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Cooper River Bridge Run 2012

It’s not just about running anymore 35 years after its humble start, the Cooper River Bridge Run is still setting records, growing and adapting BY DAVID QUICK


arch 31 marks the 35th anniversary of the Cooper River Bridge Run. And while race officials have nothing specific to celebrate this particular anniversary, it’s worth pondering how much the world, and the race, have changed since the first was held April 2, 1978. On that date, gas cost about 63 cents a gallon, “Annie Hall” won the Academy Award for best picture and President Jimmy Carter was about to postpone production of the neutron bomb. And the first Bridge Run — which cost $3 to enter — started at Patriots Point, used one lane of the Silas N. Pearman Bridge and finished at White Point Garden. Of the 766 finishers, 85 percent were men. By contrast, this year’s race and walk reached its cap of 43,000 on March 8, cost $40 (some paid $150 for a charity bib), and will likely draw about 36,000 actual finishers — give or take 2,000 — depending on weather. And about 60 percent of finishers will be female.

Setting the stage


In many ways, the 35th Bridge Run is all about change. Last year, the Bridge Run implemented a staggered “wave” start, sending groups of corraled runners off in intervals of three minutes. It improved the flow of runners and walkers so much that Bridge Run officials extended the cap from 40,000 registrants to 43,000. Tweaking the wave start this

year, officials expanded the number of corrals. But that’s just part of the changes to the race. Emulating the popular Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series, the Bridge Run added musical acts along the course and tapped into “American Idol” for its headline act. The music was a hit, particularly among slower runners, walkers and spectators. Music continues this year with the addition of Taylor Hicks, winner of the fifth American Idol, and 10 other musical acts along the 6.2-mile course and at the finish festival.

Drawing spectators

While the intent of the music is for the runners, it may have another benefit: Drawing spectators to the course. (See theBridge Run map on Pages 14-15 for locations and descriptions of bands.) Watching people run or walk gets old fast, but throw in a little music — and the participant reaction to the music — and the run becomes more like a parade. In recent years, the popularity of wearing costumes has grown and appears ready to continue since the Bridge Run started offering people the opportunity to register as part of a team. Last year, 503 teams participated. And while corporate teams have big numbers — Boeing has 1,500 and Bosch nearly 400 — the most spirited and likely costumed are the groups of friends who sign up with team names such as “Blood, Sweat & Beers” and “99 problems but the Bridge Run ain’t one.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT


Another incentive for dressing up in costume? This year, the Bridge Run upped the ante by offering a $1,000 prize to the runner or walker with the best costume. And while it’s fun for the participants, the music and costumes are making the Bridge Run a better spectator event.

Taste of the Bridge Run

What do people love as much or more as music and creative costumes? Food, of course. And the Bridge Run seized on that attraction last year with the first Taste of the Bridge Run. Last year, 12 restaurants offered samples of their favorite dishes under a tent next to Gaillard Auditorium. This year, 25 restaurants will participate in the Taste of the Bridge Run at two locations, Gaillard and HarborSide East, located at 28 Bridgeside in Mount Pleasant. And next year, Race Director Julian Smith wants to expand it to three locations, adding the North Charleston Convention Center in North Charleston to the mix.

Expanding to North Charleston

That’s where the Cooper River Bridge Run Expo will be held in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Bridge Run staff has wanted to move it from Gaillard Auditorium for two years because the race had outgrown that site, but the executive committee changed plans to move it after objections from Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley. The Gaillard, however, is going to be closed for major renovations later this year and the Bridge Run put out a request for proposals at multiple locations last year. They selected the convention center for its size and location near interstates 26 and 526. The move is not only expected to ease traffic on the peninsula the Friday before the race, but provide the Bridge Run with more room for the expo. Smith said the move will allow the Bridge Run to expand the expo from 110 booths to 300. He’s already in talks with Reebok “to do something really big” for 2013. Smith added that he has had to turn away about 50 exhibitors from this year’s expo because Gaillard is at capacity.

Getting greener


For years, the Bridge Run has phased in efforts to be more eco-friendly, starting with recycling some of the plastic and cardboard generated during and after the race. Last year, 7,780 pounds of trash and 30,000 pounds of plastic bottles and cardboard were collected and processed, according to Karen Hauck, who spearheads the Bridge Run’s environmental endeavors. That continues this year with the collaboration of Sonoco Recycling and Fisher Recycling, which not only will recycle plastic and cardboard, but will collect paper


Study pegs economic impact at $18.3 million BY DAVID QUICK Dr. Harry Davakos, a professor of sports management at The Citadel’s health, exercise and sports science department, left the Bridge Run board in 2010 after a 13-year stint. Since he is no longer affiliated with the Bridge Run, he is able to conduct studies on it and build data on the race. Last year, Davakos conducted the third economic impact study on the event and the first since 2007. He plans to conduct an economic study every two years and other studies in between. “There are other impacts of the Bridge Run that aren’t economic,” he said. The 2011 study was based on 2,658 survey responses in the four days after the 34th annual Bridge Run. It focused primarily on the 63 percent identified as tourists, or those who lived 60 miles or more from the Charleston area, because they are more likely to spend money on hotels and food. Of the total respondents, 83 percent were runners and 17 were walkers, with 64 percent female and 36 percent male. HIGHLIGHTS $18.3 million. . . . . . . . .Total direct impact $1.1 million . . . . . . . . . Total entrance fees $4.2 million. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hotel income (based on 18,181 people) $189,102 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Expo revenue RESTAURANT INCOME $4.6 million. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fancy $3.7 million . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Casual/dine-in $2.3 million. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fast food HOUSEHOLD INCOME 11 percent . . . . . . . . . . . .$200,000 or more 36 percent. . . . . . . . . . $100,000-$200,000 36 percent. . . . . . . . . . . .$50,000-$100,000 EDUCATION LEVEL 45 percent. . . College degree (four years) 25 percent. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Master’s degree 6 percent . . . . . . .Doctoral (or equivalent) PARTICIPATION LEVELS, 2011 23 percent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First time 41 percent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2010 33 percent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2009 83 percent. . . . . . .Number who said they would participate in 2012 8 • COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN 2012


