Thousands running to ‘beat the bridge’ on Saturday

The “bridge is back” for the 21st Annual United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run/Walk scheduled April 1 beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Last year, the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge was not available for use because of repairs, but this year it will be open to participants to race across its surface.

“I think it’s a great event for a community get-together and I think the people here have shown over the years that they really like it,” said Event Coordinator Tamara Plattsmier. “It’s an opportunity to cross the bridge, and you only get to do it once a year. I think that’s the big draw. They enjoy the view, and the after party.”

Also returning this year is the 10K run/walk with a new course along with the 5K run/walk. The longer run was not held last year due to the changes to the event route that were necessary.

Both races will begin at the same time at the East Bank Bridge Park and both will cross the bridge. But when the 5K ends, the 10K will continue up the West Bank levee.

Each participant will receive a T-shirt and medal with registration.

An after race party will be held at West Bank Bridge Park, featuring free food, including jambalaya supplied by Cornerstone, pastalaya by Valero and hot dogs by St. Charles Parish Public Schools. There will also be music by DJ Delerio, as well as inflatables and a rock wall for children to enjoy.

Plattsmier said last year’s event drew more than 2,300 participants.

“We’re hoping to see more people come out because it’s back on the bridge,” she said. “We had an incredible turnout last year.”

Parish President Larry Cochran will be the starter of the race. The event is presented by sponsors Norco Manufacturing Complex and Valero.

The event is part of the Bridge Run series along with the Huey P. Long and Crescent City Classic bridge runs. The Hale Boggs run will be a qualifying race for the Crescent City Classic.

Online registration closes today (March 30) at 8 a.m.  Those who do not register online may do so Friday (March 31) at the West Bank Bridge Park, at the United Way office, or on race day. It is $30 to register for most, but $20 for participants age 17 and under or 65 and older.

Free bus transport will be available from 6:30 – 7:55 a.m. for those parking at the East Bank Bridge Park.

“It’s something you can do with your kids,” Plattsmier said. “It’s all about family. And it gives people a chance to be healthy, be outside, enjoy the weather and do all of it with friends and co-workers.”

For more information, call United Way of St. Charles at (985) 331-9063 or e-mail tamarap@uwaysc.org.

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