This past weekend I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K in Charleston. The Cooper River is the third largest 10K in the US and it did not disappoint. Everything about this run reminded me of the Peachtree Road Race, just a smaller version. The streets were filled with spectators and there were live bands on every corner. I have had this race on my bucket list for awhile and now it’s on my list of races I don’t plan to miss in 2019. It was an awesome experience and the whole thing was very well organized.
We drove up on Friday morning to Charleston to attend the expo. The expo was so easy to get in and out of. We went during lunch and was able to get right in with no lines. I’m glad we went when we did, I heard the later it got in the afternoon, the busier it got. I love going to expos and this one was one of the better ones I have gone to. We were able to pick up some pretty cool swag. We received a very nice bag, race t-shirt, and towel with the design of the shirt which had a cute pelican on them. There were also lots of free samples that we were able to taste test. Overall, it was a very nice expo and I heard that it gets better every year. One thing about this run is they take security very seriously. We came out and the Charleston swat team was there in the parking lot. I really wanted to take a picture with them but my friend freaked out and said no that’s embarrassing. She clearly knows nothing about a runners selfie life. Granted, she is not a runner. I tried to explain to her that it’s very common as a runner to take pictures with anything and everything. She still didn’t understand.
I had to bribe this friend of mine with concert tickets to see her favorite singer who happened to be in Myrtle Beach the night before the run. I didn’t want to go alone to the race, so it was the only way I could get her to come with me. I know this is going to sound crazy but we drove to Charleston, got my packet, drove another two and a half hours to Myrtle Beach for the concert, hoped back in the car and drove back to Charleston. We got in around 2 am and I only had maybe thirty minutes of sleep before the 4 am wake up call.
4 AM comes way too fast especially when you decide sleep is not important. The Bridge Run buses everyone to the start line. Buses started running at 5 AM and they warn you that lines can get long so get there early. We were there before the buses and was able to get a great parking spot. I have never seen so many school buses before in one place. There had to be over 100 buses that pulled up all at once. Crazy thing is, there were three other pick up spots throughout Charleston. We stayed in North Charleston so we were picked up at the convention center. I had a friend who just moved to South Carolina come meet me at the hotel the night before and we drove together to the buses. We were there so early, we made it on one of the first few buses to depart and even got interviewed by ABC news.
We arrived at the start line pretty early so we stood around people watching to see if we could find anyone else from Georgia. We did find a few friends, which was awesome. They wanted everyone in their corrals by 7 am. We hung around a little longer before having to be separated in different corrals because the race didn’t start until 8 am. Only bad thing about these larger races is you have to wait so long once you get there. At least it wasn’t freezing cold or raining because there was no jacket wearing. There was a nice little breeze which is to be expected when you are so close to the water. As I mentioned above, Charleston was spot on with their security measures for the race. I looked up and there on top of the apartment buildings was the swat guys. They were also lined up along the corrals on the ground. They even had four helicopters that kept circling over with army guys to keep us safe. In a way, you feel extremely safe and then in another sense you become a little paranoid because you know why there are having to be so cautious. Regardless, they all did a great job and it was nice to see them along the entire course.
Ok, now on to the actual race. I was in corral G, so I got started about 8:20. I was proud to know, I wasn’t in the last corral. It was an awesome course, except for the hill going up the bridge. I was so entertained the entire time, I barely noticed the hill. I was able to make it a little over a mile before it came to a halt. If you are not in the first few corrals, you will get blocked when going up the bridge. Everyone is stopping to take pictures and selfies along the bridge. It’s understandable because you get a dang good background. That was my favorite part getting to run over the bridge. Once over the bridge its downhill and then flat roads through downtown Charleston. Plan to run the entire last mile because so many people have lined the streets to cheer you on you can’t help but try to bust it one last time through those downtown streets. Let’s just say, I finished. I didn’t have a terrible time, 1:24 considering no food and sleep. Next time, I plan to stay a few days and not go to any late night concerts.
One great thing about this 10K is they give finishers medals. If you can run really fast, you also get a really cool bridge award that looks exactly like the Cooper River Bridge. You also can win several thousands of dollars. Anyways, I got the medal and then a doughnut haha. They had two big Krispy Kreme trucks there handing out doughnuts at the end. There was also muffins, containers of watermelon, and bbq sandwiches. I missed the sandwiches because they were sold out by the time I got there. Oh well I grabbed my doughnut and tracked down my friend for pictures. Check out our finishers pic!
I will definitely be back next year. It was an awesome race that I am still talking about.
The next few weekends we are running 5K’s near Atlanta. If you are near the Braselton area this weekend, come see me at the Wildflower Market. I will be there from 3-4 on Sunday teaching yoga.
See you out on the road!