New Orleans isn’t considered one of America’s healthiest cities, with a party or a 2,000-calorie meal right around every corner. But the city is known, however, for its love of its professional football team.
So it’s not a huge surprise that only in its fourth year, the Saints Kickoff Run presented by Chevron, is one of the biggest road races in town. At least 6,000 people are expected to take part in a 5-kilometer race Saturday, and like many local “running” events, this one is sure to have plenty folks who are in it for the “parade atmosphere,” said race director Jamie Monroe.
The 5K will start at 7:30 a.m. with a ½-mile fun run (presented by Raising Cane’s) will begin at 9:15 a.m.
“Most people there are fans of the Saints,” Monroe said. “The first 400 or so will be interested in running to post a good time. Then you get a big group of folks who are fans just looking for a social jog. Then the last half is people in costume, things like that. Either way, they’re all going to have a good time.”
The main attraction, Monroe said, is that everyone in both races will finish at the 50-yard line inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
“We survey as many people as we can after the race, and they tell us two things,” he said. “One, they are Saints fans. And two, they want to finish on the floor of the Superdome. It’s a big draw.”
The Saints Kickoff Run is the biggest NFL-related 5K that Monroe’s company (California-based Easy Day Sports) stages each year. He said nearly 100 police officers will help block off the course, which begins at Champions Square, heads down Poydras toward the river, turns on North/South Peters to Conti, and returns via the same route and on Tchoupitoulas back to Poydras and the Superdome.
“Twelve NFL cities do a run like this, but not all of them begin the season,” Monroe said. “It depends on the team and the city’s schedule. The Patriots have a Fourth of July race. …the Steelers have one on Labor Day. The Saints Run is a big one (which is designed to get fans excited for Sunday’s regular-season opener against Arizona.)
Cost to register is $60 and includes an NFL-licensed Saints T-shirt. There will be ample food, water, fruit, beer, and more for patrons after the run. New Orleans Karma will provide live music at a postrace festival.
Parking is free in several garages located adjacent to the Superdome. Registration will continue through race day until about 7 a.m., both online and in person. Anyone looking to register Friday should go to saints5k.com as the preferred method of entry.
All proceeds will benefit the Louisiana Children’s Museum – which was chosen by the Saints organization, Monroe said, as the beneficiary of this year’s kickoff run.
For more information, log onto www.saints5k.com.