goods, fruit peels, bagels and other nonmeat food items in bins for composting. Meanwhile, last year’s “Racelet,” a wristband with a USB port, has been replaced with a “Digital Passport,” a credit cardsized card with a flip-up port that will contain articles and coupons that used to be printed.

Gaining diversity

As stated previously, females have overtaken males in participation in the Bridge Run. While that’s partly because of the Bridge Run adding walkers with timing chips, meaning they are counted in the official numbers, the trend for more women running is being seen locally and nationally. Bridge Run historian and archivist Ced-

ric Jaggers said the 1978 race included 653 males and 113 females. “Female participation grew a few percentage points every year,” Jaggers said. “In 1986 the 1,202 female finishers (22.6 percent of participants) marked the first time any race in South Carolina had over 1,000 female finishers.” By comparison, last year’s Bridge Run had the largest percent of female finishers at 59 percent. And while the most recent running boom can be attributed to women running charity events such as Race for the Cure and the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training, another boom appears on the horizon: black women. This year’s Bridge Run will include several chapters of the relatively new Black Girls

RUN!, which has spread across America like wildfire thanks to Facebook. Chapters emerged via Facebook and the first one was formed in Charleston in October.

Giving back

And finally, the Bridge Run is trying to tap its power to improve life for others. In 2007, officials selected three charities in its first-ever “Charity Connection” program that allowed runners to give to charities. The program now includes 12 charities: the American Diabetes Association, the Semper Fi Fund, Water Missions International, the Medical University of South Carolina’s Children’s Hospital Fund, The Alzheimer’s Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Lowcountry, Louie’s Kids, SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT



Country’s 20 largest races in 2010


Distinguished runners Irv Batten (above)

When Irv Batten found out he was going to be inducted into the Cooper River Bridge Run Hall of Fame, he was honored and humbled. Then he learned he would be joined by Benji Durden, the first winner of the Bridge Run, and the honor was amplified beyond belief. “I looked up to him when I was a runner (in high school and college). I can remember reading about him winning the Bridge Run,” recalls Batten, who ran crosscountry and track for Baptist College (now Charleston Southern University) in the early 1980s. Batten, 48, has earned his place among the running legends of the Bridge Run in several ways, as competitive runner, coach, a leader in the Charleston Running Club and owner of On The Run running store. Batten said other local runners already inducted in the hall of fame add to his honor. Among them are Marc Embler, Tom Mather, Bob Schlau, Ed Ledford and Terry Hamlin. In all, the Bridge Run has inducted 40 people into the hall of fame since its 25th anniversary in 2002. The induction ceremony will be held atnoon on March 30 at Harborside East in Mount Pleasant. Gail Bailey and Dave Mellard will join Batten and Durden in being induced this year.


Benji Durden

In the first Bridge Run, held in 1978, Durden was so fast that he passed a bicyclist who struggled to crest the Silas N. Pearman Bridge ahead of him. A miler at the University of Georgia, Durden would excel at the marathon and qualified for the 1980 Olympic Marathon. He didn’t compete because of the boycott of the games by the United States. Durden later won the 1982 Houston Marathon. Now living in Colorado, Durden is still chasing marathon goals, namely to run one in every state.

Gail Bailey

Gail Bailey was pregnant as she watched her husband complete the Bridge Run in 1978. She vowed to be on the starting line the following year and became an avid runner and Bridge Run participant. Bailey’s love of running has continued and branched out to coaching, namely at Ashley Hall.

Dave Mellard

The Bridge Run lost one of its legends on May 11 with the passing of Dave Mellard at age 89. Described as one of the first “Ironmen of the Cooper River Bridge Run,” Mellard participated in 29 consecutive Bridge Runs starting with the first one in 1978. — David Quick

1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K, Atlanta.: . . . 50,918 2. Lilac Bloomsday Run, 12K Spokane, Wash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50,721 3. Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K, Boulder, Colo.: . . . . . . . 50,477 4. ING New York City Marathon, New York.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44,977 5. Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36,088 6. Cooper River Bridge Run, 10K Charleston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33,057 7. OneAmerica 500 Festival Half-Marathon, Indianapolis . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31,046 8. Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, Richmond, Va. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30,853 9. EIF Revlon Run for Women: LA 5K, Los Angeles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28,905 10. Blue Cross Broad Street Run 10 Mile, Philadelphia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26,266 11. Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, Chicago. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25,574 12. ING Bay to Breakers 12K, San Francisco.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24,543 13. Country Music Half-Marathon, Nashville. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23,799 14. Boston Marathon, Boston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22,672 15. Honda LA Marathon, Los Angeles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22,580 16. Marine Corps Marathon, Washington, D.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21,944. 17. Army Ten-Miler Washington, D.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21,744 18. P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half-Marathon, Phoenix . . . . . . . . 21,567 19. Pat’s Run 4.2 Mile, Tempe, Ariz.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20,641 20. Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half-Marathon, San Antonio . . . . . . . . . . . . 20,436 SOURCE: USA Running’s Road Running Information Center. (2010 is the most updated listing.)

