South Louisiana offers some of the most interesting outings one can imagine.
Top-shelf restaurants? Check.
Swamp excursions? Check.
Voodoo tours? Check.
Even when it comes to our road races, we pick some unique locales in which to hold them. The aforementioned swamps are in there, as are Garden District streets, high-rise bridges, centuries-old cemeteries, and Mississippi River levees.
It’s just how we do things.
Which leads us to the St. Joseph Abbey Monk Run — an annual event staged north of Covington where runners get a chance to race on the beautiful grounds of the abbey and seminary college on site. And without question, this is a “one of a kind event” as the abbey grounds are not often open for public recreational use.
This year’s “Monk Run,” as it is called, will be April 25 in the tiny enclave of St. Benedict, the name of the site near Covington where the abbey is located.
There will be both a 5-kilometer trail run and a 1-mile race held that day. Registration will be limited to the first 600 participants. The courses are measured and the races organized by the 15th Street Flyers — the Covington-based running group which has been instrumental in promotion of running on the north shore for more than two decades.
The 1-mile run will begin at 8 a.m. with the 5K starting at 8:30 a.m. Race-walkers will start one minute later.
Awards will be made and presented by the St. Joseph Abbey monks. The prizes will go to top men and women in both races and in a host of age groups. T-shirts also will be given to all pre-registered entrants.
Another highlight is sure to be the post-race picnic when everyone is invited to set up a chair or spread out a blanket to enjoy the spring morning. The offerings will include local food and beverages to all registered participants.
Pre-registration is available via USPS if postmarked by April 17. Cost is $25 for persons 17 and older, and $10 for youths 16 and younger. Seminarians can run for $10 if pre-registered.
Checks should be made payable to Saint Joseph Abbey, c/o 15th Street Flyers, 49 Karen Drive, Covington, LA 70433. You can pre-register in person at Varsity Sports, 2021 Claiborne St., in Mandeville. Only checks will be accepted at that location, as well.
Online registration will continue until April 17 at getmeregistered.com/monkrun2015.
Race-day registration, if space remains, will cost $30 for persons 17 and older, and $15 for youths and seminarians. You also can sign up on race day (with a no T-shirt option) for $25. Race packets and race day registration will be available beginning at 7 a.m. on April 25.
Proceeds will go to care for the monks living on site, as well as ongoing activities at the abbey.
Race applications are available online at www.15thstreetflyers.org and www.sjasc.edu. Volunteers are needed to work the races. Call Kit Friedrichs-Baumann at (985) 867-2233 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for information on lending a hand.
St. Joseph Abbey is located at 75376 River Road in St. Benedict. For race information, call Diane Weiss at (985) 893.3684.
Andrew Canulette covers recreation and leisure activities for the St. Tammany Advocate. To reach him, email email@example.com.