The Hand Grenade Half Marathon
There are many reasons why people from all walks of life visit the city of New Orleans Louisiana. Food, jazz, daiquiris, Mardi Gras, and a variety of traditions make it the best party town in America. We set up an interview with dedicated Tulane track athlete, John Mouton, had a little Mardi-party fun, and were educated on a more recently established tradition that may make our list of the top 10 most grueling, yet fun, activities we’ve ever heard of: The Hand Grenade Half Marathon.
What is the Hand Grenade half, you ask? Travel down to the French quarter next time you’re in NOLA and pick up a famous Hand Grenade cocktail, which contains gin, grain alcohol, melon liqueur, rum, and vodka. Sounds pretty tasty, right? Now imagine drinking that out of a roughly one foot tall plastic cup, running a half marathon (Thats about 13 miles of cardio and drinking) at full speed through the streets of New Orleans.
Students, athletes, (maybe a few crazy alcoholics), and many others make the trek to New Orleans each year for this event. Participants wake at the crack of dawn, about 9:00 a.m., and gather in front of the Tulane and Loyola University campuses. Participants are given beverages throughout the journey. As they reach the French Quarter, a Hand Grenade is purchased, consumed, and the expedition back to the campuses begins.
This journey seems fit for a madman, and that’s why we weren’t surprised this event occurs in New Orleans, of all places. Local student athletes make it their duty to prove themselves and conquer this quest along with their other teammates.
We sat down with John for a little Q&A to describe his Hand Grenade Half experiences with us, and needles to say, we are proud!
Q1: So, how did you find out about the Hand Grenade half, and what made you decide to do it?
A: The hand grenade half has been a Tulane track and field tradition since since ’08. Every track runner does it.
Q2: How did you prepare for the race? Does the Hand Grenade taste good?
A: We usually pregame at the house and prepare a backpack filled with beers to drink on the run. The hand grenade tastes AWESOME.
Q3: How do you feel physically and emotionally during the race? Is it fun? Do you pace it or are you in it to win it?
A:I feel physically dead but you don’t feel the pain after awhile due to the alcohol. The race is the best event of the year. My favorite day of the year at Tulane. It’s not really a race though. The team usually sticks together. Last year none of us finished because we got too drunk.
…sounds like a success!
Q4: Do you have a special ritual or tradition that you do to help you make it through the race or to give you good luck?
A: I Just drink as much as I can!
Q5: Is there a prize for the race winner? What’s the closest to winning you’ve gotten?
A: The only prize is glory. I won last year because I was the only one amongst my friends to finish. Everyone else was too drunk.
Q6: Can most people hold it down or does the drink come up before you finish? Can you?
A: Most people hold it down. I always hold it down.
Q7: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen happen during the race? Any fun outfits (or lack thereof), slogans, etc.?
A: The race is during Mardi Gras so everyone is out setting up for the parades in the morning…. anything can happen!
Q8: Are you proud you can survive that? Whose the winner out of all of your track mates that participate?
A: I am proud I can survive it because I run the 400m, which is not a distance race. There is usually a different winner every year.
Q9: How do your friends like the race? How do you all celebrate afterword?
A: With naps and/or more drinking!
Q10: Do you recommend people to try it at least once?
A: I think everyone who likes to run and drink should try this event.
Q11: How long does it take for you to start drinking again? It is Mardi Gras after all!
A: We rest up then go out to the parade later that night.
Q12: What’s your favorite memory about the Hand Grenade Half?
A: Each one gets better than the last. I’d say my favorite memory is putting a smile on the faces of the people of New Orleans as I drunkenly run by in my short shorts.
There you have it! The Hand Grenade Half is truly an event to remember. Who doesn’t love a day full of cardio, cocktails, naps, and more cocktails?
The Half looks like an experience that is unforgettable for the students in New Orleans, and if you are ever in the neighborhood, why not give it a shot? You may end up sweaty and a little inebriated, but who doesn’t love the glory of conquering this physical feat? By the way our friend, John, described it, the journey is rough but the memories are worth it!
*We would like to add that Tulane and Loyola University are not directly affiliated with these activities, however the students who attend may participate if of age. We also want to add that these student athletes are all very dedicated to their sports and studies! (Not crazy drunks)!