Every year since I could remember I’ve always told myself that I would do the Cooper River Bridge Run, and every year the event passes me by, so then I make another broken promise to participate the next year! Well, finally the year has come that I actually did what I said I was going to do. I participated in the 42nd Annual Cooper River Bridge Run!! Hooray for me, but I must admit that it was only because the opportunity fell into my lap thanks to my employer (who was one of the major sponsors)! My day started at 6:00 AM when I parked my car to board one of the school buses/shuttles that hauled us to the race area. Did you know that they now have seat belts and speakers on school buses? Obviously, it’s been a while since I’ve ridden on one.
Anyway, once at the race area the goal was to find the corral that correlated with your bib. I believe the corrals were based on the pace at which racers planned on starting the race. I am definitely a walker so I was designated to the last corral (J). The downside to being last is that we all started in the very back, therefore it was a longer distance to get to the official start line.
After waiting for what felt like an eternity, the race started promptly at 8:00AM. I only knew that it was starting because everyone around me started moving forward. I was expecting to hear a bell or loud sound to signify the race had started, but I didn’t. As we marched towards the start line there were lots of stop and go moments. I am assuming this was to give the corrals ahead of us an opportunity to completely get through the starting gate.
After passing the start line, it was about 1.5 – 2 miles to the bridge. There were lots of bystanders cheering us participants on and even volunteers handing out cups of water. There were also several live bands providing entertainment along the route.
Once on the bridge, the incline was the hardest part to get through. I was glad to have had a walking partner to chat with during that strenuous stretch. I noticed that talking while walking took the thought of how much my legs were hurting away. Before I knew it, we were over the incline and almost to the foot of the bridge.
The race continued through the streets of downtown Charleston and looped around to get back to Marion Square where the finish line was. I finished the race right under 3 hours. I would have finished sooner, but I did veer off of the route for a moment to stop into one of my favorite places to visit a few friends. After I passed the finish line, I was so relieved! By that time, my right ankle had started throbbing and walking had become almost unbearable.
Despite the soreness, I did manage to take a moment to scroll through Marion Square park to take in some of the bridge run festivities and to capture a photo with some of my co-associates. I was disappointed that some of the vendors had started breaking down their tables by the time I got there- I guess I should have completed the race sooner. 🤷🏾♀️ Since the festivities did not last as long as I expected, I headed for the shuttles to take me back to where my car was parked. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find the correct shuttle. In no time I was back to the place where I started and off to celebrate with a pizza lunch with my fellow co-associate! Overall, I thought the Cooper River Bridge Run was an awesome experience. I read that this 10K race is the 3rd largest in the United States and I am proud to have participated in such a tremendous event. I think that in all I walked over 8 miles! The race from the start to finish line was 6.1 miles.
Besides the fact that my feet are extremely sore and I may be limping for the next few days, I would likely do the bridge run/walk again. I felt safe along the route, the crowd was not overbearing and the event itself was well organized. I also especially enjoyed the Cooper River Bridge Run Expo in the days leading up to the bridge run. There were lots of nice treats and freebies for the participants. Maybe you all will see me participate in the race again next year, but for now, I am glad I could finally check this one thing off of my bucket list! 🏃🏿♀️✔