Nearly 5,000 people participated in the Ochsner Saints Back to Football 5k that took place early Saturday morning near Champions Square to kick off the 2012 Saints regular season.
The Saints open the regular season on Sunday at Noon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Washington Redskins.
"The Ochsner Back to Football 5k is a unique and festive way to kick off the 2012 Saints season and illustrate our excitement for football, the Saints' commitment to healthcare and our long-standing partnership with Ochsner," said Saints Owner/Vice Chairman Rita Benson LeBlanc prior to the event.
The race began at Champions Square and finished at the 50-yard line of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Runners entered the dome and ran through the same tunnel used by Saints players on game day. There was a post-race tailgate party with live entertainment in Champions Square.
4,497 adults participated in the race as groups began in waves starting at 7:30 a.m. Of the adults, 2,565 of the participants were women and 1,932 were men. Race Central maintained the timing and records of the race using electronic tags (D-Tag) on the runner's shoe.
The fastest time came from New Orleans native Vinnie Varisco, 39, who finished in 18:58.
Danielle Princiotta, 26, from Hattiesburg, Miss. completed the race in 20:48.
The oldest runner was Val Vogel, 82, from Kenner, La.
The fastest runner under 12 years old was Olivia Rhodes, 5, from Metairie, La. who finished in 28:17.
The Saints Back to Football 5k also included a "Play 60" half-mile run for kids. All participants in both races received Saints-branded sweatbands and a Saints 5k technical running shirt.
A portion of the proceeds from the race will benefit the 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee that will host this year's championship in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Results and photos from the Ochsner/Saints Back to Football 5k are available through NFL Run Series here.