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Cheserek, Rojas win ‘emotional’, long-delayed Cooper River Bridge Run

A 27-year-old Kenyan man was the first to finish the 44th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run.

Edward Cheserek completed the race with a time of 28:25, a pace of 4:34 per mile. Cheserek, who now lives in the United States, is a 17-time NCAA champion at the University of Oregon.

He was a runner-up at the 2021 Great North Run and his all-time personal best in a 10K is 27:23.

The leaderboard listed the top Female Elite runner as Nell Rojas from Boulder, Colorado with a time of 31:52, and a pace of 5.07 per mile.

The Bridge Run began at 8 a.m. Saturday with a smaller-than-normal crowd of runners. The 15th annual Wheelchair Division race began just before 7:30 a.m. with nine participants.

The Arthur Ravenel Bridge closed at 7 a.m. Saturday, an hour before the official start of the race.

The bridge, along with the rest of the race route shut down at 7 a.m. The route and support streets will remain closed until the final participant clears the area. Many downtown roads that shut down earlier Saturday morning are expected to reopen by 2 p.m.

The Ravenel Bridge will reopen after police and media are cleared off the bridge and any debris from the race is removed.

This year’s event is the first in-person Bridge Run held since April 6, 2019. The event planned for 2020 was changed to a virtual run because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers imposed a lower-than-usual cap on the total number of runners and walkers for this year’s 10K event, limiting the total to 25,000 from its usual 40,000. That means more than a third fewer people will “Get Over It” in this year’s event, a reference to the iconic 2.5 mile Arthur Ravenel Bridge that serves as part of the course.

All of the individual registrations for the 25,000 in-person spots sold out.

People who take part in the event were told they would be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or to provide proof of a negative test conducted within 72 hours of the time they picked up their race packet.

But Bridge Run organizers say there will be food, entertainment, vendors, and souvenirs at the post-event festival at Marion Square.

The event will run until 12 p.m. on race day.

44 years of the Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run is the third-largest 10K race in the United States. It is normally held on the first Saturday in April unless that Saturday falls on Easter weekend.

Dr. Marcus Newberry founded the Cooper River Bridge Run in 1978. The 10K’s course takes runners down Coleman Boulevard through Mount Pleasant, over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and into downtown Charleston.

Participants include world-class athletes as well as running enthusiasts, walkers and their friends and family members. The run has an annual grant program to promote health and wellness, supporting a dozen charities through fundraising and promotion.

In the race’s very first running on April 2, 1978, 766 finishers crossed the former Silas Pearman Bridge. It was one of the hottest temperatures on record at 82 degrees at the 10 a.m. start time. That was the only year the Bridge Run was held on a Sunday.

By 1980, the course had shifted to the former Grace Memorial Bridge where it would remain until 1995 when it returned to the Pearman Bridge.

Only once in the race’s history did it end in a tie. That happened on March 29, 1980, and the record time is 31:26.

Both of those bridges were replaced in 2006 by the Ravenel Bridge. The all-time record number of registrations occurred that same year when 45,663 signed up. Of those, 33,742 finished the race that year.

The event received the Governor’s Cup Award in 2019 for its impact on Tourism and Travel. It has a direct economic impact of $30 million.

The average age of participants in the annual event is 32.9, but people of all ages have taken part over more than four decades.

A virtual run replaced the traditional race in 2020 because of the pandemic. The 2021 event, which was originally planned for its late March or early April timeframe, was postponed to September, also because of the pandemic.

James Koskei of Kenya holds the current record for the all-time top performance in the men’s open category with a finish time of 27:40 in 2000. Elana Mayer, from South Africa, holds the women’s open category best time at 31:19, set in 1997.

For wheelchair finishers, the records are 24:30, set by Tyler Byers in 2007 and 37:10, set by Ilana Dupont in 2013.

Silas Kipruto and Monicah Ngige were the winners of 2019′s event, with finish times through the 6.2-mile course of 27:58 and 31:37 respectively.

Kipruto, then 34, has been in the top five finishes numerous times in some of the world’s most competitive races. Kipruto finished with a time of 27:58, securing the $10,000 top prize.

Monicah Nigige, then 25, was the top female Elite finisher, winning her third Cooper River Bridge Run in the past four years.

(09/26/2021) Views: 530 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

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Elite runners Silas Kipruto and Monicah Nigige, both from Kenya, won the 42nd Cooper River Bridge Run

Kipruto, 34, has been in the top five finishes numerous times in some of the world’s most competitive races, but this year he won the Cooper River Bridge Run clocking 27:58 over the 10k course.

For the females, Monicah Nigige, 25, clocked 31:37 winning her third Cooper River Bridge Run in the past four years.

Bridge Run Hall of Fame member Krige Schabort won the 14th Annual Open Male Division Wheelchair Race.

Schabort, who was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, finished the race with an official time of 24:29.

Schabort holds the Bridge Run course record of 23:48 set in 2009. He lost both his legs in a military skirmish in Angola. But soon after the devastating loss, he found his passion in wheelchair racing and transformed tragedy into victory. In his own words, “I got a second chance at life.”

Neil Sadler and Kathy Lazarchick won the Dr. Marcus Newberry Award, presented to the top runners who live in the Tri-County area.

An estimated 35,000 runners and walkers will participate in this year’s event, one of the largest 10K races in the world.

(04/06/2019) Views: 1,306 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

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Mike Seekings is the Cooper River Bridge Run new interim race director

Mike Seekings, a board member for nine years, is a very active runner in the community. He said he's taking on this role to pay tribute to Julian Smith, the former Cooper River Bridge Run director who died recently to his battle to cancer.

