On Saturday Bobby and I ran the 35th anniversary of the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans. We woke up early to drive from my parents house into the city.
We weren’t sure how bad the traffic would be with over 20,000 runners so we wanted to get there in plenty of time. We parked at the superdome and headed to Champions Square.
Having the assembly area in Champions Square was a great idea. We were able to use REAL bathrooms instead of port-o-potties which was a HUGE plus. They had free Community Coffee available as well which was a nice perk. After texting back and forth we were able to meet up with Larisa.
The race was to start at 8:00, so we headed to our corral. We had to go up the ramp to the Dome and then down the other side onto Poydras.
We turned the corner on top of the ramp and were greeted with this site:
Good morning New Orleans! So. many. people. Bobby and I were in separate corrals so we said our goodbyes and headed in opposite directions.
I ended up being in the very front of my corral behind the rope. Before I knew it, it was time for the National anthem and we were moving up towards the start.
There were a ton of people on the street ready to run.
Finally it was time for my corral to go up to the starting line. The sun started to rise above the buildings and it was beginning to get warm.
The horn went off and we were on our way. The first mile was the most fun because…well…I felt great, and we were running through the French Quarter. The beginning was SO CROWDED and people were already walking because they started in the wrong corral. I know there is only so much the race can do about this, but it was a little frustrating. The road opened up a bit and I had a little more breathing room.
Café du monde!
After a bit we turned left onto Esplanade. Anyone familiar with running in New Orleans knows how bad the roads are here. I almost rolled my ankles several times and my legs were so wobbly and achy. They had water stops at every mile which was nice, but they weren’t long enough and were super crowded so I passed them up at mile one and two. At mile three, I took a gel so I stopped and grabbed a cup of water. By mile four, the heat was starting to get to me. I stopped and got water again. My face felt very hot and I was tired of starting down at my feet making sure I didn’t roll an ankle. I knew it was just two miles more but it was getting super hot and sunny. I saw two people at different points down on the side of the road with paramedics that had passed out.
There was great entertainment along the way. Several locals were out with water hoses in their front yard, and there were a couple of beer stops people created that were so fun and decorative. A lot of people had on festive costume and I saw a lot of Easter bunnies!
We made it to city park and I knew we were close. I didn’t get any additional water after mile four, I just wanted to keep my momentum and finish. This part of the route is the same as Rock n Roll New Orleans so I was having flashbacks to the three times I have run that race. I hit mile 6 and knew I was close to getting in under an hour (which was my B goal). I saw the finish line in the distance but it seemed like it took forever to get there! I pushed hard and crossed the finish line at 59 minutes flat. I had a fun race but was happy to be done with the heat. Bobby found me and he ran a PR as well, 50:42 and he even had a hurt back and wasn’t sure he could race. I was so proud of him! We made it into the finish fest and got some Jambalaya and drinks and we grabbed our finishers medals.
My favorite thing about New Orleans races is they know how to throw a party. I have run races in many states and ours are by far the best as far as post race partying goes. There was a huge stage with a band playing, free Jambalaya, beer, water, and Gatorade as well as red beans and rice. Everyone was having a great time enjoying the sunshine.
We all chatted for a bit and then Bobby and I decided to head home. His back was hurting, and we had enough of the sun and it was starting to get really crowded.
We had to get in a long line to take a bus back downtown, and finally made it back to the Superdome and our car and headed back to my parents house.
All was quiet at the dome on the way back to the car.
We both took glorious naps when we got back, well deserved after we both PRed (my 4th PR in my 4th race distance this year! 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon)
I was so happy to see some positive changes to this race since the last time I ran it in 2009. The addition of the corrals were nice although they were a bit hectic. Having real bathrooms and Champions Square was great as well. Loved having a medal, and the post race party was way more organized. There were a couple of minor issues like waiting 25 minutes to get on a bus, and a bottle neck at the finish line. They should have pushed the water tables back at the finish, but again minor details. Overall I loved the race and love that it’s a big New Orleans party. It’s a great tradition and had some fabulous additions this year and I so hope that I can run it again next year. I would greatly encourage you to run this if you are looking for a fun 10k that is in a great tourist destination. If anyone has any questions feel free to e mail me!
QOTD: Where is a city you would want to run a race then stay after for a few days and play tourist?