Charleston Miracle League, American Cancer Society, Lowcountry Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and Camp Happy Days. Part of the fundraising effort is the sale of 1,200 charity bibs — 100 designated for each of the 12 charities. The bibs sell for $150 each. New this year is the introduction of Crowdrise, a social media site allowing people to create an online page to collect pledges, to support the Charity Connection organizations. Some of the Bridge Run’s corporate sponsors also raise money for specific charities. Bi-Lo is expected to raise $30,000 to $40,000 for in its “Circle of Champions” campaign and Chick-fil-A about $10,000 in its “Round up for Kids” for the MUSC Children’s Hospital. The Bridge Run itself doles out $25,000 worth of mini-grants for groups promoting health and fitness in the Lowcountry through its fund with the Coastal Community Foundation.

Solo efforts

Meanwhile, others have been using the Bridge Run for their own charitable endeavors for years. Since 2007, Channing Proctor has used running the Bridge Run to “piggy back”

a fundraiser for the Charleston Miracle League, a baseball league for children with disabilities. In that time, the “Bridging the Gap Through Baseball” effort has raised more than $100,000 to fund its programs and his new Play Today! Foundation. This year presents a new challenge for Proctor, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December. While undergoing chemotherapy, Proctor has vowed to walk the Bridge Run course and started a pledge site on www. A new effort, by Bridge Run Hall of Famer Terry Hamlin, is seeking to raise $50,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and in appreciation of the Bridge Run’s creation of the Terry Hamlin Mobility Impaired Division for the top finishers who have suffered an amputation. Wounded Warrior provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and transition to civilian life. Hamlin lost his left leg years ago. The injury gave him a very personal look at the pain, suffering and mobility issues that severely injured people experience. While a fundraiser dinner on March 28 has sold out, he still is seeking donations at Wounded Warrior project. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT



Get used to mad scramble for race bibs

The 35th Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk sold out faster than it ever has — 23 days before the race this year — and if the trend holds, it will continue to sell out earlier and earlier. Don’t believe me? A year ago, the Bridge Run sold out 10 days before the race. Two years ago, it sold out three days before the race. Gone are the days when you can show up on Friday night and sign up. Race officials had predicted a sellout by the first week of March. They also spread the word that the only option after that would be $150 charity bibs, limited to 1,200. This, by the way, comes in conjunction with the Bridge Run increasing its cap for regular entries from 40,000 to 43,000. Regardless, this hasn’t sat well with procrastinators, some of whom claim the $150 bib charge is “gouging.” But it is worth noting that the money is for charity. And this happens in popular races across the country, notably the Peachtree Road Race and the Chicago and New York City marathons. Long-time local race manager Chuck Magera, who helps with the Bridge Run, knows this saga too well. “That (selling out of bibs) is a part of life for good races,” said Magera, adding that he even had to explain to his procrastinating sister that the higher-priced bibs were for good causes.

Hitting Craigslist

Punch “Cooper River Bridge Run” into Craigslist in the past few weeks and you can read the desperation: “I am interested in purchasing two Cooper River Bridge Run. I promised a dear friend that I would take care of the purchase weeks ago, I forgot to now they are sold out and I am in a bind. Please help if can not attend!!! “Need 2 Bridge Run entries for a local procrastinating runner and his girlfriend! Will pay transfer fees! Please Help, girlfriend not happy with me!! ... “ “I am looking for 2 cooper river bridge run packets. I will pay you for your packets (bibs, tracking device) if you aren’t planning on running. please contact me at email listed. Thank you!” And this is just Craigslist. Many locals will trade bibs via word of mouth, as they have for years.

The pitfalls

Every year, problems arise from exchanging bibs without alerting the Bridge Run staff of the changes. The problems range from the potential of an emergency — and races have them — to messing up the age groups. For example, a man will wear a bib originally registered to a woman and win first place in the age group. Or a 21-yearold track star will don the bib of her 71-year-old grand12 • COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN 2012

Waves of runners move through the starting line during last year’s Bridge Run. mother and set a world record for the age group. It goes on and on. Displacing age-group winners isn’t a major problem in the greater scheme, but it does upset some people, who inevitably get mad at the Bridge Run organizers.

OK to transfer

Asking a person to pay $10 to transfer information on a bib may be a hard sell for someone already upset about having to scramble to get in the race, but it’s the right thing to do. To do so, go to the “Problems and Changes” room during the Bridge Run Expo from noon-8 p.m Thursday or 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday at the Gaillard Auditorium. The room is located at the top of the staircase that goes from the ground floor of the auditorium.


