One of the few road miles in New Orleans boasted a fantastic field comprised of some of both professionals and some of New Orleans’ top high school and post-collegiate runners. Word of 2016 Olympic Trials 1500 qualifier Frezer Legesse and former McNeese State standouts Brock Moreau and Jarrett Leblanc’s participation in the championship mile generated buzz in the days leading up to the race. They did not disappoint, with Legesse taking the win in 4:24 in championship field of 68. Moreau and Leblanc finished second and third, with Moreau turning in a time of 4:26 and Leblanc a 4:35. Brother Martin High School’s Hayden Courrege was the top local finisher, covering the course in 4:36.
On the women’s side Louisiana Distance Project’s Malia Cali dominated the women’s field. The former University of North Carolina athlete and multi-time high school state Championship for St. Thomas Aquinas posted a winning time of 5:06. Rounding out the women’s top three were Lindsay Yenni and Rachel Quintana, with finishing times of 5:26 and 5:40, respectively.
The championship race was not the only event of the day, however, as the open mile and youth half mile featured runners ranging from 2 to 72 years old. They spent their Friday evenings sweating it out for a tough mile, while afterwards enjoying live music, Abita beer and sno-balls on Edward Hynes Charter School’s campus. Notably, the number of race entries rose significantly from the previous year’s inaugural race, as this year’s 132 entries in the open events totaled over thirty more participants from the 2015 races.