It can take a new road race many years before it becomes a hit with local runners.
The 504K has not had that problem. In fact, it’s had quite the auspicious start. The worthy causes benefitting from the race have helped make that so.
The Second annual 504K, Presented by Youth Run NOLA and higherpowerNOLA, is scheduled for Feb. 8. The 5.04-kilometer (3.1-mile) race is expected to attract as many as 1,000 participants – a heady number for a race making only its second trek through the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods.
Beneficiaries will include Youth Run NOLA, which aims to introduce running as a healthy and “everyday” lifestyle event to children in the New Orleans area; and WWOZ – a 100,000-watt radio signal that promotes traditional musical arts in New Orleans. Other non-profits benefitting from the race are Make Music NOLA (an after-school instructional unit for at-risk children,) and the McDonogh 35 music, theater, and arts program.
After having nearly 800 people (200 of them children) run in the first 504K, Youth Run NOLA Executive Director Denali Lander said she’s hoping for at least 1,000 people to take part this year. Of that number, as many as 300 are expected to be children from the 19 area schools serviced by Youth Run NOLA.
“We were very pleased with last year’s turnout,” she said. “But we think we can go higher. The race (being run in an area not known for hosting road races,) is absolutely a part of the success. When we decided to have this race each year, we wanted it to be as much a community event as a road race. It goes through a unique area which is what our kids in Youth Run NOLA are – unique.”
The course is in part an “out and back” and part “loop.” The race will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Reily Foods lot, at 401 Mandeville St. at N. Peters. Participants will travel down N. Peters to Charters, to Poland, to Royal, then turn and head back to Press St. They will go from there to Burgundy, then to Franklin, and back to Royal, before ending on Spain (back at the Reily lot.)
“There are a lot of unique things to see on the route; from the houses to the river,” Lander said. “It’s a really nice course, and one that a lot of runners don’t get to see that often.”
Though online registration has closed, race-day registration will begin at 7 a.m. at the Reily Foods lot on Mandeville and N. Peters. Cost is $35 per person, which includes admission to a post-race party featuring ample food, drink and more. Live entertainment will be performed by Evan Christopher, Kermit Ruffins, and the Big Easy Roller Girls.
“The 504K is a run for all New Orleans,” Lander said. “It’s a celebration of the hundreds of Youth Run NOLA kids making a commitment to their health. The race brings together kids and families from the running and non-running communities. They experience the joys of crossing the finish line. Every pace is welcome.”