Growing slowly

Ultimately, the issue arises from trying to maintain the quality of the Bridge Run. If the race were uncapped, it could be pushing the 50,000 mark by now. And certainly, race director Julian Smith would like to see those numbers. But Smith, the Bridge Run executive board and the staff realize that growing the race in a steady controlled way is the only way to keep people coming back. The staggered wave start was implemented in 2011 to control the flow of runners and walkers. Its success is the primary reason the Bridge Run added 3,000 more spots this year. As the Bridge Run officials ease their way toward 50,000, bear in mind that the time to start thinking about signing up for the Bridge Run is New Year’s and not the day before the race. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT



35th Cooper River Bridge Run

Music on the run

The 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run starts 8 a.m. March 31. Use this page as a reference to know where to line up at the start, where to watch the race or how to get to the start. Read The Post and Courier and all week to stay in the know on race updates, results, background, race tips and more.

Adande African Drummers

Drum Island Mile 3


Seabreeze Band Two 3 Ways


Expo and packet pickup


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Yellow Who: Elite runners who range from invited athletes to the very best in local runners. Limited to 100 runners.

Moultrie Middle School

Blue Who: Runners expected to finish in under 40 minutes. Limited to 1,000 runners.

Yellow and Blue start at the gun SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT

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Goes from Fountain Walk downtown to the Yorktown, then short bus ride to start. 6:30 a.m. Saturday and runs until 1 p.m. (Sold out)


Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant and the bike/ped lane on the Cooper River bridge closes at 6:30 a.m. The bridge closes, both ways, at 7 a.m. Race route reopens after last participants pass by and the roadways are cleaned. For more on closures, go to

Shuttle bus drop-off

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Juke Joint Johnny & Drew Baldwin

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Corrals and the Wave Start

Participants are assigned to color-coded corrals and number-coded sub-corrals. Yellow and blue corrals, which include elite and sub-40 minute runners, start at the 8 a.m. gun. Subsequent sub-corrals follow in "waves" at three-minute intervals. Following last year's first-ever wave start at the Bridge Run, organizers added two Shemyear extra sub-corrals this Creeekto further improve the flow of people along the course.


Before the race: Buses leave from Gaillard Auditorium at Calhoun and Anson streets from 5–6:45 a.m. Riders must be in line by 5:30 a.m. Shuttles will drop participants onto Coleman Boulevard behind the start. After the race: Buses will also return participants from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. after the race. Sweat shuttle: will take bags from the start until 8 a.m. for retrieval at the finish festival.

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Sub-corrals A & B Who: Runners expected to finish under 49 minutes. Limited to 7,000 runners.

Sub-corrals C,D,E & F Who: Runners expected to finish in 49 to 60 minutes. Limited to 14,000 runners.

Sub-corrals G,H & I Who: Runners expected to finish in over 60 minutes. Limited to 12,000 runners.

Orange Sub-corrals J & K Who: All walkers must start in this corral. Limited to 12,000 walkers.

The Mighty Kicks: Opening for Hicks at the festival will be the Mighty Kicks, a beach music band which originated in Orangeburg in 1986. They will be joined by nine other musical acts playing along the race course: Hitman Blues Band: Described as the “rockier side of blues.” Playing in front of Shem Creek Park on Coleman Boulevard.

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P F Free & discounted parking During ur the Expo: Bridge Run participants can park free for two hours at three different garages - Visitor’s Center Parking Garage on Mary Street (between King and Meeting streets), S.C. Aquarium Garage on Calhoun (between East Bay and Concord streets), and Gaillard Auditorium Garage on Alexander Street (between Calhoun and George streets), noon-8 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday. For the Bridge Run: Overnight parking for the Bridge Run will be available at the above mentioned garages at a special rate of $5 beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, until 2:00 PM on Saturday.

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What: Nearly 30 local restaurants offer samples of favorite dishes. When: 5-8 p.m. Friday. Where: Gaillard Auditorium, under a tent in Charleston and HarborSide East, 28 Bridgeside, in Mount Pleasant. Cost: $15/person.

Coleman Blvd. near Simmons St.

Mile 1

Concord St.

Taste of the Bridge Run


Luckyman Beall

Start line

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Rev. Marv Ward

Palmetto Soul

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The Mighty Kicks open for Taylor Hicks


When: 2-7 p.m. Friday; races start at 5 p.m. Where: Hampton Park, next to The Citadel's campus. Registration: $8 at Thursday's expo; $10 at event Friday. Parking: Stoney Field parking area near Johnson Hagood stadium.

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When: March 29 from noon to 8 p.m. and March 30 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Where: Gaillard Auditorium

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Taylor Hicks: The headlining music act for the 35th Cooper River Bridge Run is Taylor Hicks, who in 2006 won the fifth season of "American Idol." Hicks will sing the National Anthem before the start of the Bridge Run and will perform with his band at the finish festival at Marion Square.



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Palmetto Soul: "Variety band" caters to weddings and corporate events. Next to Juanita Greenberg's on Coleman Boulevard. Super Deluxe: Party band plays everything from hip hop to jazz and rock. Playing at the base of bridge on Mount Pleasant side. Two 3 Ways: Cover band ranges from the Dave Matthews Band to Marvin Gaye. At the crest of bridge (spectators not allowed). Adande African Drummers: local drum group will provide high energy drumming as runners come off the bridge. Seabreeze Band: Gospel group will lift up spirits at Mile 5. Performing in the parking lot of Church's Chicken on Meeting Street. Rev. Marv Ward: Blues singer will bring the music of the Mississippi bayou to King Street in front of Midtown Bar & Grill. Luckyman Beall: Part rockabilly, part blues and part rockabilly blues. Playing in front of Hall's Chophouse on upper King Street.


