United Way of St. Charles event has grown to can’t-miss status

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

By Stephen Hemelt

LULING — It was an accomplishment 19 years ago when a couple hundred people gathered for United Way of St. Charles’ first fundraiser walk.

That was then.

Today, the event has grown into a yearly running extravaganza that raises thousands of dollars, is part of a regional bridge-running series and draws participants by the thousands.

In 2014, the event raised $32,000, and United Way of St. Charles Campaign and Marketing Manager Melissa Manning Frederick this year’s event March 28 is primed for more.

“It’s been amazing to watch our event grow from just a few hundred participants 19 years ago, to over 2,500 last year,” she said.

“Not only is the Bridge Run a fun, heart-healthy activity the entire community can enjoy, but it also raises funds and awareness for United Way of St. Charles.”

The 19th Annual 5K/10K Bridge Run/Walk March 28, presented by Norco Manufacturing Complex and co-presented by Valero St. Charles Refinery offers serious runners and casual walkers plenty of options.

The 5K race starts at 8:40 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 10K starts at 8:15 a.m. on the levee path across from The Seafood Pot in Destrehan and will join the 5K race near the East Bank Bridge Park.

Frederick said the 5K race has one of the most unique courses in the area and is the largest race over the Mississippi River in the country.

“The 10K race offers views of both Ormond and Destrehan Plantations and has drawn a large following from serious runners and those training for the following weekend’s Crescent City Classic,” she said. “The United Way of St. Charles Bridge Run is also the first race in the ‘Bridge Run Series,’ a collection of three road races across bridges in the Greater New Orleans area, which has also lead to an increase in regional participation.”

The Bridge Run Series features the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent Connection Race and the Huey P. Long Bridge Run, and participants who finish the three races receive a commemorative series finisher’s medal and are eligible for additional awards.

Locally, all participants who cross the finish line receive a commemorative race medallion.

Awards will be given in several categories, and this year’s race also features chip timing for all participants.

Registration is available for $35 per person by March 27. Day-of-race registration is available March 28 for $45. Children 17 and under and seniors 65 and older can pre-register for $25 or register on race day for $35.

To register for the race, visit uwaysc.org or register in person at the United Way office, 13207 River Road in Luling.

On-site registration is available from 5 to 7 p.m. March 27 at the Bridge Park in Luling.

After the Bridge Run, United Way of St. Charles is hosting post race activities at the Bridge Park in Luling until noon. Admission to the post race festivities is free.

Attendees can enjoy music by Reese Chaisson, food, inflatables and more.

United Way of St. Charles is a nonprofit organization, organizers said, that works to create lasting changes in St. Charles Parish by funding agencies and developing programs that target education, income and health.

For more information, call 985-331-9063.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: On March 28, the I-310 exit ramp in Destrehan closes at 8 a.m. All westbound traffic on the Hale Boggs Bridge will be one lane from approximately 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.