Perfect Weather Highlights 41st Running of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic
NEW ORLEANS (April 20, 2019) – The 41st running of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic featured near-perfect weather as the 20,000-plus participants enjoyed the scenic course from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, through the French Quarter, and all the way up beautiful Esplanade Avenue to New Orleans City Park on Easter Saturday. The temperature at the start was just above 50 degrees with bright sun, low humidity and a little wind. By the finish, the temperatures had reached 60 degrees.
The overall winner of this year’s event was Jairus Birech from Kenya, who posted a time of 7:52 on the 10-kilometer course. He held off countryman Silas Kipruto who finished the race in 28:25.
“I would like to thank the people of New Orleans for having us in this race,” Birech told Nola.com. “The course was so fantastic. New Orleans is a beautiful city.”
The top female finisher was Celliphine Chespol, also from Kenya. She finished with the time of 31:40.
“The conditions were excellent and the course was beautiful,” Chespol told Nola.com. “I enjoyed it.”
The top American finisher was Parker Stinson, a graduate of the University of Oregon, who posted a time of 29:10.
Lafayette native Kevin Castille set the event’s Masters (over 40) record last year with a time of 29:17; he won the Masters division once again with a time of 30:52 (10th overall) at 47 years old. Jen Rhines, a three-time Olympian from San Diego, was the women’s Masters champion with a time of 35:34 – the 44-year old was also the top American women overall (36th place).
“It was beautiful out there today, and I thought there might be a little more wind out there than there was, but it never felt strong,” Rhines told Nola.com. “I live in San Diego and there’s no humidity there, so I was pretty excited to come here and have it be clear. You can’t ask for a better day than today.”
Jarrett Leblanc was the top male finisher from Louisiana with a time of 29:10 (seventh overall). Kir Selert Faraud, from New Orleans, was the top female from Louisiana with a time of 36:12 (45th overall).
In addition to providing a wonderful experience to thousands of runners, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic continued to establish itself as one of the top charitable fund-raisers. Through the events’ “Run For It” program, the Crescent City Fitness Foundation selects local charities to support and partner with for the 10k race, by donating 100 charity bib numbers (guaranteed race entries) to each Charity Partner. Official Charity Partners recruit and form teams of 100 charity runners/walkers, who commit to raising a minimum of $200 for their charity by race day. Official Charity Runners receive various perks and incentives for joining the program, including a personal online fundraising page. All of the money raised is donated directly to the selected charity partners. For the second year in a row, the Crescent City Classic raised over $1 million, making it the most successful one-day charity event in the Gulf South. Since the program’s inception in 2015, the program has now raised over $4 million.
Among the inspiring stories from the event was Marko Cheseto, who became the fastest double amputee to complete the 10-kilometer course. Cheseto ran to support the 50 Legs Foundation, a local charity that provides prosthetic legs to people who otherwise might not be able to afford them. Amazingly, Cheseto had just completed the Boston Marathon on Monday.
“It was fun. After running 26.2 miles on Monday, I didn’t expect to run fast today. I am still tired from the marathon, but it was a good run,” Cheseto told Fox 8 New Orleans. “I ran this race today for a cause to fund-raise, help, you know? It’s an organization that helps people who, amputees like myself, get either a running foot or a walking one.”
Another inspirational participant was Mark Raymond, Jr., who competed in the event to raise funds for the Split Second Foundation, a nonprofit whose stated mission is to be “committed to breaking physical, societal and research barriers for people with disabilities.” Raymond was left paralyzed after an accident on Lake Ponchartrain in 2016. His goal was to raise $20,000 through his participation in the race.
Sienna Schehr, a member of the Louisiana Air National Guard since 1999, keyed an international running of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic. The senior master sergeant worked with race organizers to organize a Middle Eastern edition of the event for military members serving the region. While the time and location cannot be disclosed, the participants will run with the same bib numbers and receive the same medals and t-shirts as the New Orleans runners.
“You don’t just send it USPS,” said Kristen Stuart, the Crescent City Classic Event Director. “We had to coordinate with a military base in Ohio. We sent shipments to them, and they were able to load it on a plane that was going to the destination. We miss her dearly not being with us in New Orleans, but I think that this wouldn’t have been possible without her being on the ground floor this year. It really pushed us to make it happen.”
Next year’s race will be run on Saturday, April 11.