Monday, June 10, 2013

CCC Bridge Run: The 2013 Recap

There are a few iconic symbols that define the New Orleans skyline. Obviously the Mercedes Benz Louisiana Superdome is the first structure that comes to mind, but a close second are the unmistakable double arches of the Crescent City Connection Bridge that span the Mighty Mississippi. This is the site that annually hosts the mid-summer CCC Bridge Run four miler that occurred the evening of Saturday, June 8th.

For the second consecutive year, I signed up for the race the week prior to the event date. It had been my long term plan to participate, but procrastination always gets the best of me. As I did in 2012, I parked at a friend's house in the Warehouse District of Downtown New Orleans not far from where the race concluded. My marathon training plan recommended a six mile run for Saturday, so I ran the mile to the shuttle buses that were to take runners across the river to the start line. Boarding buses was quick and easy with plenty of shuttles coming every few minutes. Less than ten minutes after boarding the bus, we were being dropped off within sight of the starting line, packet pickup, ample water, and a makeshift staging area in the mall parking lot. It was super organized, registration was simple, and it was easy to grab a number and meet up with friends and coworkers who had all signed up for the race.

The hour before the race that I had to waste waiting for the starting gun was well spent catching up with fellow runners and hydrating in anticipation of the wet heat that awaited us during the run. There were many faces in the crowd that I recognized, both from running and non-running circles. I could tell that this race has become a social event for young professionals who are enticed by the unique route across a major city landmark. It was really exciting to see people there breathing life in to this great event.

The starting gun fired shortly after the scheduled 6pm start time. There was a minor bus breakdown causing a brief delay, but runners were kept informed of the progress and not held up long. Roughly the first mile of the course is flat and takes runners around a mall parking lot, through a neighborhood leading to the bridge on-ramp. The run across the bridge takes place on the HOV lane so as not to disturb regular Saturday evening traffic, and it is completely closed off to vehicles. The second mile and a good portion of the third mile are all up-hill, with the the third mile marker not being far past the crest of the bridge. Mile 4 includes a sharp downhill and hard U-Turn off the bridge, with the race wrapping up on a flat half mile near the river's edge.

My race went nearly as I expected. I wasn't as strong as I had hoped, and while my training over the past couple months had me prepared for the heat, I wasn't prepared for the lack of hydration. My one main concern about the race is the presence of only one water stop at the mile 2 marker mid-way through the race. With the number of novice runners participating in the event, and the June New Orleans heat being ever present for the race, at least one more water station would have been welcome on-course. I personally had cramps that I could tell were from improper hydration; however being as experienced at the distance as I am, I should have been better prepared. Lesson learned for next year. One perk of a slowed pace though, was my ability to take more photos of the course and the spectacular view of a beautiful sunset over New Orleans that the bridge provided. See a selection of those photos below, with enlarged versions available by clicking on each.

The group that is now putting on the CCC races (read my recap of the 2013 Crescent City Classic 10K HERE) has made fine steps in putting on first class events, and this year's CCC Bridge Run was another testament to what they are trying to accomplish. The pre-race organization once again deserves comment, but the post-race accommodations also were a highlight of the event. Aside from the traditional fare of free beer and jambalaya for participants and their families, food trucks with additional delicacies were present in a picturesque location under the bridge overlooking the water. A live band played and a true festival atmosphere kept participants around well after the race, in spite of a slight afternoon shower that popped up.

My hope is that word of mouth as well as the addition of the Bridge Run Series in the greater New Orleans area will bring even more participants to events like this in the future. Its a great way to see the city from a whole new perspective (literally and figuratively) with a group of fun fellow New Orleanians.


  1. One water stop? No Bueno. Glad you went!

    1. Agreed. I'm sure its something that will be fixed. I'm glad I did it too! Maybe one year you can make a summer trip home to run it with me!

    2. I'm really surprised about the water stop, too. Probably not a bad idea to BYO (water) for these summer races. Other than that, sounds like a fun race, and I'm glad to hear that these races are capturing the attention of people who don't normally participate in local races.