NEW ORLEANS, LA - Thousands of Crescent City Classic runners pounded the pavement with a purpose.
"I've been running off and on since I was about 13 years old," said Patrick Gavin, the First New Orleanian to cross the finish line.
With a number pinned to his chest and memories in his heart, Gavin finished the 10k in just under 36 minutes.
"It's actually the reason I got into running. My dad and I used to do this race. So this race definitely has a special place for me," said Gavin.
For many others, the tradition just began.
"I'm hoping to get past the finish line, and I run just for the fun of it," said Carla Bates, a first time participant.
While some runners wore bright costumes and bunny ears, others pushed strollers as families like the Capace's stood by for encouragement.
"I'm cheering on my wife Jessica," said supporter Scott Capace.
As the Capace's scanned the crowd for her sparkly red tutu, Scott Capace was proud to say his wife was completing an important milestone just by participating.
"She's been injured for about six months, this is her first race back," Capace said.
His kids spotted their mother and took off running alongside her, giving her and the runners around her an extra spirit boost.
Runners also got a boost of energy when they reached Esplanade and Claiborne from Bob Breck and the rest of the FOX 8 rehydration team.
With a high five and a cup of water, runners pushed on towards City Park as other Crescent City Classic participants have for decades.
"The race started in 1979, and it's been one of the most prestigious and oldest races in America as far as 10ks go," said Crescent City Classic's Ricky Thomas.
The race's history is one reason why this year's top female runner wanted to be apart of the Classic.
"I had a great time, it was one of the races I've wanted to run for many years," said Sara Slattery.
Slattery toured 10 kilometers of the city in just 34 minutes, while a very special someone waited for her at the finish line.
"This is one of my first races back since having my son, so it was a lot of fun today to have him and my husband out here," said Slattery while holding her son.
Race organizers said this year, more people from out of town came to race than ever before. All 50 states were represented along with runners from 17 countries.