The 34th running of the Crescent City Classic was my first 10k road race. I decided to give this race/distance a try because the registration was $25, it was held up the road in my one of my favorite running cities New Orleans, the event had been named one of the top 10ks in the nation, several of my running friends were running it, and … the registration was $25.
It was an interesting experience. This race is huge. Over 20,000 people. The pre-race line up was so New Orleans – i.e. a dangerous number of people crammed together in a party mood, here for a good time, food, ample drink, and bumping music.
The first mile, it felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I was in marathon recovery and hadn’t done any substantial running in over a month. That combined with the natural adrenaline spike at the start of a race and the 80 degrees plus New Orleans humidity heat got to me. The biggest contributor to my angst was the dodge and weave needed to make it safely to mile 2. This race did not have a wave start, clearly defined corrals, or sufficient volunteers to inform of or help enforce race guidelines. Picture 20,000+ people being told “Ready-Set- Go!” all at once. It was crazy! I was almost tagged 7 times in the first 5 minutes. The most memorable near miss was by a preteen girl – riding a BICYCLE in the middle of the runners. Crazy!
About a third into the race, the flow became somewhat manageable but you still had to watch out to avoid hitting people. I was not running well or enjoying it. I was HOT and without music, so unfortunately, my focus was on the road, sweat and my surroundings and it was hard to escape into the quiet praise time I look forward to on runs.
Race support was good. The water stations at every mile were efficient and for those so inclined, around mile 3 there was a donut/beer/margarita shot station at a fire truck with sirens blazing. I didn’t see any cheer teams or much other organized support along the route but the New Orleans residents did their thing. Mid race, there was a little lady in her front yard with a garden hose spraying us down as we passed – I could have kissed her. Another nice boost came from a ground shaker boom boom car parked on side the road blasting 70s R&B.
The race finished in City Park and the beautiful tree lined last mile was my favorite part of the run. I finished in 1:07:24, about a third into the total number of finishers, so there were a gazillion people crossing around me. The line through the finisher photo and water/Gatorade stations into the post race party and festival was well staffed and moved very quickly. The festival band was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the eats (oranges, CheeWees, red beans and rice etc).
As always it was wonderful hanging with the ladies from Black Girls RUN! (Baton Rouge and New Orleans). I love these ladies!
Outside of the race, I enjoyed the fellowship with running buddies and roomies Kristina Darville and Cheryl Richard and am glad I got to root Cheryl on in her very first race.
While waiting in line to ride the shuttle back to the start, Kristina commented that there was no medal. BOOOOOOO!!!!! I had to remind myself, registration was only $25, we got a nice t-shirt, the expo and festival were nice… and registration was only $25. Nonetheless, if I run more than 1 hour, I
need-a-medal! Going forward, I will double check the bling before registering for a race.
BazuSports (the timing chip company) was on it. Searchable race results were online a few hours after the race and MarathonFoto had pictures up the next day. Kudos on such a fast turnaround.
All in all, I enjoyed the Crescent City Classic weekend experience.
I did not run a good time, but I had a good time. In spite of the crowd and ridiculous race start, I plan to do the Crescent City Classic again.
Re my “Run over an hour, I-need-a-medal” rule – looks like I’ve got to knock at least 7 ½ mins off my time.