Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mississippi Blues Marathon... Race Rating (#22)

Tagline: "I just want to feel my fingers and toes!!!"
2010 Mississippi Blues Marathon

Registration Fee: $70 to $80 early ($90 late, $110 at expo). Discount for 50-staters of $10!
Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.8/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.6/5.0

~ This is such a fun, fast, well-organized race! If you're looking for a Mississippi, I would definitely put this on your list! The team though of everything. The course could use some work in entertainment value, but it is pretty fast.

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? The director did a great job on this course, thinking of anything the runners might need. The only changes I would make (if possible) is maybe finding a nicer area to run through? I don't know Jackson, MS too well, so I'm not sure if that's an option-- orrr put more bands on the course! Possibly give discounts or an extra pin/prize with the First Light Marathon for those who complete the "Double."
Event Organization: 4.5/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~5 Miles
Rental Car Required: Most Likely... all hotels in DT Jackson are within walking distance, so if you can get a shuttle from the airport you're ok wihtout a car.
~ Downtown Jackson wouldn't be my first choice for a marathon-- more than a mile in any direction and you're in a dodgier side of town. There also isn't much to do/see around there. However, the race organization made the most of it- securing discounts and pre-race dinners at local restaurants! Also, if you're at a hotel in downtown, you're within walking (or jogging if you're freezing your who-has off) to the race.

The website was great- very organized and provides all the information from times and expo information to GU/water stops on the race. Also, the people (marathon involvement or not) in this city were just SO friendly-- maybe its a southern thing, but I certainly appreciated it.
Race Organization: 5.0/5.0
~ This marathon organizers faced a very unusual winter storm/wind and still did a great job.
First, the marathon starts off with a count down from the Soldier-marathoners completing a "mississippi blues marathon" in Iraq. About 600 soldiers completed this marathon and counted us down for our race via a video recorder. Very neat!
Hammer Gels (which I'm actually starting to enjoy) and water stops were very frequent. Police were at every single turn, guiding us. I was trying to stay warm and that took a lot of concentration, so I"m not sure about the rest stops, but when I needed one to warm my hands in for a bit, I was easily able to find one. Best of all... the tents at the end of the race were heated!!! I can't imagine those heaters were in the original plan-- but the storm forced them to change some plan.
~Post Race Food: (new sub catagory) Amazing selection from donuts to pizza, hot drinks, sandwiches, plus the usual fruit and cookies. Yummm

Course: 3.6/5.0
~ I liked this course. It would definitely be a fast one if it wasn't for the cold. It has a few little blp hills in the bigginging and a few good sized ones at the end and the middle is all graded up and down along main roads. If you like variety, its a great course... just save a little energy to power up those hills at the end. The course was 0.07 longer than a marathon (running the tengents)-- which is pretty good for race standards (usually .1-.2 longer). The only negative thing I have about the course is the view. There are a couple of spots with really nice old southern homes, but most of the time you're running along a main road or in the dodgey down-town area. Also... there were almost no bands on the course!!! Mississippi Blues should have bands! Than again, it was PRETTY cold so I can't blame them for not coming out!
Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ The spectators were VERY nice and scattered throughout the whole race! The water stop people were even better!!! EVERYbody thanked us for coming and running their race! It was really cool. I have to give them a 5.0 for standing out in 6-degree weather for hours just to cheer us on! Funny story-- most of them were in hunting pants-- including the women! One woman showed all kinds of her southern-heritage by wearing camp pants with a fur coat!! haha LOVE IT!
Pace Group: DNA/5.0
~ There were pace groups and it seemed they had plenty out there. But... with the cold NOBODY was sticking to their race plan! The faster pacers were sprinting ahead to get it over with and the slower ones looked to be slowed down by the cold. I'm going to give this one a DNA because its just not fair to rate htem on this.

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ Runners in this race are just like the local people... welcoming and oh so nice! Lots of chatter to keep each other going. When my hands were freezing I had a number of people offer me hand warmers from their own gloves!! I declined, not wanted them to freeze too. This was a big race for 50-staters/maniacs because a lot of people do the double with Alabama as I did. You always know it will be friendly when you can see your old familiar friends!

Expo: 4.8/5.0
~ There was a decent sized expo! I've seen bigger races with a lot smaller expos in the past. You could get anything you needed for running (cold or warm weather). There were some local vendors and a stage with live jazz all day! Also, Bill Rodgers was there to give a speach, run, and meet and great the runners. He was very nice and spent a lot of time with us.

Swag: 4.9/5.0
~T-Shirt: LOVED the t-shirts! They were regular cotten, but they are nice enough to wear casually. They are a dark pre-fade (so cool) with a guitar and the marathon info. I loved it. Great sizes for women too! 4.9!
~Medals: The medal (pic left) was awesome as well! As nice as any of the big races. I would venture to say... I like it almost as much as my Mickey!! 4.7
~ Goodie Bag: The bag itself is one of those light back-pack things and has a really cool design on it! I've been using it as a gym bag. In the bag, you als got your own... harmonica, CD, restaurant discounts, and more! .. +0.1

Extra: There were 2 Mississippi Blues Marathons run this year-- 1 in Jackson, MS and one in Iraq for our soldiers who wanted to participate-- titled "The First Wave". For more info please go here


  1. Great review as always. Besides the weather you had, I totally want to do this one! LOVE the medal! Congrats again on a great run despite the conditions!

  2. I think you need to start posting pics of the shirts as well as the medals!

  3. Great review! The medal is awesome. They don't give those at my small races...250 cap. I don't think there will be medals.

    I'm in for the Greenway Trail Marathon in MD and holding on the B&A Trail the next day. Contacting them on a half option if I need to. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Stephanie,
    I wish I had known you were here. Our local media would have jumped all over your story. Thanks for the kind words about our race. I hope you'll come back when you've finished your quest. Sounds like it won't be long....

    John Noblin
    Race Director
    Mississippi Blues Marathon