Juke Joint Johnny & Drew Baldwin: Duo plays swing, jazz and vintage blues in front of Jim & Nick's Barbecue on King Street.

Each subsequent sub-corral will start at 3-minute intervals COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN 2012 • 15

Speedsters compete in last year’s Cooper River Bridge Kids Run at Hampton Park.

Play time

Bridge Run fun doesn’t begin in the runners’ corrals or end at the finish line. Runners, spectators and nonathletic types can find plenty of ways to tap into the excitement of the Cooper River Bridge Run. BY ALLISON NUGENT


Bridge Run Expo

You don’t have to compete in the Cooper River Bridge Run to walk through its two-day expo, which features an array of sports apparel and food vendors offering free and discounted goods, as well as coupons. The Expo will be held noon-8 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday at the Gaillard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St. Of the 140 vendor indoor and outdoor booths, Bi-Lo and many of its food vendors will be offering free samples of food and beverages at 33 booths. Coors and Miller will offer small samples of beer. Chobani yogurt will have three booths. Meanwhile, the National Running Center, which provides discounted running clothes and gear, will have 12 booths. Other sports vendors include TrySports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, the Sportsman Shop/T&T Sports and The Foot Store. Along with Bi-Lo, other Bridge Run sponsors with booths include Boeing and The Post and Courier. Bridge Run “Charity Connection” organizations, such as Water Missions International and the American Cancer Soci-


ety, will have information, along with anarray of other groups such as the Charleston Running Club.

Kids Expo and Fun Run

This one is all about the kiddos. From 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, tiny trotters will take over Hampton Park next to The Citadel. Featuring a “Toddler Woddler” event for ages 0-4 at 5 p.m., quarter-mile runs for ages 5-6 and 7-10 at 5:15 p.m. and 5:20 p.m., respectively, and “Mile in Style” for ages 10-13, this event always has people laughing and smiling. In addition to the runs, other possible entertainment includes a climbing wall, petting zoo, jump castles and slides, face painting, live entertainment and music, arts and crafts, pony rides and more. Registration costs $8, $10 at the event, with a T-shirt; it’s free without a T-shirt. Go to for more.

Taste of the Bridge Run

Everyone knows that carb-loading before a run is a SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT

must. The folks behind the Bridge Run have got you covered. In its second year, this pasta dinner features dishes from local restaurants such as Rue de Jean, Halls Chophouse, 17 North Roadside Kitchen, Bricco Bracco, Iacofano’s and Virginia’s on King. On the sweet side, Cupcake, Glaze and more will tempt you. The event will be held in two locations, Gaillard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St., and Harborside East, 28 Bridgeside Blvd. in Mount Pleasant, from 5-8 p.m. Friday. Shrimp City Slim will be performing at the Gaillard. Tickets are $15 and a portion of the proceeds will go toward establishing a culinary scholarship at the Art Institute of Charleston. Check out for details.

‘Running to The Beat’

On Friday, The Hippodrome, 360 Concord St., Suite 100 (next to the South Carolina Aquarium) is hosting a night for runners to “relax their minds and muscles.” From 6-9 p.m., Joe Clarke and his 19-piece Big Band will be performing jazz and swing music of the big band era and beyond. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Alcohol will be available for purchase. Go to www.charleston for more info.

Finish Festival

The race after-party from 8:30 a.m.-noon at Marion Square (bound by King, Calhoun and Meeting streets) will include a little of everything. Live entertainment will be provided by the likes of “American Idol” alum Taylor Hicks. The Orangeburg dance band The Mighty Kicks! will open for him.


Vendors will be set up around the perimeter. Souvenirs, food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Also on the square will be the InTown Discounts Buck Truck, which will be filled with dollar bills totaling $1,000. Those who want to give it a whirl will have 30 seconds to catch as many as they can. Around 10 a.m., a costume contest will be held. The prize? $1,000. (For examples of some of the crazy characters from runs past, check out Pages 22-23.)

Bloody Mary Throwdown

After the Bridge Run on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 12 restaurants and bars from Charleston will be competing for bloody mary honors. Coast, Macintosh, Voo Doo, Closed for Business, Basil, Cocktail Club, Fiddlers, Fleet Landing, Roost, Social and Poogan’s Porch will be among the movers and shakers. Tickets, which are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, include samples of all competitors. Food from 17 North and HomeTeam BBQ, as well as other alcoholic beverages, will be available for purchase. Reggae music by The Dubplates will provide the soundtrack for this throwdown at The Hippodrome, 360 Concord St., Suite 100 (next to the South Carolina Aquarium). Go to for more.

‘Bash After the Bridge’

Another post-Bridge Run event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. will be held on the other side of the river at the Omar Shrine Temple and Convention Center, 176 Patriots Point Blvd. in

Mount Pleasant. Eddie Bush and his band will perform. Food including hamburgers, fish tacos and hot dogs will be available for purchase. Water, soda and beer also will be for sale.

‘The Official Post Bridge Run Party’

Sponsored by Blue Moon Beer, Red’s Ice House, Stage Presence and Lee Distributors, this party has all the makings of a memorable evening. From 6-11 p.m. Saturday at the Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed, 375 Meeting St., enjoy live music from the Blue Dogs and a variety of “special guests.” Barbecue, Lowcountry boil, beer and wine are included in the ticket price, which is $40 in advance, $50 at the gate. Go to for more.

