Ron Brinkman has competed in every single Crescent City Classic since the 10K race began in 1979. The 66-year-old New Orleans resident said some things have changed in that time, but many things remain the same.
“The race is still a lot of fun,” he said. “And the start at the Superdome is much better than in the French Quarter, I think. Starting there presented some logistical problems. I’d have to park far away and walk about a mile in to get to the start. Now my wife drops me off a half-block from the start and I’m ready to go.”
Brinkman said he ran the CCC in the 36-minute range for at least 15 years, but he was shooting to come in under an hour Saturday. Even though his times have slowed as he has grown older, he still plans his yearly racing schedule around several races, including the CCC.
“I still get butterflies in my stomach before the race,” he said. “It’s a big deal for all of the runners here in New Orleans.”
WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN?
Costuming has become an essential part of the Crescent City Classic experience. It all started in the Classic’s infancy when one runner dressed in a tutu for the 10K race. Now, thousands of people costume in some way.
Some go all out, like a woman in the bridal dress, a man in full Elvis Presley gear or the group of runners dressed in French garb, including white shirts with horizontal black stripes, red scarves, and berets.
Others donned more simple attire, like rabbit ears to go with the Easter theme.
The type of stylized T-shirts a person wears has been said to reveal quite a bit about his or her personality. A few of the more interesting shirts spotted before the start of the CCC read:
“It’s fine. I ran today.”
“Sloth Training Group”
“Everything hurts, and I’m dying.”
“WTF? (Which stood for ‘Where’s the finish?’)"
Jake Robertson of New Zealand led the pack for the men, finishing with a time of 27:52, whil…
Dozens of yellow school buses are on hand at City Park before the start of each CCC, and most race participants park near the finish in Mid City and catch one of those shuttles to the start at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Dozens of police officers blocked traffic along Carrollton Avenue as shuttles passed through en route to the Crescent City Connection and the Dome.
Once off the buses, runners funneled into Champions Square, where they made their way to the respective starting corrals. Many people, however, ambled about in Champions Square to take advantage of coffee, snacks, and even a daiquiri booth, which was set up near the race’s start.
INHERIT THE WIND
As any local can attest, the Central Business District can be a giant wind tunnel from time to time. That was the case Saturday morning as gusts estimated at 25 mph whipped through the intersection of Loyola Avenue and Poydras Street near the race’s start.
The wind was so stiff at one point that it knocked over a couple barricades keeping the crowd from the course. The wind died down a bit after runners left the CBD, but a stiff breeze remained throughout the morning.