Cooper River Bridge Run

img_4393The Cooper River Bridge Run is an annual race in Charleston, SC, and it is definitely a race everyone should put on their bucket list. The race sells out fast, and I would highly suggest early bird registration. Then, SAVE your confirmation email. More on that later.  I’ve raced it three times, improved my time each race, and increased my level of fun. I’m convinced Charleston is the best of the best of Southern cities. Race packet pick up is always on a Thursday and Friday, and you’ll need to allow plenty of time to navigate the expo and leave time for dinner reservations (reservations are needed with 30,000 people coming into town). The packet pick-up goes smoothly as long as you have your race reservation. If you don’t, you’ll need strong negotiating skills and beg for a last minute entry. Speaking from experience, you  may need to talk to more than one person about getting a bib.

A couple of running friends and I went to Charleston for a girls weekend. We stayed  in downtown Charleston about a half mile from the finish. We were thrilled with our choice post race. The morning of the race, we woke up fairly early to go through pre-race rituals, and peaked out our window to see a LONG line of people lining up for the busses to take us over to Mt. Pleasant for the race start. We booked it downstairs, stood in line, finally got on the bus and caught the most glorious sunrise over the bridge. The port-a-potty lines were quite long; we glanced at our watches and realized our warm-up would land us in our corral about the time our wave started.

The 6.2 mile run starts with a gradual downhill as  you make your way to the bridge. We used this time to get settled before the climb. Fortunately, we train on a lot of hills around Apex, but as I’ll quickly point out more than once, that doesn’t mean I LIKE hills; however, it does mean that we’ve become pretty good climbers over the years. We were able to pass a lot of people on the bridge. One of the women I was with lived in NYC for a while. I stayed on her shoulder and let her do the navigating. The bridge decline can’t come soon enough (truthfully, it’s a good mile up), and then you’re about halfway finished with the race. You can hear various bands playing, the crowds get bigger, and it’s time to power through and enjoy all of historic Charleston.

The post-race food is typical. I only eat the fruit, but I’m sure there were other food items there, but there’s just no way a muffin is worth it if you’re going to have a fabulous brunch elsewhere.  We snagged a few goodies at some of the vendors set up in the finishers area and then headed back to our hotel for showers and a day on the town.

Because the race is always the first weekend in April, the weather is normally on your side. As you can see in the picture, we had perfect running weather.

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