Officially, the winners were from Kenya and Ethiopia.
Unofficially, there were 24,000 or so other winners who crossed the finish line long after male winner John Muritu and female champion Buze Diriba.
They came from far and wide, including many from right here in New Orleans.
Some ran. Some walked.
Susan Matranga would have loved to have done either. But just two weeks ago, Matranga was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which has caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down.
That wasn’t going to stop the 35-year-old New Orleanian from competing in the 10K race for the fourth consecutive year. Unlike her past three Classics, though, she completed it in a wheelchair, pushed by friends and co-workers.
“It was very special,” Matranga said. “I didn’t think I was going to even be here today.”
[RELATED: Click here to see full race results.]
Her friends weren’t so sure, either, especially since she was just released from Touro Infirmary on Friday. They all sported lime green T-shirts with “Team Sue” on the front.
But the message on the back of the T-shirts was even more important: “If I could do it before, I can do it again.”
That message could have applied to Shannon Caffrey of Metairie. She walked the course on crutches after undergoing knee surgery in January. She admitted it was much harder than her previous three times in the race.
“My hips are killing me, but was it worth it?” she asked. “Absolutely. You can do anything you put your mind to. I wasn’t going to let surgery stop me from reaching my dreams.”
Some participated for charity.
There was Team Gleason. And there was 50 Legs, an organization that helps pay for prosthetics for amputees.
Others did it just for fun — and wore the costumes to prove it. Kristopher Rappold helped promote his dental practice by running in a tooth costume. Batman, Superman and the Ninja Turtles also were present.
Pat Gavin of New Orleans, registered under the name Bugs Bunny, was the first Easter Bunny to cross the finish line. Several others also were in the holiday spirit.
And while some dressed as animals, others rode them. (Well, sort of.)
Kip Rohner of Thibodaux galloped across the finish line on a stick horse. He was dressed like a jockey, looking more ready for Saturday afternoon’s Louisiana Derby than the Crescent City Classic.
Rohner’s father, who passed away several years ago, was a horse trainer. His mom passed away a few years later in 2013.
“I started running to get my mind away from it,” Rohner said. “I thought this would be a fun way of dedicating it to my parents.”
He credited his stick horse, Bo Simpson.
“He did all the work,” Rohner said. “I was just along for the ride.”
Sierra and Jaya Freedman, ages 5 and 2, were, too. The sisters rode in a double stroller while their parents, Jonah Freedman and Suneeta Walia, pushed them along the way. The Uptown couple has participated in the race since 2009.
“This is the last year we can do a double stroller,” Walia said.
No problem. Little Sierra, who will be 6 the next time the race rolls around, said she is ready to walk her first one next year.
While many raced for the love of the sport, Mary and Oscar Johnson participated for the love of each other.
The Gentilly couple has been married for 50 years. Oscar is 74. His wife is 73.
Oscar planted a kiss on his wife’s forehead shortly after they crossed the finish line in City Park. It was their fifth Crescent City Classic together.
Phil Jones, 60, has been doing it for much longer: His first one was in 1984. Jones, of Metairie, was the first to cross the finish line in the seniors division, for runners 60 and above.
He started running in high school at Brother Martin.
“I’ve been running ever since,” he said.
Horace Elkins of Baton Rouge is seven years older than Jones and has run this race since Hurricane Katrina. He’s 67 now and doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
He got all the inspiration he needed midway through the race.
“I had a guy who passed me, and he asked me how old I was,” Elkins said. “Then he took off and left me. He was 80. I told him I hope to be like him one day.”
And that explains Elkins’ one-word response when asked just how long he plans to run in the Crescent City Classic: “Forever,” he said with a smile.
Matranga and her Team Sue crew would have been proud of that answer.
She plans to do the race again next year, after recovering from her ailment.
“It could take a couple months,” she said.
Either way, she’ll plans to return next year.
After all, if she could do it Saturday, she can do it again.