Friday, March 23, 2012

CCC10K: The Quest for 500

With a little over two weeks to go before the 2012 Crescent City Classic 10K takes to the streets of New Orleans, local runners are putting the finishing touches on their training for the race. For many, the pounding of the pavement from Jax Brewery to City Park is a social outing with the goal of having fun, but for an elite number of racers, the goal is to obtain the sometimes elusive top-500 finish and procurement of a commemorative Crescent City Classic 10K poster.

In 1993, race organizers started the tradition of awarding a collector’s poster to the top 500 finishers of the race. This prize increased local competition in the event, and provided a badge of honor to those fast few who were able to secure a time worthy of receiving wall art. While the poster has been a race tradition since long before the award process was incepted, the poster is often the driving force behind athletes taking to the streets the Saturday before Easter.

As a runner who has taken part in the Crescent City Classic numerous times, I’ve always thought about the possibility of being able to walk away from the post-race festival grounds the proud owner of a poster. However, with the typical top-500 finish time being somewhere below the 45 minute mark (2011 was an inordinately warm race, having a slightly slower pace with the 500th finisher crossing the line with a gun time of 45:27), I know I am not within grasp of a finish worthy of printing in the Times Picayune on Easter morning. Nonetheless, I admire the poster year after year as a must-have work of local art. It is not uncommon for me to purchase the general issue version of the print to remind me of the race that I’ve run. One thing is for certain though, I know the first time I earn my print on the route of the Crescent City Classic, it’ll be hung on the wall as fast as I can get it framed behind glass.

For those of you looking to finish in the top 500 and avoiding the out-of-pocket cost of this year’s exquisite commemorative print, several tips that I suggest when hitting the streets on race day include making sure you correctly use your race-provided timing chip. You can’t prove you finished in the top-500 without it. Also, make sure your correct mailing address is on your race registration. Posters are mailed out a couple of weeks after the race once results are finalized. And finally, if I see my pace is going to get me close to under 45 minutes, avoid me at all costs. I don’t want to “accidentally” trip you in my quest to move up a couple spots.

Below is a sample of Crescent City Classic 10K posters from recent years, as well as a few from before the top 500 award was implemented. You’ll notice the evolution of the artwork and the elements included evolves with the history of the race and the route it has taken from start to finish. Earlier prints include landmarks of an earlier Uptown route, while more recent prints include scenes of the French Quarter and City Park. The long vertical print to the far right will be the 2012 edition awaiting the top 500 finishers on April 7th this year.

More prints from earlier CCC10K races can be viewed on the CCC10K website by CLICKING HERE.

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