Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CCC10K: It's a Classic

Every New Orleanian knows that 40 days after Mardi Gras is Easter Sunday. Ok, maybe that’s just the Catholics, those of us that attended a high school with “Archbishop” as the first word in its name, and the few that give up drinking as a sign of solidarity for their Catholic brethren (and for the chance to dry out post-Fat Tuesday).

What fewer locals realize is what always happens 39 days after the debauchery ends. The astute readers of this blog realize that this is a running website and know what I am referring to is the Crescent City Classic 10K. For the rest of you, it’s probably not something that’s on your radar until street closure signs go up the day before the race; however, I’m here to tell you it’s not too late to make it part of the finale to your annual Lenten fast.

The Crescent City Classic 10K is the premier road race that happens annually on the Saturday of Easter weekend. Thanks to a very flat and fast course, the time of year it occurs, and the cash prize for the winner, the race attracts some of the finest elite athletes to grace the streets of any race in the country.

Local runners look forward to this race to cap off the running season in New Orleans, as it usually is the last race of the Spring (aka tolerable weather), and tourists from around the country come in to participate in what is sure to be a great race-cation experience. Locals who may not be as competitive with their pace and endurance use this event as a social gathering to get out and enjoy the scenic urban course and post race festival on the grounds of City Park. It’s not uncommon to see the back of the pack have strollers, wagons, costumes, and beer kegs on wheels taking the 6.2 mile trek from the French Quarter to City Park.

If you are ready to be a part of the 20,000+ participants who have hit the streets in previous years, it’s not too late to take your time and finish successfully. For those of us who have a fitness base and want to get 10K ready, here’s a quick 4 week plan (Courtesy of Running World Magazine) to get you off the couch and to Tad Gormley Stadium on April 7th. We’re already a few days behind on this schedule, but make the decision now to get on track!

Once you have made the commitment to take part in this amazing race (I have personally run it nearly a dozen times), check out the official race site where you can register online. With a very reasonable registration fee, you get your personal race number (bib), an official race t-shirt that features great local art, plus admission to a post race festival that showcases local music, free food and beer.

For someone who hasn’t participated in an organized race, this is the perfect opportunity to get your start in the New Orleans running community and see what it’s all about. The social and non-competitive atmosphere (aside from those toeing the line and running 10K in half an hour flat) will get your feet wet and let you see that there is a place for everyone on the streets of the Crescent City. For those of you with a goal time in mind, and want to get your hands on the collector’s poster given to the first 500 finishers (more on that to come), it will once again be your annual challenge. I think the best way to sum up the race is to use its own self descriptor: It’s a Classic.

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