‘After the Bridge Run Ride’

While Saturday will be for running and walking the Cooper River bridge, Sunday will be for biking in the Francis Marion National Forest. This annual ride — featuring ride distances of 100, 62.5, 45, 33, 25 and 10 miles — will start at 8 a.m. Sunday at Awendaw Green, 4879 U.S. Highway 17 North in Awendaw. The cost is $40 for single bikes, $60 for tandems and $20 for a family fun ride and includes post-ride food and music at Awendaw Green. In-person registration and packet pick-up will be at the Trek store in Mount Pleasant 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. More at

David Quick contributed to this report.

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If you can catch them at a young age, we can expose them to skills that will empower their lives. — Kathy Jackson, Junior Girls Day Out Community Project DAVID QUICK/THE POST AND COURIER

Bridge Run serves as tool to teach health BY DAVID QUICK

For many, running the Cooper River Bridge Run is just the kickoff of a fun weekend and the glorious Lowcountry spring. But increasingly, local nonprofits are using it as a teaching tool for youths to learn about leading a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime. Among the groups is the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project, established in 2007 by Kathy Jackson to give girls ages 7-12 the practical skills, taught in a fun, interactive way, to lead productive lives. “If you can catch them at a young age, we can expose them to skills that will empower their lives,” said Jackson, stressing that the project’s programs are open to anyone and strives to be multicultural. This is the second year that Junior Girls has used the Bridge Run as the culmina18 • COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN 2012

tion of a nine-week, twice-a-week Junior Girls Champion Fitness Club, which is assisted by student volunteers from the College of Charleston. Lashawnda Singleton, 11, of West Ashley Middle School returned to participate this year because the Bridge Run was “cool and fun.” “I saw a lot of different people and they had on costumes. There were men with costumes on,” she recalls. So far this year, she enjoyed a trip the group made to Sam’s Club, where they were tasked with a scavenger hunt to fill the recommended U.S. Department of Agriculture food plate (half vegetables and fruit, quarter grain and quarter protein) with items found in the store. Other field trips were to Harris Teeter,

where a Medical University of South Carolina student taught them to read labels; to the Vegetable Bin, where Michael Bailey talked to them about different produce; and to Lucky’s Southern Grill, where they learned to make a healthier version of macaroni and cheese. The Junior Girls Fitness Club is teaching others as well, namely student volunteers who met with the girls and then actually will walk or run with three or four during the 10K. Among them are students in Michael Flynn’s freshman seminar called “A Bridge Too Far? Sport Physiology and the Cooper River Bridge Run.” Flynn said that while he teaches about physiology, sports nutrition and training, part of the freshman seminar experience is to get students into the community. The class and Junior Girls are a nice fit. Last year, Flynn, along with his wife and some students, went to the St. Julian Devine Community Center every Saturday morning to work with the girls. “The college students were only required to do two Saturdays during the semester, but many of them kept coming to make sure the girls were trained well enough to walk the bridge,” Flynn said. “It’s great that the girls get exposed to the

College of Charleston students and vice versa. Some nice friendships have formed, and the girls really miss the college students on the days that they are unable to attend.” Flynn adds, “I look forward to the day when I meet one of the girls on campus, perhaps in a freshman seminar class, and they tell me they remember the bridge run training.” Volunteer Eva Karam, who is a Medical University of South Carolina graduate student and researcher studying lupus, has been a regular with the group this year. Karam loved running the bridge last year and met Jackson at a volunteer fair at MUSC. “I started working with Kathy because I’m passionate about fitness and I was looking to get more involved in the community,” said Karam, a native of Palestine. “I’m really into showing them little things they can do in their lives that can help them in their health and avoid problems like obesity,” Karam said. The message seems to be getting through. For example, last week, two girls were eating cheese curls and pretzels. They asked if the pretzels were the healthier options and Karam said they were. “We try not to tell them what not to do, but what to do,” Karam said. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT



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Do you like fog? Do you like heat? Do you like traffic delays? Well, the ninth Bridge Run got them all. In those days, my wife Kathy and I carpooled from the finish beside the Federal Building on Meeting Street to the starting line with Dennis and Beverly Hiott. Kathy said she needed to use the portable toilet before we drove to Mount Pleasant, but I insisted we wait until we got over the bridge

because it was foggy. I was concerned it would take too long and we wouldn’t be able to get a good parking place. Little did we know. We were driving across the bridge at about 7:20 a.m. when right behind us there was a huge crash involving a bus and a car. The bridge was completely blocked. The next day’s newspaper reported between 300 and 500 runners were trapped on the bridge when the race was started at 9 a.m., 30 minutes later than the scheduled start time. I remember seeing some runners get out of their cars and join the race (no chip timing back then). Meanwhile, the temperature kept climbing and it was 72 degrees with bright sunshine when the race started, making it the second hottest Bridge Run.


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Picture just over 1,000 runners gathered at the starting line in the parking lot in front of the aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. There was a huge bottleneck of runners as the road narrowed to get out to Coleman Boulevard, where we turned left and headed up one lane of the Silas N. Pearman Bridge, the “new bridge” as it was called at the time. That’s right, runners were on one lane only of the three-lane bridge and cars were heading towards us in the other two lanes. I remember a guy in a Chevrolet leaning out of the window of his car and yelling at me ‘What the (expletive) is going on?” It was only the second Bridge Run and most people in the area didn’t even know it was happening. The 1,015 official finishers made the Cooper River Bridge Run the largest race in the state that year and it has been the largest every year since. It was the last time the race used just one lane. The race was moved to the two-lane Grace Memorial Bridge until 1995, when the race moved back to the Silas N. Pearman Bridge and used all three lanes.

