Crescent City Classic: Belle Chasse Academy teacher Thomas Schiffer running well to live well _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Thomas Schiffer runs in New Orleans on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014.

Editor’s note: Each Sunday, the New Orleans Advocate is following three local runners during the course of their training for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic. Following is the latest installment on Thomas Schiffer.

When the Carnival season rolls around each winter, it’s a struggle for almost everyone to stay true to their typical exercise regimen.

But for Thomas Schiffer, the week off from his job as a teacher in Belle Chasse proved to be a boon for his running routine.

Schiffer, 44, is a busy man — being a father of four, a fitness trainer, a tennis coach, and a boot camp instructor at a local YMCA. But when most others were out partying at Carnival parades, Schiffer was able to sneak in extra miles on the roads in Algiers where he resides.

It’s that kind of dedication that Schiffer brings to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic — the popular 10-kilometer road race, which will be held on April 4. He’s running to support the Kelly Gibson Foundation, a local non-profit with the goal to promote fitness and healthy opportunities for kids.

Not that Carnival was all work and no play. Schiffer did make it to a few parades and was able to spend time with his former U.S. Navy Band partners who were in town from Jacksonville, Fla.

“I was a little nervous with all the excitement and with the band being in town that I wouldn’t get much done as far as training,” Schiffer said. “Actually, it was the opposite. I was able to take advantage of the time off work to get the morning runs in that I can’t really do during the school week. The 3-mile runs became 4-mile runs, minimum. I was going six to eight miles on the weekends. I got some speed work in too. So, I guess I surprised myself.”

That kind of hard work has paid off, Schiffer said.

“I’m probably right where I usually am (in terms of fitness), he said. “I’ll have to kick it up a notch in the end. I want to run some 6-8 mile outings as we get closer to the race, and keep getting the speed work in. I’m pleased though. I’m getting faster. I’ve already hit my goal pace of 9:18 per mile over four or five miles. I just have to maintain that and stretch it out over 10K. I think I will do it, and I may even go pretty well under it.

“When I set the goal, I wanted it to be realistic, so I could hit it and not disappoint myself. So the goal remains (to finish the CCC) in under an hour. But if I can get close to 50 minutes, or break it, then more the better.”

Schiffer said he plans to run at least one area race in March to help him gauge his overall training. He’s eyeing either the Shamrock 8K or the CCC St. Patrick’s Day Classic 2-miler. Both are to be held the morning of March 15.

“It’s good to run with other people, because it pushes you and helps you see where you are,” he said. “I need to get my butt out there and do one of those races.”

For more information on the Crescent City Classic, go online to To sponsor Schiffer and the Kelly Gibson Foundation during the CCC, go online to: