Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories on the Crescent City Classic, which will be run April 4.
Richard Bouckaert has the goal of being the fastest local resident in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic.
He proved Jan. 4 that he very well could earn that honor.
Bouckaert won the 108th annual Jackson Day Race on a beautiful morning on the streets of New Orleans. His time of 28 minutes, 59 seconds in the 9-kilometer race was 17 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, a competitor from Lafayette. Many of the other top 10 spots were filled with south Louisiana runners, and Bouckaert easily looked the strongest of that group.
The New Orleans Advocate is following the training schedules of three very different runners who plan to compete in the Crescent City Classic 10K on April 4. An individual look into the life of a member of that trio will be published each Sunday leading up to race day.
“It definitely is a confidence boost to win Jackson Day,” Bouckaert said. “It gives you a chance to see where you are. It also was kind of a relief because I didn’t run my best race at the Club Nationals (in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) in December. That was a cross country style 10K, so it was great to get back on the roads and see how the training is paying off.”
Bouckaert, a 30-year-old attorney who lives in Lakeview, has been logging approximately 70 miles per week in preparation for the Classic. His best time in the race came last year, when he posted a mark of 32:54 and finished second among locals (15th overall of an estimated 25,000). He trains with the accomplished Power Milers Track Club twice a week and runs alone four other times each week.
“I want to stay in that 75- to 80-miles-a-week range,” Bouckaert said. “I take it all on a weekly basis. If I have the time, even a few extra minutes, and I can get a few extra miles in, I go for it.”
Bouckaert said the recent spate of frigid weather in the area hasn’t fazed him. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, he said his ideal racing conditions would be under overcast skies and with temperatures in the 50-degree range.
Bouckaert’s upcoming racing schedule includes the half marathon in the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon on Jan. 25 and the Shamrock Run in March. He hopes to enter a race in February, then a 5K just before the CCC to use as a “time trial.”
“I feel like all systems are go right now,” he said. “Everything seems to be lining up really well.”