By CAMILA VELLOSO — Runners gathered at Riverdale Park Station on Saturday morning to celebrate the first annual Mardi Gras 5K run.
Over 100 people registered to participate in the event and a total of 79 individuals ran in the timed course, which also included a 2-mile walk and a kids fun run.
“We just wanted to bring in a community event around the Mardi Gras theme,” said Elise Taylor, marketing coordinator for Riverdale Park Station. “This is our first year doing it, so we hope to build on it going forward,” she added.
Washington resident Steven Baumann placed first in this year’s race, finishing with a time of 18 minutes and 38 seconds, only a minute ahead of second-place finisher James Ortmann of Hyattsville.
“I feel great [and] I’m really happy,” said Baumann. “It was just total emotion in the last mile and running on fumes,” he added.
It was Baumann’s enthusiasm for the holiday that brought him to the run on Saturday.
“I went to college at Louisiana State University, so I’m always looking for a good Mardi Gras time,” he said. “It’s the best holiday of the year!”
In celebration of Mardi Gras, Baumann encourages people to “‘laissez les bons temps rouler,’ as they say in Cajun Country. It means ‘let the good times roll.’”
Runners approached the finish line to the tunes of The Grandsons, which helped capture the spirit of Mardi Gras.
“We chose them because they had an authentic New Orleans brass band sound,” Taylor said.
“The band is great [and] super appropriate,” said Hyattsville resident Heather Roymans. “It’s nice to have all of that Mardi Gras feel. I thought it was a really nice themed event,” she added.
College Park resident Meg Oates also commended the organization of the event and even performed her own feat.
“I did my personal best, so that’s also a very good thing,” said Oates.
After completing the course, which began and ended in Riverdale Park Station located at 6621 Baltimore Ave., participants could visit tents set up by local businesses.
“We welcomed pretty much any business, especially the ones that are health, fitness and family related to come here, table and promote as long as they’re part of the community,” said Taylor.
Many runners were especially looking forward to grabbing a post-race beer provided by Denizens Brewing Co., which is opening its second taproom in Riverdale Park this spring.
“I’m definitely going to get my free beer from Denizens and probably some more, and enjoy the debauchery until Ash Wednesday,” said Ortmann.
“I’m a huge fan [of Denizens],” said Roymans. “I’m really excited that they’re coming to Riverdale. They’re an awesome craft, local brewery and I’m really happy to have them here,” she added.
In addition to a Denizens beer, registered participants received coupons and giveaways from other local businesses, as well as a T-shirt and Mardi Gras beads.