Richard Bouckaert had run some difficult races before Saturday’s Crescent City Fall Classic.
However, Saturday’s race was certainly a test for the man who is considered New Orleans’ best road runner.
Bouckaert, 30, was clipped by a bicyclist in the last mile of Saturday’s 5K Fall Classic. After suffering from an Achilles injury a few weeks ago in a race out of state, it could have been much worse for Bouckaert.
However, he finished the 3.1-mile race in 15 minutes, 39 seconds. Brandon Wingate was second in 15:47 and Ian Carr was third in 15.56.
The course began and ended in New Orleans City Park and about 3,000 competitive and recreational runners took part.
Bouckaert was trailing Carr after a mile or so into the race. However, he was able to catch Carr before the runners reached the track at City Park near the finish line. He said he was hit by a bicyclist just before he entered the park about 400 yards from the finish line. He was not injured at the point, and continued to push forward for the race victory.
Downplaying the bike incident, Bouckaert said the hardest part of Saturday’s race throughout City Park was the temperature. The weather was muggy and the thermometer stayed close to 75 degrees throughout the early morning.
“Your body just can’t keep up, and air just doesn’t evaporate,” Bouckaert said. “About a mile into the race, you realize that your body just is not keeping up.”
That was the case for just about every runner in Saturday’s Fall Classic. The women’s champion was Katherine Telfeyan, a Tulane post-graduate student, who at 27 led the field with a time of 18:25.
It was her third time running the 5K race, which is a qualifier for the Crescent City Classic.
“It makes it harder in this weather with the humidity, but because we have been working in it, it’s a little bit easier,” Telfeyan said.
Laura Aleman of New Orleans finished second in the women’s race with a time of 18:53, and Julie Martin was third with a time of 18:59.
The Fall Classic is not only an autumn warm up for New Orleans’ running community, but also a chance for local charities and schools to raise money.
The three schools who raised the most money by having the most participants in Saturday’s race were first, Immaculate Conception; second, St. Andrew the Apostle; third, Monteleone Jr. High.
The CCC Foundation planned to distribute more than $12,000 of award money to local schools and charities via the race.