Twin Cities – Louisiana Style!

Twin City Marathon and Half Sunday, November 7. Monroe-West Monroe LA

Bullie Bell and I took a trip to the Twin City this weekend. No, it wasn’t Minneapolis-Saint Paul or Dallas-Fort Worth or even Akron-Canton! Those are Twin Cities!It was the Twin City Marathon and Half Marathon in Monroe-West Monroe Louisiana.

A short 1 1/2 hours from our home in Jackson MS, it was the perfect Half for Jennifer to do following her injury from a fall in New Hampshire about 5 weeks ago. This is the 3rd year for the race and Jennifer’s first time to run it. Actually, not wanting to stress the healing injury… I should have said, “she walked it” with a couple of jogs along the way.

Packet Pick Up was in Monroe at the local Fleet Feet, who were very active in this race. Pickup was scheduled for the day before the race but alternate arrangements could be made. We stayed at a Fairfield Inn a few blocks away from the Start. The start and finish were held at the Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe. But first… dinner!

Overall, the course was enjoyable. It was pretty much a three section race thru neighborhoods in West Monroe, across a bridge into Downtown Monroe, and then a return across the bridge and through an industrial area back to the finish.Herons on the Bayou, an art project of Ouachita Parish, along the Ouachita River and various locations in West Monroe and Monroe.

The intersections throughout were well manned. Aid stations were about every two miles. One of them was manned by Key Club students from West Monroe High School dressed in crazy costumes. Bullie really liked the “Fart” sign! One of the students and I had a “Big Gut” face off. These young people were super enthusiastic with all the runners and were having a great time!

Another one had elementary kids that would tell you a joke as they gave you the water. “What do you call a fish without an eye? “FSH” ( get it?? No “i”) Then there was an “adult” stop with Mimosas and Jello Shots.

From miles 5 to 7, we ran along the river (which you could not see because of the flood wall.) However, the concrete barrier was painted with Childrens Art. Very cool!We ran through a part of downtown West Monroe that had been renovated with cute and unique shops and restaurants.

At this point we crossed the River on a drawbridge that was grated on a portion of it. It is always weird to look down and see water. On the Monroe side, we were still in a downtown section with more Heron statues. It was a mile and a half loop around the office section and back across the bridge. The full marathon splits around mile 7 and continues in Monroe back along the River and thru some more residential areas and downtown. It is about a 10 mile run before rejoining the Half marathon course to the finish.

The final part of the race was through an industrial area where the traffic was a bit busier but the police did a great job of traffic control.A unique feature were bikes traveling on the course with water and fruit. I saw one though there could have been more. Nice touch. There was also about five policeman on bicycles that ran the course. They hung together and I think they were having more fun than the runners! Everyone had fun and we met some awesome people!

At the finish there were volunteers waiting to give you a nice medal in the shape of the state of Louisiana. A number of people were hanging around enjoying the pizza, jambalaya and beer. For recovery, they had water, bananas, and such available. Of course, beer at the finish is the highlight of Bullie’s day… mine too for that matter!

Race Director, Amy Keifenheim, and her team of volunteers did a great job for this three year old event! If you are looking for a smaller hometown feeling event, this one fits the bill! I would definitely recommend it!

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