Plans moving forward for January's Louisiana Marathon
BATON ROUGE - Each January, thousands of runners of all ages and abilities descend upon downtown Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Marathon. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, it appears they still could.
"It'll be a little different, but we're getting back to racing which is the exciting thing," race director Jonathan Dziuba said. "It's going to be more of an in and out experience for runners."
Four months ahead of the 2021 running, organizers are encouraging registration while also putting the finishing touches on plans to hold the race safely. The endorsement of local and state leaders is also needed. Dziuba says race organizers have met with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's office and the Louisiana Department of Health.
"LDH has seen it and approved it," Dziuba says of the marathon's plan. "The mayor's office is excited about it."
The biggest change for runners will be at the starting line. Participants will begin the course in waves according to their projected pace, to provide plenty of space.
"We'll start the fastest runners first," Dziuba said. "Then that way, they'll be less overlap and less people passing and exchanging places on the course."
Once across that finish line, there will be no day-long post-race festival to look forward to with music, food, and drinks, as congregating will still be banned.
"When they cross the finish line it's going to be quick high fives, here's your bottle of water, here's your medal, y'all go home," he said.
Typically a 10th anniversary, which the Louisiana Marathon will celebrate in 2021, would involve a big celebration. This year, however, it's just the racing organizers want to focus on. Dziuba says with many people taking to running during quarantine, they want to provide an event for those new to the sport and not.
How many will choose to run is not yet clear, thanks to the pandemic.
"What's challenging and what's difficult is we've had nine years of trend data on registration numbers, and what we can plan for," Dziuba said. "All of that is out the window."
Race spectators will not be encouraged to attend the race and racers will be asked to show up specifically for their start time.
For more details on registration, click here.
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