Monday, October 29, 2012

The Jazz Half Marathon: The 2012 Recap

There are several races that I’ve participated in during every year of their existence, and even more that I’ve participated in both before and after major transformations (Crescent City Classic 10K, for example). The Jazz Half Marathon is a race that’s been on my calendar since its inception, and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow and evolve.

In past years, the Jazz Half Marathon has faced challenges with street construction altering the route unexpectedly, and this year was no different. Thanks to the ever-in-disrepair New Orleans roadways, a route change needed to be made. However, race officials learned from previous experiences that early action was needed, and they took it accordingly. A brief detour through the CBD was announced in advance of race day and the distance at the end of the race didn’t fall short of half marathon length.

As usual, the race was really well executed and a pleasure to participate in. Packet pickup at the sponsoring downtown Rouses location was quick, the start for both the half and 5K races were well organized, the traditional course through the CBD and out and back on St. Charles Avenue that I always wax poetic about did not disappoint, the finish line provided great entertainment and food, and proceeds from the event supported the Cancer Program at Children’s Hospital.

This was my first half of the marathon season, and I didn’t have high expectations for my performance. My half PR was on this course in 2011, but I knew I was nowhere near ready to surpass that benchmark. I also was running with my coworker, a first-time half marathoner, and stayed with her for the first 5 miles of the race. She eventually urged me to leave her (and we know when someone insists you do so, there’s a reason), and I met her at the finish line. I was quite pleased with my nearly 1:53 finish, and even more pleased that my coworker was happy with her performance and was ready to sign up for another race. Indoctrination was a success!

As is also tradition with this race, I made a beeline for a specific sponsor’s post-race festival tent to see what they were offering in way of refreshment. Blue Bell Creameries always supplies ample amounts of fudge ice cream bars to finishers, and I made sure to seek them out. The “one per person” does not apply to me when it comes to Blue Bell, especially after running 13 miles. Yes, I had two. Sue me. When a company has a slogan stating “Eat what we can, and sell the rest,” I’m happy to do my part to oblige.

The 2012 installment of the Jazz Half fell on October 27th, which of course falls on the Saturday of many activities that also distract many a New Orleanian’s attention. We have Halloween festivities of course, but there’s also Voodoo Fest in City Park and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. I’ve attempted to run both the Jazz Half and Marine Corps marathon in the same weekend on back-to-back days, and that made for a whirlwind trip. In 2013, the Jazz Half Marathon will be moved up a couple weekends to Saturday, October 12th. While I’m liking the lack of conflict with other New Orleans events, the weather makes me nervous (will we still be waiting for that first New Orleans cold snap?). Either way, I’ll be there for the 5th anniversary. Will you join me?


  1. I have not run Jazz Half before but I am considering it since they moved the date for 2013. I would certainly hope that its not blazing hot still. I was looking for a review of this race and your ice cream review almost has me sold lol. I had ice Cream after the Louisiana Half in 2013 and wondered to myself that why isn't ice cream available after every race? It should be the new chocolate milk recovery mandate lol!! So I may be joining you for the 5th. Jazz Half didn't offer a discount during National Running Day unfortunately BUT to run for there charity is only a $250 donation and they reimburse your race entry so I am considering... Is that one I can drive in for that morning or is it suggested to stay the night before like RNR NOLA? Thanks!

    1. I really do think the temps for 2013 will be fine, Nicole. If you're training for it properly, the weeks would take you through at least August and September heat. But the time October rolls around, you'd easily be acclimated. As long as the temps aren't too hot to keep the Blue Bell frozen, we'll be fine. I would think that you could totally drive in the morning of the race. I have never had problems finding parking near the start within an hour of the gun. I'm not sure if they have morning-of packet pickup, but the race organizers are great and I'm sure would make accommodations to let you have someone pick up your number for you. Hope to see you this year!