Monday, August 19, 2013

NOTC 50th Anniversary Race 3 Miler: The 2013 Recap

The New Orleans Track Club celebrated its 50th anniversary this past Saturday morning in style with a 3 mile race at City Park. The weather was perfect on race morning when I woke up to head to the park's festival grounds, with overcast skies and unseasonably cooler temperatures for the middle of August.

Walking up to the main pavilion near the newly added walking / running track in City Park surprised me with a larger than usual crowd for a New Orleans race. As has been the case of late, bib pickup was speedy. I was also pleasantly surprised that instead of the usual t-shirt commemorating the race, the organization produced bright white 50th Anniversary NOTC running caps. I remembered that I received a track club branded umbrella from this race several years ago, and this item was again definitely something useful.

The morning's events started promptly at 8am with a half-mile race that was dominated by the organization's youth membership. The starting horn was fired by one of the New Orleans Track Club's founding member's relatives, and the race was completed as quickly as it started. The three mile main event commenced shortly after at 8:15am. The course had runners do a three-quarter loop around the festival ground's track. At one point in this initial mile I caught up with a coworker and had the opportunity to run side-by-side for a stretch. I, however, am always one who takes all the water stops. It's habit after training in New Orleans heat to hydrate whenever possible, so we lost each other rather quickly as I stopped about 1.5 miles in to the race. Even the overcast skies couldn't keep me from requiring fluids at that point.

The course continued with an out and back stretch on Roosevelt Mall, the area of City Park where the Crescent City Classic 10K and Rock'n'Roll NOLA Marathon finish. It was along this portion of the route that you could see the leaders of the race make a U-turn, and then once you've made the loop, cheer on people with a slightly slower pace as they trudge on to the finish. The camaraderie was high Saturday morning as numerous runners yelled to friends across the grassy area separating the route, and that made the middle mile even more fun.

The finish line was situated at the festival grounds pavilion where the race had started. As soon as you crossed under the arch, you were handed a popsicle stick with your finishing place inscribed on the back. This was a nice touch as a throwback to how races were originally scored for the club. My current technology told me how I performed, and I was pretty pleased with my 26 minute time. The pace was faster than any training run I've done up until this point during the summer. It was also my first race since April that wasn't a bridge or trail run, and the pacing is drastically different for me for road racing. I'm hoping to see my speed come back as temperatures become more comfortable and I readjust to more mileage throughout the week.

One thing that stood out for me during the New Orleans Track Club's 50th Anniversary Race was the post-race social atmosphere that developed as runners poured across the finish line. Usually I'm one to grab a banana and some water, speak to a few people I know, and bolt home for a much needed shower. This time, however, I stuck around to see a few more friends cross the finish line and then grabbed a beer to hang out. For this race, the beer selection was pretty diverse  with taps of a seasonal Satsuma, a darker ale, and a raspberry hefeweizen. For someone like me who isn't much of  a beer drinker, the options were great and plentiful. It definitely kept my friends and I there much longer than we normally would on a Saturday morning.

The track club continues to impress me with their repeat performances as a great organization. As fall races pile up, I know that I got my money's worth on the race registration. The quality event, great swag, an awesome post-race party, and portions of the proceeds going to a great cause all make me more than happy to support events that they put on. Happy Anniversary NOTC, and congrats on getting better with age.


  1. Sounds like the NOTC put on a wonderful race! I'm not a huge fan of beer post-run, but I'm sure the deviation from the normal light beers and local standard Abita Amber was welcomed. I think you've convinced me to check out an NOTC race this fall.

    1. I'm not a fan of beer, period. But I'll admit that the raspberry one was pretty refreshing after the run, and imbibing with friends was a lot of fun. When it comes to a fall race Katherine, I'd highly recommend one put on by the NOTC. I doubt you will be disappointed.