By Ky Kastes (The sad chicken)
If you could eavesdrop on the thoughts of runners on the starting line at last Saturday’s Jazz Half, you would probably hear a chorus of cursing and questioning the mornings weather conditions. This mid-October day anywhere else might have been brisk and maybe even long-sleeve shirt wearing kind of race. Saturday’s race in New Orleans was a hot one, with the temperature in the high 70’s and humidity above 80%, runners looking for a cool fall race were out of luck. Although the weather was not in our favor, The race itself is typically a big event in the city. With the event benefiting Children’s Hospital, participants were happy to be running for more than a finishing medal. The Southern Orthopedic/LRC team lead by John Morran, and the crew of LRC, made a showing at the race, giving team members extra pre and post race benefits with the help of sponsors (4D, Derrick Joseph, TASC, and Winston’s Pub), as well as donating a little extra to the hospital.
The race started at about 7:10 for the front runners, with a short delay at the starting line. Out in front were the typical New Orleans racing duo, Patrick Gavin and Ian Carr. While the leaders sprinted their way to a possible Half Marathon title, a pack of about 2,000 eager runners made there way down Camp Street. In the mix were Half Marathoners and 5k speedsters. As a participant in the 5k race, I was lucky enough not to be exposed to the heat for too long. Over the course of the race there were plenty of cheering crowds and even a few participants that made you forget about the heat and the distance. These runners braved the heat in costumes ranging from a banana, M&M and even Gumby. As the runner dressed in a chicken suit, I became well aware of how challenging 3.1 miles can be and give lots of credit to those who finished the 13.1 miles. We can all agree that running is hard enough as it is.
While the runners in the pack were holding a steady pace, 6 miles into the race, Ian Carr pulled away from Patrick Gavin, claimed by the tough conditions, and had a good lead coming in the last half of the race. The race was a straight shot back on St. Charles, on of the most scenic parts of the course. Even with the heat, the beautiful houses and classic views of The Upper Audubon area, make this course a favorite among racers. Finishing the final leg with speed, Ian Carr claimed the title with a time of 1:13. On the women’s side, Sarah Scotty won her fourth consecutive title, dominating the race in 1:18. Runners then crossed the finish line, mostly elated, to be finished running such a hot and unforgiving race.
Although this race was tougher than some expected, the pride and accomplishment that runners crossed the finish line with could be seen all over their face. As a bystander for the Half Marathon, cheering the runners into the finish, it was inspiring and motivating to the crowd to see such a feat accomplished in such conditions. Fantastic job, runners!