Editor’s Note: Cedric Jaggers is author of “Charleston’s Cooper River Bridge Run: A Complete History In Words And Photographs,” published by Evening Post Books in 2011.





A long time ago in a Galaxy far away ... wait, that was a movie. Let’s start again. A long time ago over a river not so far away, there was not a race. Then, beginning in 1978, there was the Cooper River Bridge Run. Since then, I’ve run 33 in a row — I missed the first one because of a broken leg. As we approach the 35th annual Bridge Run, here are the three most memorable moments for me.



BY CEDRIC JAGGERS Special to The Post and Courier

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It was 50 degrees and raining the morning of the 13th Bridge Run. But exactly as the starting gun was fired, the rain stopped. The wind also died down, making all us happy. Coincidentally, a Kenyan wearing race number 13 won the race. So has it ever rained during a Bridge Run? Once, in 2005. It was the last year the race went over the Silas N. Pearman Bridge before it was torn down. I remember standing around waiting for the race to start wearing a plastic bag for protection from the rain. The race started and the rain continued.

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Dawn of a new era

I have a couple of other images from different years in my mind: 2003: Running up the Pearman Bridge and seeing the construction of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. 2006: The first race on the new Ravenel Bridge, looking to the right as we ran over it and seeing the still-standing pieces of the two old bridges. Hey, maybe someday when the Bridge Run is 70 years old, somebody will sit down and write about a race held long ago. A race in 2012 called the Cooper River Bridge Run.

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Lorcan Lucey, who had a double lung transplant at MUSC in May 2011, runs with wife Lizzy Lucey (right) and Janice Willey during a Cooper River Bridge Run training clinic.

Over the bridge despite double-lung transplant BY DAVID QUICK


A year ago, Lorcan Lucey could only dream of participating in the Cooper River Bridge Run, something the avid endurance athlete last did in 2005. The 48-year-old mortgage company owner’s four-year battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, triggered by rheumatoid arthritis, had taken its toll on his lungs. Lucey, who along with his wife Lizzy, have always lived active lives. Even as his lung disease worsened, they continued to travel to places such as Norway, Chile and Thailand for hiking and biking, albeit very slowly. He continued living his life, managing his disease, until last April when his lung function dropped to about 30 percent. “My lungs really began to crash,” Lorcan Lucey said. “I would judge my next action by how far it was. If it was more than 10 feet, I’d have to sit down. It would take me a half hour to get dressed. I couldn’t even talk on the phone without having to stop.” On May 12, 2011, he was officially put on the lung transplant list. Thirteen days later, he couldn’t breathe and was hospitalized. Lucey’s misfortune, however, had a fortunate twist. The Medical University of South Carolina had recently reestablished its lung transplant program, giving it first priority to lungs procured in the Palmetto State. Within a day of Lucey being hospitalized, a set of lungs became available and

surgeons performed a double-lung transplant. Lucey’s return to active life has been a testament to modern medicine. Three months after surgery, he and Lizzy were hiking in Maine. He describes his life as “wonderful” and said he is “loving every day.” Over the winter, they participated in a Cooper River Bridge Run training clinic and are looking forward to the 35th annual 10K on March 31. “I am signed up for the walk, but I’m not sure if I will run or kick back and enjoy a good walk,” Lucey said. “Some other folks from the transplant team/patients maybe walking, so I may just join them. “The good news is I am experiencing the ‘fun of the run’ all over again. It feels so freeing and it is bringing me to a better fitness level.” While many people won’t give running or walking the bridge much thought, for Lucey it will be very special. “I think everything is about what I can and get to do now. On the bridge I will say a prayer for Jonathan, my organ donor, and his family.” Lucey said. “I will give thanks for the gift of life — a second go-round, if you will — to be with my wife, family, friends, laughing and seeing the beauty of Charleston from the bridge and just enjoying another beautiful morning.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT


Glass artist Greg Rawls (right) talks about his winning design as Race Director Julian Smith displays it during the poster unveiling late last summer.

Design contest winner says seeing posters is ‘a shock’ BY DAVID QUICK


Either before or after you have a successful Bridge Run, visit us at one of our locations at 305 King Street Downtown, in West Ashley at South Windermere Shopping Center and our newly relocated store in Mt. Pleasant at Northcutt Plaza next to Baskin Robbins.

similar one submitted as glass art in 2010. Rawls said winning the Bridge Run design contest is a way to bring attention to an art form not widely recognized in the Southeast. Rawls displays his art at Edward Dare Gallery on Broad Street, Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan’s Island, Blue Heron Glass in West Ashley and The Gallery in Beaufort.


