Since it began, the Crescent City Classic Foundation has had the goal of promoting health and fitness in the New Orleans area.

That’s certainly the case with the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Fall Classic, a 5-kilometer race in City Park on Saturday morning.

But the Fall Classic takes the fitness message to an even higher level by reaching out to local children and getting them hooked on a healthy lifestyle.

A good portion of the approximately 3,000 participants expected Saturday will be youth. Fall Classic organizers give local schools, clubs, and the like 50 percent off registration fees, and they award cash prizes to the groups that have the most persons signed up to run.

It’s been a win-win situation for local schools and for the Fall Classic, event manager Laine Thomas said. The top three schools and nonprofit groups split $10,500 in prize money, and the top running club gets $1,500 for a charity of choice.

“It’s $12,000 total, and the winning teams get a tent at the Crescent City Classic ‘tent village’ in 2015,” Thomas said. “If you register with at least 25 people, you get a signed collectors’ edition Crescent City Classic poster, which is a saleable item in itself. People use it as a fundraising tool for good causes.

“We want everyone to get fit,” she said. “That’s the whole idea of getting more people involved in the race and into fitness in general. We’ve had groups of anywhere from 20 to 400 people come out and sign up.”

In addition to being very much a “participatory” event for some, the Fall Classic is the only 5K qualifier for the Crescent City Classic — a reality that attracts a crop of the metro area’s finest runners. A time of 17 minutes, 30 seconds or faster in the Fall Classic earns entry to the A Group at the CCC. A time of 20:00 or faster places a runner in the B Group, and 22:00 or faster puts you in the C Group.

The Fall Classic begins at the corner of Golf Drive and Friedrichs Avenue and ends inside the practice track near Tad Gormley Stadium. There will be red beans, beer, water, cookies and more refreshments after the race.

Thomas said a food truck will be on hand to offer other items, including some vegan options.

Musical group Flow Tribe will play two sets Saturday; from 9-10 a.m. and from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Awards will be presented between the two sets.

Cost to register for the Fall Classic is $35. Sign up online until noon Friday, or in person Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. The race begins at 8:30 a.m.

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