Those enjoying the United Way’s annual Bridge Run on Saturday will see an unusual number of silly costumes. In the past, runners and walkers have made their mark with flamingo hats and other outrageous matching outfits, but this year the United Way will give awards to those who do just that.
Melissa Frederick, the campaign and marketing manager for the United Way of St. Charles, said she was flipping through pictures from previous years of the Bridge Run and was captivated by a group of women wearing identical flamingo hats with matching pink shirts.
"That was my favorite. It was so colorful," Frederick said. "We came up with the idea to get people to dress up by offering an award because it gives the Bridge Run a New Orleans flavor."
The United Way will give two awards for the best workout costume, one will be an individual award and the other will be for the best-dressed group. The winners will receive either cash or gift cards.
"We figured that the person winning the dress up contest wouldn’t want a trophy – they would want something they could use to shop," Frederick said.
In addition to the costume award, the United Way will also recognize the team who has the most members participating. Last year, Monsanto won the large bridge-shaped trophy.
This will also be the second year that the Bridge Run will have a 10K route. The 10K race begins in New Sarpy across from the Seafood Pot at 8:15 a.m. and will travel down the levee in front of Ormond Plantation, St. Charles Borromeo and Destrehan Plantation before uniting with the 5K runners and walkers at the foot of the Hale Boggs Bridge.
The 5K race starts at 8:30 a.m. at the East Bank Bridge Park in Destrehan and crosses the Hale Boggs Bridge to the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling.
The first 1,000 participants to cross the finish line will receive a commemorative race medallion. Frederick said the medallion is a heavy medal that includes a picture of the bridge along with the United Way logo. This year’s race will also feature chip timing for all participants.
Last year, 1,200 people took part in the Bridge Run, but Frederick expects more participation this year. She said that more people have already signed up for the 10K than took part last year.
"The 10K is growing and it is very popular," she said.
Pre-registration is available for $25 per person by April 5. Participants can also register on race day for $30. Children 17 and under and seniors 65 and older can pre-register for $15 or register race day for $20.
To register for the race, visit www.uwaysc.org or register in person at the United Way office located at 13207 River Road in Luling. On-site registration is also available Friday, April 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Bank Bridge Park in Luling and on race day starting at 6:30 a.m.
After the Bridge Run, residents can listen to music by Reese Chaisson, chow down on food, play games and enjoy massages at the Luling bridge park until 12 p.m. Admission is free.
Last year, Micah Tirop and Sarah Skotty defended their titles at the Bridge Run with 5K finish times of 5:27 and 17:50, respectively.
Each racer won $500.