Since winning the design contest for the 35th annual Cooper River Bridge Run last summer, Greg Rawls has moved from Daniel Island to Beaufort, where the 56-yearold retired industrial hygienist is focusing on glass art. He realized his design will be seen nearand-far — on 50,000 T-shirts and 2,000 posters — recently when he was getting groceries at a Bi-Lo and saw a poster of his work. “It was kind of a shock,” Rawls said. “I am sort of getting used to seeing it all over the place, but it is still very special.” Rawls, who returns to Charleston about once a week, will be seeing even more of his design when he returns for events leading up to the Bridge Run on March 31. Rawls, who has created glass art for 20 years, submitted entries to the Bridge Run two years prior to winning last year’s contest. “I’m very flattered because there’s so much great art submitted for this contest,” Rawls said last summer. “To have a nontraditional art form (glass art converted to a print design), it’s a major thrill.” Rawls describes his design as a sunburst behind the bridge and said his color palette is defined by the Lowcountry. Bridge Run race director Julian Smith, who did not participate in choosing the design, said he likes Rawls’ designs, recalling a

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In October, Doretha Walker (second from left) organized a Black Girls RUN! chapter in Charleston.

Black Girls RUN! groups converge in Charleston BY DAVID QUICK


A new movement afoot in America’s running world will be witnessed at the 35th Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk. Hundreds of black women in several Black Girls RUN! groups will converge on Charleston not only for the 10K on Saturday, but a little pre-race camaraderie on Friday. Doretha Walker of Mount Pleasant founded the Black Girls RUN! Charleston chapter on Facebook in October. The group has grown to 310 since December, when about a dozen members participated in the Reindeer Run 5K in downtown Charleston. For the Bridge Run, Walker said dozens of members from BGR! groups from Atlanta; Charlotte; Greensboro, N.C.; Columbia; Orangeburg; and Florence will be arriving and will carbo-load at Runaway Bay in North Charleston on Friday night. In all, Walker anticipates about 200 group members, including at least 40 locals, to be running the Bridge Run. “This will be the first time we will have more than a few of us running together and the first time that BGR!s from other places are coming down en masse to run. This is exciting,” Walker said. “Hopefully, this will encourage more women to come out to run and motivate those who started running with us to keep running.” Walker said the local group has been meeting twice a week to runthebridgesothatmemberswillbeaccustomedtotheinclines and running six miles. “The runs are for all ability levels and no woman gets left behind,” Walker said. “We provide support, advice and laughter on the runs. The goal is to help each woman move her running


to the next level, which is determined by her.”

A new wave of runners

The December edition of Runner’s World documented the rise of Black Girls RUN! in an in-depth report called “Why is Running So White?” Thereportexaminesthereasonswhyblacksarenotproportionally represented in long-distance running and road races despite the fact that the group has a long history of dominating short-distancetrackeventsandAfricansdominatelong-distancerunning. In a nutshell, the report said that blacks gravitate to other sports in their youth, such as football and basketball, and have fewer role models involved in running. When those role models do show up, such as Oprah Winfrey and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, they tend to do one marathon and quit running. Statistics back up anecdotal evidence in showing the low rate of participation by blacks in long-distance running. While the U.S. Census Bureau says that African-Americans made up 13 percent of the population in 2010, Running USA’s “opt in” National Running Survey put the group as only 1.6 percent of core runners, described as those serious enough to train year round and enter races.

Why does it matter?

In a study conducted from 2006 to 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that blacks had a 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity compared to whites. The figures SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT

were worse for diabetes: The risk for non-Hispanic blacks was 77 percent higher than whites. Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, a 33-year-old gynecologist, joined Black Girls RUN! Charleston for her patients and herself. “I’m preaching to my patients every day, so I need to practice what I preach,” Gleaton said. “We (blacks) are at risk for heart disease, chronic hypertension, diabetes, obesity and everything tied into those diseases. Running can make a major difference. After a week of running, I could see a difference in my body.”

Solo no more

Summerville’s Verdercia “Dell” Toomer welcomes the influx of black runners and hopes more, including men, will be more common at road races. The 54-year-old, who works on an assembly line at Cummins Turbo engine plant, started running 25 years ago. After getting married and having the second of two children at age 27, her 5-foot-1 frame was carrying 196 pounds. She recalls climbing stairs where her husband worked, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and being completely winded. To make matters worse, she smoked. In 1987, she decided to take a photograph of herself and was shocked. It was what she needed to change. She quit smoking, started eating healthier, began walking and, shortly thereafter, running, which eventually dropped her weight to a stable 124 pounds. She said running races are important for motivation and to bond with other healthy people. Toomer adds that the Bridge Run helped her break the only motivational funk — she stopped running for two months about two years ago — in the 25 years back in 2008. “That’s when Cummins had a cutback and we had more work with less people. I was so drained. I was tired of juggling work and running, but the Bridge Run came up and I wouldn’t miss the Bridge Run, so I started running again,” she said.


Gabrielle Clark (right), 24, of Mount Pleasant runs with her older sister, Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, during the 21st annual Reindeer Run last fall. Both have been participants in Black Girls RUN! group runs since October.





A fun run to watch

Who says running isn’t much of a spectator sport? Every year, runners and walkers dress up in team outfits and special costumes. Here are a few of our favorites from last year’s run. For galleries of runners this year, go to













The elite

The Cooper River Bridge Run attracts world-class competitors, including last year’s winners Shewarge Amare (from left), Lelisa Desisa and Chad Johnson. For complete coverage of the competition, including the results for all participants, go to



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Charleston Scene Weekly Magazine  

Charleston Scene Weekly Magazine. Visit for lastest events in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston Scene Weekly Magazine  

Charleston Scene Weekly Magazine. Visit for lastest events in Charleston, South Carolina