This weekend I traveled to Charleston for the Cooper River Bridge Run!
The Bridge Run is an awesome 10K (6.2 miles) and I recommend it whether you run or want to tag along with your runner friends to explore Charleston, SC. The Bridge Run is one of the biggest 10Ks in the US and takes you over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge!
We got to town around 11 am on Friday and headed straight to the expo. The expo was at the Charleston Area Convention Center for the first time and it is a great location with plenty of parking and room inside. It was not crowded so we got in and got our bibs and swag bags quickly. Know your bib number when you arrive so you are able to quickly head to your pick-up station.
Chelsea picking up her bib!
Excited about my bib!
There were a ton of vendors and we got some great accessories. Jane and I both bought armbands for our iPhones and my dad loaded up on GU gels. We enjoyed the Blue Moon samples and explored various booths. The organizers were quick to remind attendees “No hoarding allowed” by the Bi-Lo cookies booth.
My favorite booth was Headbands of Hope: Jessica Ekstrom, a current NC State student, founded this amazing company in April 2012. I bought two headbands and enjoyed talking to Jessica about her success
If you are going to do the Bridge Run and are from out of town you should try to arrive a day or two early. Arriving early will give you plenty of time to explore Charleston. We ate dinner at Vickerys in Shem Creek, ventured to the beach at Sullivan’s Island, and went to happy hour at Reds Icehouse. Jane and I also took a quick trip to Goodwill to pick up long sleeve t-shirts for pre-race warmth. The weather was a little chillier than expected but we enjoyed our time by the water!
Vickerys in Shem Creek
On the beach with Jane at Sullivan’s Island
View from happy hour at Reds in Shem Creek
We chose to cook dinner at a friend’s house on Friday night for our pre-race meal. We cooked chicken, pasta, salad, and bread. Eating at home meant we did not have to worry about the crowds at restaurants and we were able to make sure we had a healthy pre-race meal. Try to make reservations for dinner if eating at a friend’s house is not an option for you. The house we went to for dinner was on the water which was an added plus!
Me, Chelsea, Jaclyn, Jane
Saturday morning our friends offered to drop us off at the start line. This was a huge help because we avoided dealing with shuttle buses. I think the buses were crowded but did not hear too many major complaints. Race start was 8 am so we got dropped off at 7 am in a neighborhood where we could walk to Coleman Blvd and the corrals. I highly recommend this for anyone because it went so smoothly for us!
Jane and I bought shirts at Goodwill to keep us warm and then ditch before the start.
Corrals were assigned by estimated finish time this year, but it was obvious many people were not truthful with their time. I was disappointed to see walkers in all groups instead of the designated walking corral. We were in G, one of the the over an hour corrals; I signed up for this before running my first 10K and learning I could finish in under a hour. I will probably sign up for an earlier corral next year even though bobbing and weaving through runners happens no matter where you start.
As new runners we ended up in a long line for the bathroom pre-race. Not going to let this happen again!
Almost time for Corral G to start!
The race started on time, exactly at 8 am! And we crossed the start line almost exactly at 8:30 am with corral G.
The course is awesome. The only incline is the third mile going up the bridge. It’s a steady incline but not anything like the steep hills of Athens. There are bands along the whole course and the crowds plus the big group of runners kept me moving.
Almost to the bridge
Starting the gradual incline – this goes on for about a mile.
The finish party was exciting and unlike anything I have ever seen. So much food, water, and of course a few “no hoarding signs”. After finding water, bagels, and muffins I met up with everyone to celebrate Jane and Chelsea finishing their first 10K!
After the race many runners and spectators stay downtown to celebrate. We went to the King Street Grille and the patio at 39 Rue de Jean. Non-runners in our group were able to save a table at King St Grille (they got there at 8:30 am) which was helpful. And if you want to eat dinner in downtown Charleston Saturday night make sure you have reservations.
King Street Grille after the race
I was hesitant to hope for a certain time because of the large crowds at the race, but I am happy to say that I finished with a personal record! My official time was 53:30. My advice is to approach this race with intentions to enjoy the crowds, the view, the bands, and the experience; knowing that a good time would make the day even better! Just relax and have fun!
View from the top of the Cooper River Bridge
Running past the King Street Grille!
My dad and I both pr’d this race!
The Bridge Run caps registration at 40,000 and boasted 31,441 finishers this year. There are options for everyone from competitive runners to walkers. I highly recommend the Cooper River Bridge run and plan to do this race again next year!
What is your biggest 10K experience? Have you ran the Cooper River Bridge Run? Leave a note in the comments – I would love a suggestion for my next race! 10K or I think it’s time for a half marathon..,