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Who Dat Sparkers Take on the Mardi Gras Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Wow, what an incredible weekend it was spending time in New Orleans with fourteen SparkPeople Members and their friends and family. You cannot even begin to imagine the excitement we were all experiencing as we made our trek from all over the country and Canada to finally have the wonderful opportunity to meet. Trust me when I say this, but it was like coming home to a big family reunion. There was an instant connection we all felt the minute we said our 'hellos'.

SparkPeople members get ready to race

For me, this was an opportunity to see the accomplishments of first time half-marathoners, Beth (AKA COOPSM) and Jill (AKA MOM2ALEX2004) and first time marathoner Tammy (AKA TamTam64) live their dream. We had two members, Dani (AKA Tigger622) and Suezette (AKA Suezette-414) achieve their personal best at the race, while the rest of us enjoyed a beautiful day of racing.

Suezette and Dani proudly show off their Half-marathon medals

This was the first time ever that I have run with so many people that I actually knew. Knowing that we were all out there running a race together made it one of the most memorable experiences in my life.

Having Jackie (AKA MISSJCISRUNNING) come up beside me at mile 5 was so cool. I have never had that happen in my over 75 races I have competed in over the past 4 years. To have someone come up beside you and ask how you are doing was once again an incredible experience. Seeing Sharon (AKA MBSHAZZAR) at the finish line cheering me on was so touching, especially as I was trying to release a back spasm that hit at mile 10.

Five members of the Half-Marathon team

One by one the half-marathoners met in our pre-determined destination family point--of course that was the letter 'S' for SparkPeople. We then all made the mass exodus to the marathon finish line to meet Gail (AKA RHYNIC) and Tammy (AKA TamTam64) as they came in. To stand and cheer on not just our friends, but the hundreds of other runners was just a memory I will hold close to my heart.

Gail and Tammy show off their Marathon medals

Words cannot express all the wonderful times we had. I hope you enjoy viewing the photos. The excitement was one thousand fold of what you see in the photos.

So if you think you may be interested, we are planning our next run for ING Marathon/Half Marathon in Miami on Sunday, January 30, 2011. And if you don't think you are going to be ready, they also have a 5K race on Saturday before the big run--and look at the memories you will be making.

SparkPeople members Janet and Betty

First night in New Orleans

Breakfast at the world renown Brennan's

Would you consider traveling to a destination race if you knew other SparkPeople members were going? Are you inspired by these runners and walkers to come to Miami to take on a 5K, Half-marathon or a Marathon?

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How fun to meet other Spark members. We are starting to have team meetups in Washington State. Report
Awesome job Report
Great job all of you, it shows exercising has to be a drudgery Report
Glad you all had fun. Report
Absolutely fantastic. The last marathon I ran was the Mardi Gras Rock 'n' Roll in 2012. I love NOLA! Report
Looks like great fun! Report
That's great! I want to do something like that Report
I have walked two different half-marathons in my area (northern Ohio) and have signed up for one of them again on May 16, 2010. I really want to walk different ones in different areas, even different states. When I searched online, I had difficulty finding walking half-marathons over 3 hours or found only runners allowed. My last two, I walked around 3.25 hours. I would really appreciate a listing of the ones you have done and will be doing, or a website for walking half-marathons. Congratulations to all of you! Report
I live in Fort Lauderdale and have done the Miami ING four years in a row. I am already registered so maybe I will get to meet some members next year.
Congratulations to all of you who did New Orleans. Report
That's awesome. I wish I had known about it, since it's just a short drive for me. Maybe next time. Report
I think it's amazing that you all got together and did this as a TEAM.....SparkPeople ROCK..!! I would definitely do an event with my SparkFriends.....we all motivate each other.....that's what it's all about..!! Report
You all inspire me! Running a marathon or even a half marathon is too way out there for me, so I researched 5k and will make that my fitness goal. I'm looking forward to participating. Thanks for your brilliant example. Report
Running a 1/2 marathon in Miami sounds like fun, however; I can't attend that. I will be doing the Lincoln, NE 1/2 marathon May 2nd. My first one ever so I am excited and nervous. I hope I can make it! Report
I would! Can a team be set up for these types of running events? Maybe these runs can be combined with SP conventions? Report
How great to see fellow sparkers together in an event---and getting to meet each other!! You all look happy and like you had a great time...Very inspiring...Miami is not in the works for me, but am interested in something here in California! Report
I will definitely be there in Miami if my budget and time allows me!! This is so inspiring, thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. Report
This race was so much fun! It was even more amazing because I was able to meet more of the SPARK community and some very special SPARK Friends - up close and personal. Congratulations to everyone who crossed the finish line! Looking forward to the opportunity to meet many more of my Spark Family in the future. Thank you for the awesome blog, Coach Nancy - you rock! Report
I would most definitely be interested in some distance running with a group. In late April this year I will be running my first half marathon in Nashville. I've always wanted to run a distance race, but never made the time to do it. Now that I'm actually training for it, I love it. Report
How exciting! It is a dream of mine to first run a 5K and then hopefully a half-marathon. I would most definitely plan a trip around a marathon to be part of a Sparkpeople marathon group. Right now it is just a dream, but you all inspire me so much. Report
Great blog Nancy, and great pics. And congratulations to all of you runners, sounds like you had a great time! I'm looking forward to meeting more Sparkers at the Hood to Coast relay in August. Report
Meeting everyone in New Orleans was really a dream come true. Having everyone there for my first marathon made it so very special. I will never forget it! Jackie said it well... Running with friends is PRICELESS!!

