Friday, May 23, 2014

Louisiana Blue Crab Run: The 2014 Recap

Having a race on Friday night threw off my entire weekend routine, but I still participated in the Louisiana Blue Crab Run this past Saturday morning. Fortunately, the race had a later start than a typical weekend event, so I was able to recover properly from the Barathon. This year's Blue Crab Run made the move across the lake, from the Northshore to the Kenner lakefront. This move made the race much more accessible to me, and lessened the likelihood of being lulled back to sleep by the Causeway Bridge.

Organizers of the Louisiana Blue Crab Run went through a lot of trouble to make packet pickup smooth. One table was set for check-in and to receive a bag that was pre-stuffed with participant number, t-shirt, trail mix, and various samples of skin lotions. Another table was set up with labeled envelopes containing wristbands for the post-race party. There was also the opportunity at this table to purchase raffle tickets for some great door prizes. After grabbing everything we needed, we returned to the car to stash our schwag and wait for the race. 

The Main Event
The emails leading up to the event were very detailed and a great asset to plan our morning. Race start time was scheduled for 10:15am, so we left the car around 10am to head in that direction. As we walked up to the group congregating at the levee running path, the starting gun fired. It was a little premature, and we hadn't made it to the start just yet, but it was kind of interesting to see everyone lunge forward at the same time. Since the race was a "fun run," it wasn't that big of a deal for me to start a few minutes later than everyone else.

The first mile was particularly fun for me, as I started in the back of the pack and worked my way forward. Participants of all skill levels were out, so I used it as a challenge to see how many people I could pass. I think my personal performance was positively impacted by this game plan, as I maintained a steady pace for the majority of the race, and it was faster than several of my recent runs. 

The smooth asphalted out and back course along the levee path was great. I hadn't checked out the location before, and didn't know that the stretch had been extended from the Kenner boat launch west toward Loyola Avenue. The entire bike / running path from Kenner to New Orleans along Lake Pontchartrain is now one of my favorite long run destinations. 

After meeting back up with my friends near the finish line, we walked over to the post-race party. Unfortunately, thanks to the cold winter and high prices, the Louisiana Blue Crab Run couldn't get a supply of crabs for the seafood boil. However, there was plenty of hot and spicy crawfish coming out of the pot, and runners were ready to have their fill. The local delicacies were accompanied by live music, an awards presentation for the top finishers as well as the last, and a drawing for the raffle prizes. An ice chest full of canned beer was also available; but after the night prior, I was in no place to partake.

Room For Improvement
This is a fun run benefiting a good cause, the Voice of the Wetlands. I really would like to see more participants show their support by coming out to run and party. It was a great event with a unique post-race spread that you can only find in Louisiana. With the change to the more convenient Kenner location, I'm sure participation will be up for next year's date, which has already been set for April 18, 2015!

Check out the gallery below for photos from the 2014 Louisiana Blue Crab Run, or LIKE the NOLArunner Facebook page HERE!

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