I had heard of running tours in other cities, so I figured there must be something similar in New Orleans. Thanks to Google I found New Orleans Jogging Tours in seconds, and booked my first tour for a sunny day in February. As someone who likes to stay active, a running tour has always seemed like a brilliant idea to me: see a city while burning calories.

I met tour guide Marcus Reine, a New Orleans native whose family has been in the city since the 1700s, on the corner of Decatur and Barracks streets outside the Old U.S. Mint. There were five of us in the running group, including Reine, one of Reine’s friends and two tourists from Pennsylvania.

The five of us took off around 9 a.m. and in just under two hours, we ran by all of New Orleans’ most famous landmarks. We saw the French Market, the Mississippi River and Jackson Square. In the French Quarter, we ran down Bourbon Street and stopped by the Old Ursuline Convent. We ran to the Garden District along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar tracks and later took a break from running to wander through the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.

While we jogged for most of our journey, we did stop to take photos in front of a few attractions, such as the Mannings’ house, Sandra Bullock’s house and a few other famous spots. There was an element of leisure to the tour. It wasn’t like running with a personal trainer who pushes you to work hard and test yourself; instead, Reine was like a well-informed running buddy who was fine with stopping in front of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s French Quarter compound to snap a photo.

Though the tour had its leisurely moments, it was still a workout. We trekked 6.2 miles from start to finish, and even with the walking and picture-taking breaks I still worked up a sweat. I walked away from the tour with a big blister on my right foot and sore muscles for the next two days.

But even with my minor battle wounds, I enjoyed the tour and Reine’s commentary. While a run through New Orleans is something you can do on your own for free, having a tour guide makes you see things you wouldn’t normally notice. Reine added a personal element to the tour, such as his family’s stories from Hurricane Katrina.

For tourists, a morning with New Orleans Jogging Tours is a great way to learn about the city and to feel a little less guilty about eating those beignets at Café Du Monde later in the day. For locals, the tour is a great way to exercise while learning tidbits about your city. Couch potatoes might want to stick to a walking or bus tour, but I recommend a jogging tour for those who like to go a little faster. 

For more information about New Orleans Jogging Tours, visit NewOrleansJoggingTours.com.