It'a about philanthropy and good times for the Crescent City Classic.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic has been known for letting the good times roll for its participants.
The internationally-known 10K race has runners who come as far as New Zealand take part in festivities before, during and after the race, which includes the famous postrace party.
Six years ago, race director Eric Stuart and his brother-in-law Ricky Thomas decided to put more of a philanthropic spin to the Crescent City Classic by making it a platform for fundraising.
The Crescent City Fitness Foundation, which is in charge of the race’s production, does not generate any dollars toward the race.
Hilary Landry, who serves as the foundation’s charity director, said the foundation instead gives away entries to the charitable organizations that partner with the race, and the charity directors go out into local communities to seek runners to participate on their behalf.
“When (the participants) run on their behalf, they commit to raise a minimum amount of money,” Landry said. “Every single dollar that is raised stays here locally.”
The foundation announced this week that 24 local charitable organizations will take part in this year’s Crescent City Classic, including 50 Legs, Son of a Saint, Girls on the Run, Team Gleason and Youth Run NOLA.
One of the newer organizations this year includes the Split Second Foundation, which is dedicated toward finding better treatments for people with spinal cord injuries, as well as fund research dedicated to those treatments.
Brother Martin High School and Xavier University alum Mark Raymond started the Split Second Foundation after a severe boating accident on July 4, 2016, left him as C-5 quadriplegic.
While the injury took away most of his physical abilities, Raymond refused to throw in the towel. Instead, he decided to find ways to help make lives for people just like him.
“We’re really excited to have this opportunity,” Raymond said. “We’ve only been an organization for a year. We’ve got huge ambitions, but these are all accomplished with goals.”
Their immediate goal for this year is to open a physical fitness facility in Louisiana for people with paralysis and amputations.
According to the Split Second Foundation website (splitsecondfoundation.org), there are only 30 physical fitness facilities dedicated to people with paralysis across the United States.
“This facility will be the first of its kind in this state (of Louisiana),” Raymond said.
Crescent City Classic event director Kristen Stuart hopes to continue to grow the process every year of involving as many local charities as possible that have the goals of raising money for the Greater New Orleans area.
This process is done by introducing the fundraising program in stages.
“We have teams right now that have committed to 25, 50, 75 or 100 race bibs,” Stuart said. “We do that to introduce them into the program and not overwhelm them.”
For Landry, the Crescent City Classic provides something enjoyable for very diverse groups of people.
“Even if you’re a non-runner, there’s something about the accomplishment of crossing a finish line that causes this cool surge of endorphins,” Landry said. “What a great way to take advantage of that good feeling by giving back to someone else.”
The 41st annual Crescent City Classic will start on April 20 at 8 a.m. in front of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and end at City Park.