Richard Bouckaert is like just about every other person in New Orleans, in that he enjoys the Carnival season and the temptations that come with it.
He’s also much different than most, however, because the 30-year old attorney somehow manages to exercise daily throughout the myriad parties and parades — not to mention the less-than-healthy foods and adult beverages that often go hand-in-hand with the city’s biggest celebration.
Bouckaert aims to become the fastest local in the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic when New Orleans’ biggest road race is held on April 4. He is one of three race participants the New Orleans Advocate is following each Sunday as they train for the 6.2-mile race. Approximately 25,000 people of all ages and abilities are expected to take part in this year’s Classic.
Few, however, are as dedicated as Bouckaert. Take Mardi Gras morning, for example. At 7 a.m., he and another seven or eight of the area’s top runners gathered in Audubon Park for what Bouckaert called the “Rex Royal Run.”
“We ran up St. Charles (Avenue) and back, and stopped along the way to see the walking clubs and have drinks,” Bouckaert said. “We like the Avenue Pub, in particular. It’s got a nice selection…The run was probably about eight miles or so.”
Bouckaert, who lives in Lakeview and ran collegiately at Loyola, said the willingness to work out every day is necessary if he’s going to win bragging rights as top local at the CCC.
“I think you have to stay dedicated all the way through the celebration,” he said. “When you’re running at the level we are and shooting for the times we want, you have to try to do something every day. You find a way to work the workout into your schedule – even during Mardi Gras.”
In fact, the last time Bouckaert took a day off was directly after the Rock and Roll Half Marathon, which was held Jan. 25. Bouckaert set a personal best in that race with a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes, 21 seconds over the 13.1-mile course. He finished sixth overall.
Since then, he’s pushed through weeks of 80 miles or more, and recently backed that number down to 70-75 miles per week.
“I found I was a bit fatigued at that total, so I dropped about 10 miles per week,” he said. “It made a difference because now, I feel great.”
That might not have been the case had he missed workouts during the revelry of Carnival.
“We did quite a bit of parading and partying this year. We brought our young daughter out to the parades and my brother was in town. So there was plenty to do. But I’m glad it’s over. It’s time to detox; time to get back to the routine.”
For more information on the CCC, go online to www.ccc10k.com.