclectic throwback, the race’s marketing is rocking animated clipart gifs. So it might be a turn off for some and I think that is to your own loss. The race overall is well organized, it is very clear that this is a race put on by people that are passionate about running.
Race pickup was painless. The race swag bag which seems to be a thing that is becoming less common was quite good. There were 2 full sized race branded beef jerky pouches, my kiddo literally tried to snatch it out of my hand.
Parking and Bathroom were both good. The only thing I would have liked to see the race protect the starting line, many races try to keep the faster runners in the front so they aren’t spending the first 1/4 mile weaving in and out of slower runners. Since a runner’s time doesn’t start till their chip goes across the sensor it doesn’t really matter when a person starts. More advanced runners will “jockey” off each other allowing the lead runner to set the pace and do the mental work.
This brings me to another suggestion of staggering the starts by having the 10k start 15-20 minutes before the 5k. This would not extend the race time and would allow runners in their given race to “jockey” off each other. In this race I didn’t know who was running the 5k or 10k so I didn’t really know who to pace with so many of the guys who took off past me ended up being in the 10k, so by the time I figured out who was in the 5k and 10k, I was luckily in a good enough position at the split to finish 3rd overall, but at that point it was very tough for me to be able to make a move up the ranks.
The Atmosphere, Post Race & Overall
The overall vibe and atmosphere were great! I got to make some connections with other runners. I am a little bias here but it would have been nice to do more for the overall finishers of the race. They did give out place trophies for the different teams but only gave a trophy to the first place overall finishers which seems a little backward to me.
In the end, this was a great community race supporting a great cause and I am very proud to have been a part of it.