ONLY IN LOUISIANA: Celebrate with a festival after running the Louisiana Marathon

The Louisiana Marathon celebrates its ninth year in downtown Baton Rouge.

Friday kicked off the ninth annual Louisiana Marathon – a unique event that brings thousands of people and booming business to downtown Baton Rouge. And what makes it so unique? Only in Louisiana does a race finish with a festival.

“Because it’s south Louisiana and that’s what we do,” said Heather Sewell Day, the Finish Fest Director at the Louisiana Marathon. “Everything is a party.”

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Marathon.

At the weekend-long party on Jan. 17-19, you race around Baton Rouge in the morning and party at the Finish Fest by the afternoon. It’s about blending culture and healthy living.

“We like to party and we like to eat, we like to drink, but let’s throw some running in there and live a little longer,” added Day. “So we can stay here and do it a little while longer.”  

And that’s why Craig Sweeney, co-founder, started the Louisiana Marathon nearly a decade ago. He wanted a race in the Red Stick to be unlike any other.

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“We’ve been to races where maybe you get a banana, a granola bar, a slice of pizza…” said Sweeney.

So, instead of giving just a banana at his marathon, Sweeney created so much more. Visitors of all ages enjoy live music and local foods. The event brings people from all over the world.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Marathon.

“We have runners coming from Australia, Singapore, and twelve different countries and forty-eight states. Alaska literally signed up yesterday,” said Sweeney. 

 If at any point in the weekend you decide to join the fun, you can go to the Raising Cane’s River Center to shop for merchandise or pick up your Finish Fest tickets.

So, strap on your gear for the weekend or start training for next year. Here’s a map of the full marathon around the city. 


Route map for Louisiana Marathon – Full Marathon by Jonathan Dziuba on

And for your safety this weekend, here are some notes from the Baton Rouge Police:

  • 4th Street, North Blvd, 19th, and Park Blvd are NO PARKING zones. The zones will be properly marked with signage and enforced.
  • No bicycles are permitted on the race course unless properly identified as official race pace bicycles.
  • There will be “sanctioned” drone usage in the downtown area. Drone pilots will be identified with bright reflective vests. Plus, any other drones used around the course are not allowed.
  • The marathon course will intersect with several places of worship throughout the city. Drivers will be permitted to cross intersections as safe openings between runners become available. 

Learn more about the Finish Fest, such as the live musical lineup at And click here to learn how to register for the event.