Jamie Sauer has lived in the New Orleans area for only three years. But after moving from San Diego, she is proud to call Belle Chasse home.
Sauer, a YMCA instructor, military wife and mom, sported a smoky gray racing bib Saturday during the Huey P. Long Bridge Run. Those in the race who reside on the West Bank of the Mississippi River wore grey bibs, while those from the East Bank donned bright green bibs. Those wishing to remain “neutral” wore white bibs.
It all was part of a friendly competition that began this year in the third edition of the event — a race within a race, so to speak, to see which side of the river would register more participants.
Though there probably were more people from the East Bank than the West Bank in the race, Sauer held up her end of the bargain by leading the women’s field Saturday. She finished the 5-kilometer run in 22 minutes, 23 seconds.
“I’m West Bank proud,” she said.
She had extra incentive to perform well. The event is part of the Louisiana Bridge Run Series, which tests the skills of participants on three of New Orleans highest bridges: the Hale Boggs Bridge in St. Charles Parish, the Crescent City Connection in Orleans Parish and the Huey P. Long, which spans the Mississippi in Jefferson Parish.
Sauer won the series last year and also won the first leg of the 2015 series in March on the Hale Boggs Bridge.
“This series is really important to me,” she said. “I have a great group of friends from the YMCA in Belle Chasse, and they want to run over the bridge. Even though I have an injury (to my hamstring), I wanted to be a good role model and run with them.”
Ian Carr of Kenner also is nursing an injury (to his foot), but he showed no signs of suffering Saturday. Carr, who won the bridge race series the past two years and also was victorious on the Hale Boggs Bridge in March, easily led the men’s field with a 5K time of 17:18.
Carr said he wasn’t necessarily concerned with representing the East Bank but instead was focused on continuing his prowess in the bridge series. Since it began three years ago, Carr has been dominant and has molded himself into one of south Louisiana’s finest long-distance road racers.
“Especially after winning (the series) last year, I want to keep the title — keep the streak going,” he said.
The East Bank/West Bank competition wasn’t the only new aspect of the race. For the first time, it began on the East Bank (on the bridge’s on-ramp at Clearview Parkway) and concluded on the green space just off the bridge’s downslope in Bridge City.
Carr was one of several of Saturday’s 1,500 participants who said the change in course made the race more difficult.
“Going uphill before really warming up on the straightaway made it harder,” Carr said. “When it started on the West Bank, you had a chance to build some momentum. This year, you automatically were going uphill. … I found it fun, because I don’t get to run uphill much, but you know it tired some people out by the time they got to the top.”
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent Connection Bridge 4-Mile Run, the final leg of the 2015 Louisiana Bridge Race Series, is set for June 6.
1. Ian Carr, 17:18
2. Sean Fitzwilliam, 18:03
3. Reed Meric, 18:43
4. Noah Wilkins, 18:59
5. Stephen McSorley, 19:03
6. Glenn Buck, 19:06
7. Trenton Westbrook, 19:07
8. Byron Adams, 19:08
9. Leandro Morales, 19:31
10. Wilson Reynolds, 19:32
1. Jamie Sauer, 22:23
2. Padilla Marlon, 22:38
3. Heidi DeBenedictis, 22:41
4. Dana Summerour, 22:46
5. Regina Lennox, 22:59
6. Meredith Dickey, 23:09
7. Alisha Marshall, 23:39
8. Aimee Shuey, 23:40
9. Amanda Mclearn-Moritz, 23:41
10. Margo Dilling, 23:49