If you find yourself possessed of some extra piss and vinegar and would like to make proper use of it while the fair weather lasts, there is a fun run Friday night out in Harahan.
The Elmwood Fitness Center Twilight Run hits the road at 7 p.m. from in front of Kids’ Sports at the Elmwood Shopping Center. The route winds up and around (and then back again) on the back roads behind the shopping center, so it should be plenty safe for runners and local traffic. Proceeds of the race go to benefit Elmwood’s "I Can Do It" scholarship program to reduce obesity in children.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, over 47 percent of Louisiana youths are obese, and the cost of treating obesity-related diseases in children has more then tripled – from $35 million to $127 million – in the last two decades.
"The Twilight Run is new," race director Chuck George told me. "It was last held 12 years ago. We had about 1,000 people." George said he expects about 600 or more this year, with an expected $5,000 in money raised.
While there are awards (specifically, gift certificates to Varsity Sports) given to the winners of open divisions (masters, et cetera), there are no age groups. "People come to enjoy the band and the pool," said George. "They don’t even think about awards." Besides live music, the after-party, held back by Kids’ Sports and Elmwood Fitness, will have food and beer.
Although regular registration is already closed, if you still want to participate you can register on race day at the starting line for $30. If you want to attend the party but not run, it will only run you $7.50.
The scholarship program is part of Elmwood Fitness Center’s campaign to lower obesity rates in children. It used to offer scholarships to about 35 children per year, based on income and necessity; but "we’re ahead of the game now," Michael Heim, the youth fitness manager for Elmwood, told me. "We’ll probably hit 55 or 60 this year."
The program itself, for children ages 7 through 16, is a 12-week regime consisting of guided training and instructional sessions. The 12 weeks are broken down into three tiers, over which the students learn different components of nutrition, experiment with various types of training and adopt new forms of cardiovascular routines.
Also this weekend is the Louisiana Freedom Walk to benefit Operation Homefront, which raises money to provide aide to veterans and their families. The walk begins at the Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park, and participants walk the circumference as many times as they see fit.
You can register through midnight Saturday night at their website. The walk begins at 9 a.m. Sunday. Check-in begins at 7:30, and there will be an opening ceremony at 8:30. Be warned, Sunday on Magazine Street and St. Charles Avenue are busy enough to begin with, especially around Audubon Park, so get there early or take the streetcar – and if you don’t plan on attending, take Freret Street or think about cutting through the Fly.