Mother Nature was good to the United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run Saturday morning, providing the 19th annual event with its “best weather ever,” according to race director Chuck George.
“The weather for this race has never been better and it really paid off because all the participants had a great time. There were no medical situations like dehydration, so the weather helped out a lot with that too. If we could package this weather up and bring it with us, we’d do that,” George said.
While most of the 2,400 participants entered the 5K race, the 10K race was important to many because it is used as a qualifier for next week’s Crescent City Classic.
United Way of St. Charles Executive Director John Dias said the race has seen tremendous growth in recent years since becoming part of the Louisiana Bridge Run Series, which also features the Huey P. Long Bridge Run on May 9 and the Crescent Connection Bridge Run on June 6, and cross the New Orleans area Mississippi River bridges.
The 10K winner, Byron Adams, 51, of New Orleans, was successful in his first 10K effort. The landscape contractor won the title with a time of 37.16, two minutes ahead of his closest challenger. “This was the first time I’ve run the 10K, I usually do the 5K,” Adams said. “I’m training for a marathon in California and use the races with hills as training runs.”
Adams, a well-known local runner, led the race almost from start to finish. “I started running my own pace and took the lead right before we got to the first mile mark,” he said. “From there, I increased the lead as we went up the bridge.
“The conditions were perfect. It was a little windy on the levee but it was perfect running weather. The inclines were really a challenge, especially after doing three miles before hitting the bridge which is almost a mile climb. It took a toll on me.”
Catherine Williams, 33, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a visitor in town who heard about the race, won the women’s 10K with a time of 42.12.
Saturday’s Bridge Run had two repeat winners. Ian Carr, 24, of Kenner, won the 5K race for the third year in a row with a time of 17.03. One of the top runners in the area, Carr is recovering from a foot injury that has hampered him for the last several months. “I’m still not 100 percent, but I thought I would come out and support the race,” Carr said. “What I was really worried about was the bridge itself because of the incline. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do when I sprinted up the bridge.”
Even though he has swept the Bridge Run Series the last two years, he knows this year will be difficult because of the injury. “It’s going to be tough this year because of my injury. I’m hoping the injury is almost done with so that I can get back to my regular routine,” he said. Saturday was only Carr’s second race of the year. He said normally by now he would have run two marathons and 20 or 30 races.
The women’s 5K winner was Jaime Sauer, 39, of Belle Chasse, who also repeated, posting a time of 19.53. Sauer, who likes to run the bridges and focuses on the Bridge Run series, swept the series last year. “She is a military woman and is just incredible, always in great shape,” George said.
Arthur Gassen, 91, of Luling, and his wife, Amelia, 88, were among the seniors participating in the race.
Other winners in the 10K were: Brenton Cox (male masters), Doug Arena (male grand masters), Terry Puglis (male seniors), Teerret Perrault (female masters), Stephanie Veron (female grand masters), and Germaine Carroll (female seniors).
Other winners in the 5K were: Gary Marshall (male masters), Kevin Nicholas (male grand masters), Ken Mire (male seniors), Angela Rice (female masters), Alicia Zeringue (female grand masters), and Jenny Lind (female seniors).
For complete results, go to www.nolarunning.com.