Almost everyone in the greater New Orleans area knows that the arrival of spring means it’s time for the Crescent City Classic.
Fewer people know that November means it’s time for the Crescent City Fall Classic — but that number is growing quickly.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Fall Classic will be held Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m. in and around City Park. The 5K race is expected to draw more than 3,000 participants, with several of them among the metro area’s finest road racers. The Fall Classic is the only 5K qualifier for the popular 10K CCC held just before Easter each year.
“There’s been an uptick (of participation) in this race of anywhere from 5 to 9 percent annually,” said race director Eric Stuart. “It’s the only 5K qualifier for the bigger race, so you see a lot of the serious guys come out and try to run a fast time looking forward to getting ready (for the CCC.) So you have this fast competition, and you typically have really great weather. It’s a good combination.”
Drew Haro, 30, is one of the best runners in the area, and he will run the Fall Classic for the second time. He agreed with Stuart that the race is a good way to find fast competition before the longer local races begin in the winter.
“When I running at Brother Martin, it always interfered with the prep schedule,” Haro said. “Then when I was running at LSU, it was the same thing. Now, after living in Georgia for a few years, I’m back home and have this one on my calendar. It’s one that a lot of the fast guys like to enter.”
An influx of young runners also swells the participation. More than $10,000 will be awarded to three grammar schools (as well as three charities) that have the most persons in the race.
CCC executive Laine Thomas said that 12 schools are in the running for the participatory awards this year, while eight non-profits are in the mix, as well.
The Crescent City Fall Classic will begin near the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds on Golf Drive and then head to Wisner Blvd. After heading right on Wisner to City Park Blvd., the runners will re-enter the park at Anseman Drive, then wind their way toward the New Orleans Museum of Art. The race will end on the City Park track across from Tad Gormley Stadium.
Qualifying times are as follows: To get an A time in the 2016 CCC, a runner in the Fall Classic will have to post a time of 17:30 on Nov. 7. The B qualifying time is 20:00 and a C time is 22:00.
Each group is “seeded” or “flighted” in the CCC based upon their qualifying time, if available.
Stuart said the Fall Classic is a way for his group to reconnect with the tens of thousands of people who run in the annual Crescent City Classic; as well as for those who simply come to watch the annual parade of people.
“A lot of people take the summer off because it’s so hot,” he said. “Now, they start thinking about getting ready for the big race a few months from now. This is a good way for people to come back to training.”
Cost to enter the race is $35, and online registration is available through 5 p.m. on Friday. Race-day registration at City Park is open from 7-8:15 a.m., Thomas said. Cost includes a post-race party on the track infield with food, drink, vendors, and live music by Soul Rebels.
For more information, go online to www.ccc10k.com or call (504) 861-8686.