Carr, Werhan win Huey P. Long race

Ian Carr of Kenner started running a couple of years ago because walking to work took too long.

Now he’s the first King of the Mississippi River Bridge Run Series.

Carr completed his sweep of the races across three spans of the river by winning the Great Huey P. Long Bridge Run segment of the series Sunday morning.

The race, which attracted more than 2,000 participants, was held in conjunction with ceremonies celebrating the completion of the $1.2 billion widening and renovation of the 78-year-old structure.

“This is an awesome feeling,” said Carr, who also captured the United Way of St. Charles run across the Hale Boggs Bridge in April and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Connection event held last week. “I knew today would be more challenging because it’s so hot and the incline’s steeper.

“But I really felt the support of the entire running community.”

Khanh Le of Raceland won the women’s division although she finished sixth Sunday after taking the first two legs of the series.

Charlotte Werhan of LaPlace was Sunday’s women’s winner.

Carr, 23, said he started running from his home to the Italian Pie in Kenner because walking took an hour — both ways. Running reduced the trek to 20 minutes.

“I just started out running and found out I was pretty good at it,” said Carr, who did not compete in track when he was in high school at Grace King. “I wish I’d known then what I know now.

“Maybe I could have gotten a scholarship to college or something.”

Sunday’s race was the closest of the three for Carr, who trailed Bryce Robinson of Luling most of the way, not actually passing him until the two had come down the ramp leading to Jefferson Highway and were making the turn to the finish line in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Carr finished in 16 minutes, 23 seconds with Robinson 3 seconds behind. Tim Landry of Baton Rouge was a distant third in 17:04.

“I was trying to pace myself more today because I figured it was going to be closer than the other two,” Carr said. “The hard part going’s up, but you don’t want to go too crazy when you start down.

“You want to save something for the end.”

Werhan, who did not enter the race until Saturday night, finished in 19:26, 11th overall, and a full 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Stacey Laborde of Metairie. Rosalie Teeuwen of Baton Rouge was third in 20:18.

Carr ran in the Hale Boggs and CCC races last year, but this was the first time that an award has been given to the overall winner.

“When I heard about this race, I knew I would sign up for all of them,” he said. “But I never expected to win them all.

“King of the Bridge Runners sounds pretty good though.”