Richard Bouckaert won the Fifth annual Shamrockin’ Run 8K race on Sunday, and he had time to stop and drink four beers in the process.
Bouckaert took part in the increasingly popular Guinness Challenge portion of the race, which requires runners to stop at four locations on the course and chug a four-ounce serving of the warm beer, which is the color of maple syrup. It’s one of those “Only in New Orleans” happenings when the city’s top road runner would decide to drink beer in the middle of one the state’s largest long-distance races.
Neither the breaks in pace, nor the suds sloshing in his stomach, kept Bouckaert from winning the Guinness Challenge as well as the overall Shamrockin’ 8K. He posted a time of 26 minutes, 31 seconds over the 4.97-mile course that began at the National D-Day Museum in the Warehouse District and followed Prytania Street to the finish line in Audubon Park. That was tops among the approximately 2,000 people entered in the race, whether they stopped for beer or not.
Ashley Paulson, a pro triathlete from Utah, led the women’s field in 29:51. She also took part in the Guinness Challenge, and placed fifth overall among all men and women in the race.
Runners from 35 states, Washington D.C., and Canada took part in the Shamrockin’ 8K.
“The beer run definitely fits in with our culture,” said Bouckaert, a 32-year old attorney who lives in Lakeview. “I’ve said from Day 1, I think there needs to be more beer in there to make it more challenging.”
Fun and games aside, Bouckaert is one of the state’s finest runners. He was using the Shamrockin’ 8K as a gauge to his fitness with the all-important Crescent City Classic less than a month away, and when bragging rights among locals truly are a big deal.
“I was pleased with my time,” Bouckaert said. “I was thinking I might try and run in the high 25s, which is my PR for this race a couple years ago. But even though the temperature was great today (in the mid-60s for the 8:30 a.m. start), the humidity was really high. But I felt good overall.”
Kenner's Ian Carr, another top Louisiana runner finished second to Bouckaert in the beer run and the overall results with a time of 27:02.
Paulson, 35, has a permanent address about a half hour outside of Salt Lake City, but she, her husband, and their four children have been traveling the country in an RV since July. They schedule their stops based on Paulson’s competitive schedule, and they arrived in New Orleans a week ago. With the win behind her, they’ll leave for Texas and her next race on Monday morning.
“I love New Orleans,” she said through a wide grin after the race. “I haven’t had a beer since high school, and I usually don’t drink anything at all when I’m on the course; not even water. So it was a different feeling, for sure.”
Paulson took the lead around the mile mark, and held off some of the area’s top female runners, even though they weren’t entered in the Guinness Challenge. Malia Cali, who ran collegiately at the University of North Carolina, led the regular women’s field with a time of 30:10. J.P. Botti led the men’s non-beer race with a time of 28:47.
Awards went to the winners in the overall race and in various age groups. The top five men and women in the Guinness Challenge won cash prizes and a case of beer.
This marked the first year that an Elite Race was not part of the Shamrockin’ Run 8K. Race Director Bill Burke said he hopes to bring back some of the world’s fastest road racers next year and give them a chance to set an 8K world record on the fast New Orleans streets.
Fifth annual Shamrockin’ Run 8K
Guinness Challenge: First, Richard Bouckaert, 26:31; second, Ian Carr, 27:02; third, Michael Nussa, 27:43; fourth, Emil Bojanov, 28:27; fifth, Matt Greco, 30:04; sixth, Robert Scott, 30:20; seventh, Michael Strzyzewski, 32:33; eighth, Jason McNeill, 33:08; ninth, Kylan Myers, 33:14; 10th, Justin Gilberti, 33:30.
Overall race (non-Guinness entry): First, J.P. Botti, 28:47; second, Pavel Marosin, 29:02; third, Joseph Fertitta, 30:08; fourth, Cooper Monzon, 30:14; fifth, Billy Borrouso, 30:25; sixth, Luis Iturralde, 30:25; seventh, Phil Jones, 30:32; eighth, Troy Alello, 30:44; ninth, Charles Wambolt, 30:45; 10th, Mark McGinley, 30:53.
Guinness Challenge: First, Ashley Paulson, 29:51; second, Melissa Schutz-Lilly, 34:00; third, Jolice Van Den Berg, 35:14; fourth, Joelle Graham, 35:17; fifth, Lorraine Bertrand, 39:31; sixth, Kensie Lasseigne, 41:14; seventh, Christina Fanguy, 41:15; eighth, Addie Lee, 41:30; ninth, Melissa Gilberti, 41:59; 10th, Melissa Sweeney, 41:59.
Overall race (non-Guinness entry): First, Malia Cali, 30:10; second, Julie Martin, 30:39; third, Kristin Wenstrom, 31:05; fourth, Meghann Lawson, 31:37; fifth, Laura Doody, 31:40; sixth, Eva Lustigova, 32:09; seventh, Jennifer Palermo, 32:50; eighth, Michelle Corkum, 34:32; ninth, Amy Cavallino, 35:10; 10th, Nicole Champine, 35:18.