Hoping to see everyone again in Miami.

Tammy Report
Nancy that was the best blog ever - you all had a great time and really rocked those races! I was thrilled to be able to read the blog talking about going to the event and now this one talking about meeting the other sparkers and making it happen! what an inspiration! But I do have to say I love the pictures - everyone looks great and so very happy to be together! Thanks so much for sharing! Report
Great Blog Nancy! Awesome pictures! I loved meeting everyone and looking forward to the next!!

Woo Hoo!! The next Spark Run is in Miami!! Woo Hoo! Report
Congrats to you all. I don't travel much out of state and I really don't like Florida's weather anytime of year (I have been there b/4, have family who live there). I think anyone who runs is doing a great job. I will never be a runner but always a fast walker so I hope you have something here in sunny S.CA sometime soon. Report
Having had the privilege of meeting and running with other Sparkers at many events in the past year I can definitively say this is one of the best feelings I know!! To be fit, to be active, to be surrounded by Sparkers... what could be better??

I will miss you all in the upcoming year+ that I'm recuperating... if I knew I'd be walking by Jan. I'd sign up for Miami in a heartbeat - the medal from that Marathon is one of the nicest I've ever seen!!

Thanks Nancy for capturing the excitement so well! Report
Awesome recap; as have been the other runners blogs.

I hope that I can meet up with you all next year in Miami. I love seeing my Sparkfriends and miss you all. Report
What an awesome time for everyone. That would have been great.

Way to go! Report
Hoorah for you guys! What a blast! I would definitely like to go on a marathon and half-marathon run with SparkPeople!

misspattym Report
What a fabulous get together. I am starting to train for a Tri in Sept. I think it will motivate me. I am going to start with a few 5K's, 10K's and whatever else I can do to help me! I look forward to meeting Sparkers.... Report
I am in the process of applying to grad school in Florida. I am actually going for my interview on March 17th so if I am accepted, I will be living in Fort Lauderdale by this summer. I would DEFINITELY be interested in meeting up with some fellow sparkers to do a race. I am currently training for a 5K but maybe I'll be on my way to half marathon by then. Either way this is extremely motivating and exciting! Report
It was a GREAT weekend! Report
Wow, Nancy, thanks for putting into words what was in my heart! This was the best weekend ever! I am so lucky to call you ladies my FRIENDS! Once we have a final tally on the ING Miami participants, I will contact the race organizers and see if we can get some press for Sparkpeople!! Report
Since I'm currently unemployed, a destination race isn't in the cards right now. Once I'm working, I'd love to do a race with Sparkers. Nancy, the time limit for the Seattle Rock N' Roll is 4 hours for the half and 7 hours for the full - whether you're walking or running. The interesting technicality is that the time limit is from when the last corral starts, not from when you start. So, if you're not in the last corral you've got a little cushion. I'll be walking my first full in June! Report
It really looks like you all had the time of your lives!!! I'm going to try very hard to make it to Miami (I'd better sign up soon before all the Spark People fill up the race)!!

Just a thought...New Orleans and Miami are so close geographically (relatively speaking)...what about a west coast destination race for 2012?? There are a ton of great ones! Report
Way to go ladies!

And yes, I would go to a destination race. Sounds like fun to me! Report
Way to go, Sparkers! Nice story and the pics are pretty cool too!

Congrats to all of you for running this race...you're just awesome!!!!! Report
How cool! What a great opportunity to spread the Spark. Report
omg I miss living there!! sob sob sob - you guys look amazing! GREAT JOB!!!!!!!! Report
I think this is just the coolest thing ever! I am so proud of your accomplishments! This sure has me thinking.... Report
Wish I could of been there. Maybe next time. Gald you all have fun. Report
Way to go! This looked like a fun trip. You gals are awesome. Report
With all this publicity I better register for Miami before it fills up...LOL!!! I was having trouble putting this weekend into word but you captured it beautifully!!! I can't wait to meet some more fabulous Sparkpeople in Oregon for Hood to Coast in August, Athens in October, Vegas in December and then the reunion in Miami in January!!! If my legs hold up, you may see me at Disney in Spetember!! Running with friends...priceless!!!! Report
I've just started running but I would TOTALLY travel to do a marathon or a half once I build myself up to that level. Especially if it's some place I've always wanted to go like New Orleans! Great job everyone! Report
Great Blog and an awesome idea - getting together with fellow Sparkers to run a race. I'd love to do this sometime in the future. Any chance Spark People could start a travel service (or line up discounts with hotels/airlines/trains) to help keep the cost down? Sounds like that is the only thing keeping even more folks from doing this. Report
You all look great! I would definately love to find other 'Spark People" at upcoming races. What fun! Especially destination ones - I am signed up for Lake Tahoe in September and am planning of Rock and Roll Las Vegas - I am tempted by the Miami race next January - you look like you all were having SO much fun!!! Report
Congratulations to all of the runners. You Rock!! I would definitely travel to a race site to meet other Spark members. Hmmmmm January in Miami . . . sounds possible. Report
I've done Miami twice, Great Times... Report
I've done Miami twice, Great Times... Report
It sound like so much fun. I want in when you go to Miami next year! Please keep me posted.
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