Jaime Sauer did not run track in college — her school in San Diego did not field a team until after she graduated.
Sauer, though, has made amends for the missed miles.
She enters Saturday evening’s Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent Connection Bridge Run with a combined time of 39 minutes, 16 seconds (39:16) in the previous two affiliated races, giving her a 6:04 lead in the women’s division of the Louisiana Bridge Run Series.
Runners must enter all three races to win the series.
On April 5, Sauer won The United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run (19:36) and one month later and placed second in The Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run (19:40).
All that’s left is Saturday’s four-mile run. It starts at the West Jeff Fitness Center on the Westbank, continues over the Crescent City Connection to a height of more than 300 feet above the Mississippi river — a great opportunity to view the downtown skyline at sunset — and ends in the Warehouse District.
Saturday’s race offers several thousand participants a challenge special to New Orleans runners: hills, with about one mile of the course over the bridge.
“I’m so pumped up, so I’m excited because this has been my goal during this bridge series,” said Sauer, who with her husband, has lived in Belle Chasse for nearly two years. “I’ve got to make the dream happen (Saturday).”
She will have competition.
According to race officials, Loretta Hoskins (19:49, 25:31) ranks second with a combined time of 45:20. Marcelle Rousseau (24:32, 24:42) ranks third at 49:14.
In the men’s competition, defending champion Ian Carr (32:21) needs a win Saturday to not only to finish with the best combined time, but to sweep the three-race series.
Matthew Eyler (33:15), a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in New Orleans, is within reach.
So is Carl Passantino, in third place (37:00).
Passantino, who ran at Jesuit and later walked on at LSU, participated in the first race as a warm-up for the Crescent City Classic. He ran in the second because it’s close to his residence in Old Jefferson.
“I’ve already done two of them,” he said, “so I might as well finish the thing.”
Sauer actually plans to run the race twice. Sort of.
She works at the YMCA in Belle Chasse, which is scheduled to have plenty of participants running Saturday evening. So after Sauer runs her race, she plans to double back and find her co-workers and friends.
“My thing is that I’m always going to come back for them,” she said. “Always.”