Dec. 1, 2015 — The Southeast Georgia Health System Bridge Run is
certified by the U.S. Track and Field Association as "the toughest
5K in Georgia,” but for Harry Boal of St. Simons Island, the Bridge
Run is more than just a race. For him and his daughter, Erin VanRyn, it’s
After years of listening to her father’s praise of the event, Erin
decided to fly all the way from West Chester, Pa., to run alongside Boal
for the 2014 Bridge Run. She even made custom t-shirts for the occasion
that state, “I ran the 2014 Bridge Run with my 72 year young dad!”
Unfortunately, the weather had different plans, and a blizzard halted
her travel. They were forced to push back their reunion until the 2015
Bridge Run, but according to Boal, it was worth the wait.
“I run one 5K a year, and I choose the Bridge Run every time. The
people are friendly, the vendors and bands make it fun, and it’s
a well organized event for a good cause. Everyone always has a great time,”
says Boal. “But this year, I was finally able to share the experience
with my daughter.”
Boal and VanRyn wore updated versions of their matching shirts she made
for the previous year, and together, they hit all their running goals.
VanRyn completed the entire 5K without stopping to walk, and Boal ran
a personal record, taking 3rd in the 70 to 74-year-old age group.
“My daughter completed the race before I did, but when she saw me
near the finish, she doubled back so we could cross the finish line together,”
says Boal. “Technically, she beat me, but it’s those last
few strides we took together that I’ll never forget.”
VanRyn had such a memorable experience that she has already registered,
booked her flights and created updated t-shirts for the upcoming Bridge
Run on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Boal’s main goal this time is to
complete the entire 5K without stopping to walk, just like his daughter.
Boal has practiced steep inclines on his treadmill to prepare.
For other runners interested in participating, Boal recommends, “Stay
hydrated, make goals, and get in shape, so you can enjoy the event.”
“We don’t have natural hills here in Georgia that mimic the
incline of the bridge, so crossing the bridge not once but twice for the
returning run can be difficult,” adds Boal. “Many of the people
who participate wear clever t-shirts and costumes, so it can be very entertaining
as a spectator as well. Between the challenge of the run and the relaxed,
fun-filled atmosphere, we’ll participate every year. It’s
a worthy cause.”
All proceeds benefit the Health System’s cancer care programs. To
participate in the upcoming 2016 Bridge Run, runners must register by
Feb. 10, 2016 through www.sghs.org/bridgerun or www.active.com, or by
calling 800-537-5142, ext. 2786. For more information about sponsorship,
vendor or volunteer opportunities, please call 912-466-3360.