Mississippi Gulf Coast

Running in all 50 states brings you to some places you never even thought to go. Believe it or not Biloxi, Mississippi was actually somewhere I had always wanted to visit. Years ago when I lived in Tampa, I remember constantly seeing commercials for the Beau Rivage Casino that was opening in Biloxi, MS. Well that commercial did it’s job because I have always wanted to stay there. So when I saw that was the hotel for the Mississippi Gulf Coast half marathon, I was sold on that race.

I arrived late on a Friday night and was dealing with the lingering effects of a cold, so I slept in a bit and then left the hotel to pick up my bib and explore. The casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are pretty spread out, The Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock were both located in the heart of Biloxi. The bib pickup was located at the MGM Park which is home to the minor league Biloxi Shuckers. This was located just across the street from the Beau Rivage which is part of MGM Resorts International.

With the race being in December, the weather in Biloxi was a welcome change from the cold December weather of Boston. I enjoyed taking a walk down the street and checking out the sites along the way, with a quick stop in the Hard Rock casino to throw some money in a slot machine. Walking by the Gulf of Mexico had it’s typical calming effects on me, a perfect way to start a weekend.

I decided to have a late lunch as my carb loading meal and found this delicious restaurant called Sal and Mookie’s which specializes in Pizza. It’s a great restaurant to take a large group or family. I opted to sit at the bar which was in a separate room from the main restaurant. The servers were all great and the pizza and beer were delicious, I definitely recommend checking this place out.

The next morning I headed over to MGM Park for the race shuttle to the start of the race which was in Gulfport, MS. The race course was absolutely beautiful, 12 flat miles along the beach and then the last mile went up an on ramp onto a highway with and out and back and then off the highway with a finish in MGM Park.

Being a big baseball fan, I enjoyed finishing inside a baseball stadium, it made up for the hill of the highway ramp during the last mile. They had a great finish line festival with food from local restaurants and of course everyone’s favorite post race treat, beer. I had a pulled pork sandwich that was really delicious.

Some of the things to do in Biloxi include the beach (in warmer weather), the casinos, walking along the gulf, Biloxi lighthouse and for history buffs there’s the civil war era home, Beauvoir to explore. I’d definitely like to come back here in the warmer weather to enjoy the beach a little, I’ve always been a fan of Gulf Coast beaches.

Visiting in December though was a great time to check out the holiday decorations. The Beau Rivage Hotel really went all out on their decorations and they had a fun holiday show in their theater. Gulfport, MS also has the Harbor Lights Winter Festival every December.

I highly recommend a visit to Biloxi and definitely running the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon or Half Marathon to knock off the state of Mississippi. I mean who wouldn’t want to celebrate their race by having some beignets while overlooking this view?

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