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NEW ORLEANS -- The Crescent City Classic is a race that attracts more than 20,000 people to the city each year, bringing in runners from across the region, the country and the world.

But some runners said what happened to them after the race may keep them away next year.

'I found this orange slip on the car. And I noticed it on the other cars, but I thought maybe it was just a race coming up in the future,' runner Moe Ahmad said. 'But then I picked it up and it said 'violation for parking, $75 fine.''

Parking tickets could be seen on the windshield of every single vehicle parked on the neutral ground along Marconi Drive. Runners said they were stunned to find them on their vehicles, especially since some said they parked in the same spot last year and didn't get one then.

'Last year, I parked here and there were no tickets,' Ahmad said.

Mylan Pham, a volunteer with the Crescent City Classic, who was also parked on the Marconi neutral ground, agreed.

'We were helping out last year and we parked in the same spot last year, and it didn't happen to us,' she said.

However, there are signs posted along the neutral ground, which warn drivers not to park there, nor along the neutral ground's curb. Some drivers said they didn't see them.

'I just kind of followed the cars that were coming in, so I figured it must be okay,' said runner Seth Fraley.

'I didn't notice it,' Ahmad said. 'I was actually late coming to the race, so I just followed all the rest of the cars and thought, 'hey, I got a good parking spot.' But sure enough, come back and saw the ticket on the car.'

City officials didn't return a call for comment on Saturday. On Friday, though, the city's public works department sent out a notice, reminding drivers to '...park smart. All residential parking regulations will be enforced. Parking on the neutral ground and in no parking zones also will not be allowed.'

Yet, some runners in the Crescent City Classic said there should have been an exception this weekend, as thousands of people in town for the race combined with limited parking.

'Where are they supposed to park? I mean the side of the street doesn't have that many parking spaces,' Pham said.

'I'm not sure how much it's going to cost, but it's probably going to cost the city a whole lot more than that in lost tourism revenue, because this is a disgrace,' said Allen Jenkins, who drove in from Gulfport, MS for the race.

Some drivers said they plan to contest the parking ticket. If the $75 ticket is not paid within the next 30 days, the fine goes up to $150.

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