"Over the last 20 years has been Julian Smith's race," Seekings said. "This has been his vision, it's been his passion. He has built something in the community that is second to none, anywhere."

He said his part in this race is carrying on what Julian grew for decades.

"This is his run. This is his race," Seekings said. "It's for the community, and for those reasons, I am honored and really proud and honored, and happy, and a little bit humbled to be here for the last couple months getting this race ready to go."

So, during the next couple of days, there will be lots of final touches and sleepless nights, to make sure this event runs smoothly.

"We're going to make sure that logistically we're ready to go, the course is clear, that we've got everybody registered, everyone understands where they are, and what they're going to do," said Seekings.

Following the race, there's not much downtime before planning for the next year begins. 

"This run is at eight o'clock, Saturday, April 6th," Seekings said. "People will be across that bridge within two to three hours. The festivities will go on for that day. We'll take a deep breath on Sunday, April 7th and then planning for next year will begin Monday, April 8th."

Seekings said the board is moving forward with heavy hearts, but with lots of enthusiasm that this year will be good as any, running in Julian's honor.

(04/02/2019) Views: 1,462 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

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Former Bridge Run director Julian Smith dies on Friday after fighting a rare brain cancer

The man who led and organized the annual Cooper River Bridge Run for more than two decades has lost his battle with cancer.

Julian Smith died Friday after fighting a rare brain cancer, Bridge Run officials confirmed.

“The Bridge run staff and board is deeply saddened by Julian’s passing," Cooper River Bridge Run Deputy Director Irv Batten said. “He has been such a tremendous leader, a beacon for the Charleston Community. He’s going to be deeply missed.”

This year’s Bridge Run will be held in Smith’s honor and that Smith will have the “best seat in the house” watching from above, Batten said.

This race this year is to honor him. So we’re going to do a good job. He’s going to be watching.”

“For more than 20 years, Julian was a leader, mentor and friend.”

 “Julian is a force of nature and his leadership will be missed by the entire Bridge Run family and community as he moves on to the next phase of his life and the inevitable challenges it will bring. It was unanimously agreed upon by the CRBR Board that Julian would be given the title of Race Director Emeritus. We wish Julian all the best and offer our eternal thanks for a career of unparalleled success pursued with uncommon wit, wisdom and grace.”

(03/23/2019) Views: 1,491 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

more...
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Cooper River Bridge Run was named the top South Carolina tourism event of the year

Charleston’s Cooper River Bridge Run, which will hold its 42nd race this April, took home the top prize at this week’s statewide tourism conference. 

The 10K race brings tens of thousands of runners across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge every spring.  It is the third-largest 10K in the U.S., only Atlanta and Boulder are bigger. An estimated 60 percent of those participants are from out-of-town. 

Charleston native Julian Smith has served as the event’s director since 1994 with 7,400 finishers his first year. By 2006 33,700 people participated.

Last year, 27,414 people ran the route from Mount Pleasant through downtown Charleston for the 41st annual race. It is estimated that the race brings in more than $30 million dollars annually to the community.

 

(02/21/2019) Views: 1,674 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

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Julian Smith, the director of the Cooper River Bridge Run since 1994, has to resign due to brain cancer

Julian Smith, the director of the Cooper River Bridge Run since 1994 and driving force behind making it one of the largest 10K races in the country, has resigned less than three months before the 2019 event.

Smith, 67, announced last year he is battling brain cancer.

Mike Seekings, a Charleston city councilman and vice chairman of the Cooper River Bridge Run Board of Directors, will serve as interim director for this year’s race, which is slated for April 6.

“Julian is a force of nature and his leadership will be missed by the entire Bridge Run family and community as he moves on to the next phase of his life and the inevitable challenges it will bring,” the board wrote in a release.

Seekings said Wednesday that preparations for the 2019 run are well under way. It will run smoothly, he said, thanks to Smith’s 24 years of leadership.

“He’s always made sure his staff was ready to step up,”  Seekings said of Smith, his friend for almost 30 years. “We still have some work to do, but we have a very capable team so it should be pretty seamless.”

But the board will be working with heavy hearts and fond memories of how Smith has influenced the storied Charleston event for nearly a quarter century.

(02/05/2019) Views: 1,665 ⚡AMP
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Cooper River Bridge Run

Cooper River Bridge Run

The Cooper River Bridge Run provides a world-class 10-K foot race held in Charleston, S. Carolina. The race promotes continuous physical activity and a healthy lifestyle through education and opportunity. On Sunday morning, April 2, 1978, the starting gun was fired for the First COOPER RIVER BRIDGE RUN and the race began. Even at that time it was successful beyond...

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Sister Lloyd dresses a little different when she runs her many races for Orphans Rising

For weeks, runners have been training for the Cooper River. Ridge Run. One runner is dressing for the run a little different than others. “Some people when they pass me, say ‘Oh good, I beat the old nun,’” Sister Mary Beth Lloyd said. She is from New Jersey and is no stranger to running races like this. “I always run with a rosary, and this rosary was made right here at Christ Our King church,” Sister Lloyd said. She says the Cooper River 10K is no big deal. She usually runs longer races—like 50 miles, 60 miles, even 100-mile runs. “I don’t go fast, I get to the end,” she said. “That’s the trick.” But along the way, she spreads awareness of her cause. She said she runs for children, in countries like Ethiopia, who have become orphans because their parents died from AIDS. “They have very little to eat, very little clothing, education, and so we’re trying to provide for them,” Sister Lloyd said. She runs for an organization called Orphans Rising. She said she meets people while she runs, which encourages them to donate to the children she’s helping. (04/07/2018) Views: 1,628 ⚡AMP
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