Bridge Run Becomes Annual Tradition for Many; Record Turnout Expected

Bob Smith shaking hands with host Feb. 12, 2015—Bob Smith, 71, a part-time resident of Jekyll Island, stays active in retirement with tennis, yoga, and running half-marathons. This Saturday he will be participating in the Southeast Georgia Health System 2015 Bridge Run, in what has become an annual tradition for him.

Smith, who has participated in the Bridge Run for the last four years, and has twice placed first in his age category, chose the Health System event over two other opportunities. “Four runners from my running group back home in Ohio are traveling to Myrtle Beach this weekend for a half-marathon, and a couple of friends asked me to join them in Jacksonville for a big run on Saturday, but I told them all that I was doing the Bridge Run instead. It has become a tradition for me.”

In addition to the run itself, Smith enjoys the Pasta Party that takes place the evening before as well as the Firefighters Challenge on Saturday morning. “It’s just a very well-run event and a friendly atmosphere.”

Smith adds that he experienced that same friendliness earlier this year at the Health System’s Brunswick Campus. “In the past, I registered online, but this year I went to the hospital to sign up. As I walked down the hallways, the doctors, nurses and everyone I encountered were so nice, acknowledging me as we passed each other. I am from a small town in Ohio and people are friendly there, but they are even friendlier here.”

On Saturday, the bridge’s southbound lanes will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. A record number of people are expected to participate, with more than 2,300 registered runners and walkers. In addition, approximately 60 sponsors and vendors will be present, and more than 100 volunteers are helping with the event. If you plan to participate, get there early!

Prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250, provided by sponsor Pinova, will be given in the overall male and female categories. Aside from the fastest male and female runners, fastest team and best team spirit are also recognized. The “Oldie but Goodie” award will celebrate the oldest participant.

Although runner registration ended on Feb. 11, a final opportunity for runner registration is available at the Pasta Party from 5-8 p.m. Walkers may register on the day of the event at the registration tent from 7-9 a.m. The registration fee is $40. Because of the steep grade on the bridge, pets, baby strollers, running strollers or roller blades are NOT permitted during the Bridge Run. There will also be plenty of other activities for the entire family, including live entertainment, and a Vendor and Runners’ Expo. Early arrival is encouraged to avoid parking delays.

Proceeds benefit the Health System’s cancer care programs. For more information, please call 912-466-BRUN (2786).