With many events being cancelled with orders to implement social distancing and shelter in place, the annual Crescent City Classic 10k run has transformed itself from a traditional 6.2 mile road race into the new Virtual Crescent City Classic run.
From March 21 to April 11, participants are invited to run a solo 6.2 mile run with the course of their choosing, on one of the suggested courses suggested by race organizers or at home on your personal treadmill. This is a great way to get fit, participate in the history of the now-42-year-old race, and even raise money for charity.
I had already planned on participating in the annual race as part of my own spring tradition, and with my marching krewe’s charity team, this year benefitting New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic. When events began the slow domino effect of cancellations, I was excited to hear that the CCC organizers had come up with a great way to keep raising funds and still allow participants to cross the finish line, wherever that might be.
This past Saturday, I set out with my iPhone fitness tracker, tuned into my favorite podcast and started on a course that would take me through City Park. I passed many fellow runners and cyclists as I would my way around Bayou St. John, past the Louisiana Children’s Museum and on towards the City Park Couterie Forest.
Water breaks would consist of tracking down the fountain by the practice fields along Roosevelt Way, with its wildflower fields freshly tilled and ready to sprout. Signs of encouragement would come from the nods of people I passed (6 feet apart) along the trail. Music would be offered by the sing song of birds, the shush of passing cars along Marconi and the rhythmic patter of my own feet past the soccer fields. I even took a rest break, something I would never do during the regular race, on one of the park’s fishing piers, to admire the soft green of the golf course and winding paths along the bayou.
While I enjoyed setting my own pace and choosing my own wandering path, I truly missed the Saturday spectacle that the Crescent City Classic brings: people from all over gathering together to get outside and run together, the curious tourists in the French Quarter, friends and family who gather along Esplanade offering words of encouragement, beer, bourbon and hot barbecue (!), and the Drago’s fire truck parked near the overpass, that means you’re on your way.
We are all still trying to figure out what our “new normal” is, and I love that the CCC found an easy way to let us all enjoy the sport we love, safely. But I know I will be excited to return to the race course next year, from the excitement of the starting line by the Super Dome to the relief of the finish line in City Park, and all of the color the city of New Orleans brings along the 6.2 miles.
There is still time to register for the Virtual Crescent City Classic, either simply for yourself or to raise funds for organizations such as Girls on the Run, Kickin’ Parkinsons, Animal Rescue New Orleans and many more.
General registration is $50 and Run For It Charity registration is $40, with funds raised going to the charity partnership you choose. Runners, walkers, sashayers and dancer are all welcome to participate.