– By Johanna Gretschel
Introducing Run Grouper of the Week. This is the first in a series of regular profiles to spotlight some of our most endorphin-addicted friends and expand everyone’s pace group. Don’t be shy – if Ralph sounds like your speed, say hi and make a new running buddy tonight!
Run Grouper of the Week: Ralph Aucoin
Meet the man behind the baby stroller.
Name: Ralph Aucoin
Typical LRC Run: 5-7 miles
Typical LRC Pace: 7:30 – 8:00/mile
Hometown: River Ridge, LA
High School: Brother Martin (XC state champs 98, 99)
College: Belmont Abbey College, Belmont NC
Did you compete in college? Yes.
How long have you been running? Since grammar school. Probably around the 5th grade. They bribed us with snowballs after practice. It was very effective.
Why do you run? When was the moment that you identified as a runner? So I can keep eating cheeseburgers regularly for lunch. I also like the people. I probably first identified as a runner in high school when I realized without a doubt that I lacked the size and coordination to play other sports. Running camp over the summer sealed the deal.
When was your first run group? What keeps you coming back? I’ve been coming to run group since at least Aug. 4, 2010. My brothers (Patrick and Martin) were both home for the summer and had been going out regularly. I kept seeing them in pictures with a lot of familiar faces, and they talked me in to coming out. I keep coming because I enjoy the company of all the new friends I have met. Running with the group keeps me motivated. I look forward to the runs and because of that I run more frequently and faster then I would on my own.
What is your favorite local race? Spillway Classic, but I also like the high school alumni scoring within the turkey day race.
What is your favorite aspect of the New Orleans running community? The fact that it is a true community. When you go out to a race you see friends, co-workers, and family members. We also have the best post race parties. The music, food, and beer can’t be beat. Who doesn’t want Popeye’s red-beans and fried chicken after running a 10K in 100% humidity?
What’s your beer mile time? 11:44 at the 12/12/10 New Orleans Holiday Beer Mile, pretty respectable for a first attempt.
What’s your weirdest running-related story? Prancercise. I saw a guy downtown one day trailing a New Orleans jogging tours sign.
How long has Ella been coming to run group and when can we expect Celeste to join? Ella’s been coming out and trying to get me to push her faster since August/September 2011. Celeste needs a few more months under her belt before she’s ready. She will probably make her run group debut around the end of this summer. So far there are no plans to have them both out at the same time. Pushing one is difficult enough, plus those double running strollers are expensive.