Thibodaux Racing team Places in New Orleans Half Marathon

Gator Racing, a Thibodaux-based long-distance running team, achieved some tremendous feats at the 2020 Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll event this past weekend in New Orleans. 

The women’s team, consisting of Haley Gregoire (1:27), Khanh Labat (1:30), Charlotte Werhan (1:31) and Kensie Rose (1:36), placed third for women in the half marathon. 

“I was not expecting to do that at all,” said Gregoire, who just met the team last Wednesday. “I haven’t really been doing any type of specific training, so I was really surprised. I’m pretty mentally tough when it comes to just anything physical…I’m hard on myself as an athlete, so I knew going into it during the race, I was probably going to tap into that mindset.” 

Gregoire joined the team after speaking with her former coach, Stefanie Slekis, head cross country and track & field coach at Nicholls State University. Slekis, also a member of Gator Racing, recently earned two top 5 finishes while 8 months pregnant

Jory Billiot, founder of Gator Racing, commended the effort of the team. 

“They train unbelievably hard, and it’s exciting to see the reward,” Billiot said. “The craziest thing about it is that three of four of the girls on the team are mothers.”

“It’s such a confidence boost for them, knowing that they can compete on this level,” he continued. “I’m really looking forward to the next couple of weeks of training and everything else to see where that confidence is going to lead them.” 

The men’s team — Daniel Cockerham (1:14),  Ryan Barrow (1:14), Cory Bourg (1:18) and Brendan Kravet (1:34) — had an impressive outing as well, just missing the podium by placing 4th. 

“It’s phenomenal,” Billiot said. “We’re legitimately going against like elites. [The other teams] pretty much train as an occupation.” 

Billiot also noted the event attracts roughly 6,000 runners from across the country. 

Now in its third year, Gator Racing is no stranger to finishing in the top, especially in local races. Billiot said for all of the local running events members race in, they finish first through fifth practically every time. 

The group has roughly 40 members, whose ages range from around 20 to 60 years old. 

“The goal was to put together a real diverse group of ages and abilities,” Billiot said. “We wanted to just have a place where people could train.” 

Billiot said the team is in an open enrollment period right now. Anyone interested can visit Gator Racing Facebook page to inquire about joining. 

“If you’re serious about running and you have goals that you want to set for running, we want to do everything we can to help you meet those goals: nutrition, running gear or training schedules,” Billiot said. “We have a very experienced group of all ages and abilities that would love to help out.”