January 27, 2022

Running Towards a Healthier Louisiana

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Culture runs deep throughout Louisiana and makes our home state one of most distinct in the country. Everywhere you turn, there is something new to eat, a festival to celebrate, music to keep your toes tapping, and beautiful architecture to take in. FRESHJUNKIE Racing (FJR) capitalized on this love and showcases it by way of unique racecourses that traverse the state’s lush landscapes and historic neighborhoods, culminating in finish lines that feature good food, live music, and a celebration like no other.

 

Created by athletes for athletes, FJR hosts world-class road racing events and triathlons, right here in Louisiana, welcoming crowds from across the globe to experience this place we call home. And while Louisiana culture is something the FRESHJUNKIE team works to showcase, it’s also what the group hopes to change by inspiring citizens to lead a more active lifestyle.  

 

FJR produces 18 endurance events each year, 14 located in Louisiana and four along the Gulf Coast. Their approach is to create unmatched experiences for participants, accomplished through exhaustive preparation and comprehensive execution, making sure that no detail is overlooked. From initial planning, permitting, and overall event operations the FJR team works to ensure that their events that are truly one-of-a-kind, each equally unique and reflective of the culture of the host region.

“Going from just loving running to making running your business was a big leap for us,” says Patrick O’Brien, FRESHJUNKIE Racing Race Director. “We realized we knew what runners wanted at their events and being able to bring events that people would recognize and return to year after year is something we strove for initially.”

 

FJR’s biggest event is the Louisiana Marathon, a USAT&F Certified course (LA16002TY) and official Boston Qualifier route. Now in its 11th year, the marathon pulls in up to 7,000 thousand runners annually from over 44 states, and as far away as Denmark. This two-day event provides an engagement opportunity for individuals of varying athletic abilities with a full marathon (26.2 miles), a half marathon (13.1 miles), a quarter marathon (6.55 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles), and kids fun run (1 mile). The weekend-long festival provides participants an opportunity to experience Louisiana and the ways we celebrate success.

 

“By creating these experiences that are more than just a running event, we feel like we are breaking some of those barriers to making sure everyone feels welcomed and part of this.”

 

FJR events seek to include everyone, no matter if you’re an avid runner or just starting out. Their goal is to get people moving and on track to a more active lifestyle. Research has shown that exercise, even a small amount, at any age, is beneficial to overall health. Consistent exercise and active movement can help boost cardiovascular and mental health, respiratory function, immune response, and metabolism.

 

And improved wellbeing doesn’t mean giving up your favorite things. Rather, it simply means making smarter choices so that they can be enjoyed even longer. By making healthier choices and leading an active lifestyle, individuals can improve energy levels and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. According to the recent report by the Louisiana Department of Health, the state ranks 47th in percentage of obese adults, marking 1 in 4 adults as overweight or obese. This health concern is directly linked to the elevated number of citizens battling heart disease and diabetes.

 

The answer to Louisiana’s health crisis? The FJR team says the answer is simple – get moving!

 

“We knew that there was a possibility that we could start creating a generational shift in what families were seeing as Louisiana culture and how healthy and active living could be a part of that,” says O’Brien. “It’s a difficult battle, but I think if we approach it from a standpoint of understanding that it doesn’t have to be everything you do, but a part of what you do, that will help move that needle toward a healthier state.”

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