It’s been seven years since a mass of people walked and ran over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in an event that was part fitness and part family fun.
The state ran the event, and it stopped in 2006. Security was an issue, but so was cost. The free, all-day event required a lot of overtime for staffers who helped ferry folks to the bridge and man the event. Of the 30,000 people who participated every year, 27,000 were walkers, and they took their time on the course, which was open much of the day. Plus, some motorists didn’t like it, tying up the bridge as it did for the first weekend in May.
But people missed the event once it was gone, and there’s been talk for a long time of bringing it back. And thanks to two enthusiastic runners, the bridge race is back — but it’s going to be a whole different run.
Peter Paris and Sparrow Rogers, both of St. Michaels, are organizing the 10k Across the Bay; Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run. It will be November 9, 2014. That gives you a whole year to train. (And in my case, a good while for my tendon to heal after I pulled it during my last race.)
If you did the Bay Bridge run and walk in the past, this one is going to be different. First, the organizers say, it’s primarily a run. They’ve hired the race director for the Boston Marathon to help them run this event: They are serious about running.
You can walk the course as long as you can walk a 19-minute mile, but it’s a running race. You will have to finish it in two hours. There will not be strollers allowed on the course, though they are organizing a fun run to go with it. Also, a good percentage of the runners are expected to be out-of-towners — people who travel from place to place to participate in races. There aren’t too many races over bridges, so it will be a bit of a novelty. One of the models for it, said Paris, is the race over the Cooper River in South Carolina, which ends in downtown Charleston.
That means a whole bunch of people eating in restaurants in Annapolis and Kent Island, buying gear at the outlets in Queenstown and otherwise spending money.
“It’s an amazing economic engine for the area,” said Paris, who also organizes the St. Michaels Running Festival.
The race will start at Sandy Point State Park and end at the other side of the bridge, meaning that most of the course is bridge.
“One of the beauties of our course,” said Paris, “is that you can’t make a wrong turn.”
Registration begins Nov. 9 and costs $60. You can register here.