BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The legendary finish line of the Boston Marathon is coveted by runners around the world. A team of 25 runners from the State of Louisiana reached that milestone Monday afternoon.
Varsity Sports, a shoe shop on Perkins Rd., doubled as a training hub for local runners. "There's not just a couple of people out here running in Baton Rouge," said runner Joseph St. Cyr. "It's a community. We like to work together, we like to come together, and eat and hang out. It's just, it's awesome, it's a great community."
St. Cyr is a former LSU runner that's set to graduate this year. He watched his friend, Ben Maas, finish the race in 3 hours and 2 minutes, the fastest man from Louisiana. St. Cyr now says he's inspired to take on the race himself.
"I ran with Ben about a week and a half ago. It was his last big run before Boston," said St. Cyr. "And it's cool to see someone that I train with go out and do such good things, and it makes me, I've never run Boston, but it makes me wanna' get out there and run Boston."
St. Cyr and other runners held a viewing party Monday afternoon at Varsity Sports. Among those cheering the runners on was Jessica Jones. She completed the race in 2012, finishing in 3 hours and 26 minutes.
"It was a really great experience. I mean, you hear everyone tell you to take it all in," Jones said. "And that's exactly what I went there to do."
Local runners say this team's success is a testament to a growing culture. They say sometimes it's tough to get more people involved due to Louisiana's hot and humid weather, but many runners believe the sport is getting more popular as time goes by, which could lead to more athletes in high-profile races.
"It's not like we're up there with the best runners in the world, and you know, we don't have sort of that prestige where all the top down, super elite runners come and train, but there's a lot of people that really like running here," said St. Cyr.
"I think Louisiana does not get enough credit," Jones said. "But the running community here is great. Everyone supports each other and everyone's excited when Louisiana is doing well."