We had our first experience Saturday running with the bulls in New Orleans. It was early (we arrived at 7 a.m.), but it definitely was worth it. Thanks to Cate Root for encouraging us to go.
What we wish we knew before we ran AKA advice for next year:
– The event is free, but $10 gets you a running number and access to the inside venue (AC, chairs, bathrooms, music, pay-as-you-eat food). You are supposed to preregister for a number, but we were able to do it the day of the race. However, you can skip the number, dress up and run for free.
Our awesome souvenir number:
– The runners wear white clothes, with a red banana tied around their neck and a red sash around their waist. The outfits varied. We saw white shirts paired with khakis and jeans. We also saw bullfighter costumes, white dresses, white/red tutus, capes, sombreros, “Where’s Waldo”-style outfits and guys in boxers. The key is to focus on red and white clothing and accessories.
– The race starts at The Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Boulevard), directly across from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center near the Mississippi River in the Warehouse District. We parked in a convention center lot ($10 all day – cash only).
– Everything is cash only at the race so make sure you have cash. There was an ATM cart available but it charged a $5 service fee, on top of whatever your bank charges. Food, drinks and beer are for sale.
– The race is less than a mile (route). We walked the majority of the way and jogged only when “bulls” were around. There were so many people (organizers said 10,000 to 12,000 people), we couldn’t have run the whole thing if we wanted to. The focus is on having fun, not the racing part. We didn’t see anyone trying to haul butt to the end. However, dress appropriately for running (shoes & sports bras) so you can dash if you need to.
– Roller derby girls wear horns and play the role of the bulls. They had plastic, wiffle-type bats that they used to bop the runners on the butt. Most of the taps were playful and didn’t hurt at all. However, some of the rollerbulls were bopping people hard. And, we noticed the bulls went after guys more than women. Antagonize them and you’ll get hit more often and with more force.
– Arrive around 7 a.m. You’ll be able to see everyone’s costumes, take pictures, do your registration and hit up the food trucks. Plus, you can nab a prime spot for the procession of San Fermin (more) at 7:15 a.m.
– The run starts at 8 a.m. We didn’t hear an official start, but we saw everyone else going and joined the crowd. There were cameras everywhere so prepare to smile for the paparazzi. And the rollerbulls were great about posing for pictures with and without runners.
– We were done around 9 a.m. and the street turned into a dance party before the NOPD cleared everyone into the main event space.
Overall, fun event and we’ll be back next year.
NOLA.com did a good Storify post about the event. And here are some more of our photos.
Cool post…. I love NoLa but I hadn’t heard of this event. Sounds like fun!
Josh – it was so much fun! It’s early in the morning, but once we got there, everything was so festive we forgot it wasn’t even 8 yet. Hope you can make it next year.
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