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logoTammy Leigh's New Orleans odyssey

Report by Tammy Leigh

New Orleans was great, once I got there. Due to the devastating winter blizzard that Friday that dumped an unprecedented 3 whole friggin inches on Philadelphia, immobilizing the airport and striking fear in even the most stalwart of winter lovers' hearts, I did not leave Philadelphia until 6 pm, a full 7 hours after my original flight was supposed to depart. The connection in Atlanta was scheduled to leave at 10.40 pm., we landed at 10.25, by the time I got off the plane I had a full 8 minutes to get from A terminal to E. Good thing I had my sneakers on, because with that many stops the tram takes too long! I arrived at the gate just as they were completing boarding.

Upon arrival, I wearily got off the plane at midnight, dreading the taxi ride to the hotel since the shuttles had long since stopped running. ~sigh~ as I walked towards the exit I noticed a woman who looked startlingly like my mother holding up a sign 'DeMent' huh? My parents drove down from NJ and were waiting for me ~surprise~!

Race day was great. Only around 1,300 people ran so it was small and the field was light. The first half brought us through the French Quarter, through Bourbon Street where revelers from the night before were hanging in doorways peering at us confusedly through bleary eyes as they pulled on their beer. I suppose they couldn't imagine what all of these people were doing running down the street in the middle of the night even if it was after 7 in the morning. A few of them got it together enough to clap.

We then headed down St. Charles past Tulane U and Loyola out to shady and scenic Audubon Park with its majestic cypress trees covered in hanging moss. Marching bands played as we looped through and back out to St. Charles. Those of us who prefer the trails were savvy enough to run the packed dirt and grass trolley car line, it was nice to run on the earth and I couldn't imagine why only a handful of us took that advantage. Spectators threw the occasional beads, Elvis passed me and complained about the shortage of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and my mom completely missed the photo op of me running by. Somewhere before the half I found Megan and we ran together just past the half, the split was 2:07.

The second half brought us around Lee Circle down Bank Street, where there is still much evidence of flooding, water lines, FEMA markings, boarded up houses and ongoing reconstruction, out to City Park. (I'll leave my environmentalist observations aside but will say the experience of running down Bank Street put the devastation of the hurricane into perspective.) A pit stop at 14 and tight legs around 22 put me behind my goal 4:15 goal by 8 minutes and I was never able to make it up. I finished at 4:23.03. Ok. It's below the 4:30 buffer I had sanctioned, and a full 20 minutes off Philly in November. I'll take it.

It was great to see Wanderers at the end, even if Dan & Sally (whom I never did see) jet-setted off to their next destination a few hours after the race. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, my parents never saw the finish; apparently something really good was playing at the IMAX theater.

The rest of Sunday was spent in recovery which in New Orleans means eating copious amounts of red beans and rice with ridiculous portions of the best fried chicken ever (or sausage), drinking beer, and watching street performers while basking in the lower-70's degree weather. Not only did we get a totally cool fleur-du-lies medal, the people super nice, AND our hotel had free cookies 24/7!

Seriously, anyone looking to set a PR should consider NO. It's flat (below sea level), staffed with h2o/Gatorade/Gu & Vaseline every 2m, and small but well organized.

Event Photos

the start
Tammy Leigh and Megan Boyle at the start.

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The Superdome: Where it all began and ended at the New Orleans Marathon.

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The mansions along St. Charles Avenue were really swell.

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Megan has matters well in control eight miles into the race!

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The street trolleys along St. Charles looked really inviting to the weary Wanderer marathoners!

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The marathon route proceeded through Audobon Park for a few miles.

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This is how St. Charles Avenue looked from the back of the pack.

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Megan and Tammy Leigh are alive and well after the marathon.

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Carnage, who walked and trotted the half marathon, congratulates our marathoning duo.

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No marathon could take place in New Orleans without music.

bourbon street
Bourbon street

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