Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cooper River Bridge Run

It seems the City of Charleston, South Carolina has won just about every major travel industry and vacation destination award known to man in the past year. To quote my wife, we live in a magical place, and she is absolutely correct. A visit to Charleston is a true cosmopolitan experience with big-city style shopping, five-star restaurants, haute art galleries, broadway quality theatre and romantic carriage rides past water-front Victorian Mansions from the Revolutionary War Era. Not to mention some of the nicest beaches in the Carolinas within minutes of downtown.

With all of that, who needs another excuse to come and visit Charleston in the Spring? Well, at the risk of piling it on, the Cooper River Bridge Run is an event that you have to see and participate in at least once in your lifetime. The event held annually around the first weekend of April is a world class 10K race across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge , one of the most masterfully designed and spectacular bridges in North America. Imagine the exhillaration of being one of 40,000 runners/walkers cresting the apex of the span high above the beautiful Charleston Harbor looking down on the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier at Patriots Point on one side of the harbor and a modern Carnival Cruise Ship on the other side. Off in the distance the many church spires of the Holy City of Charleston and tucked amidst the steeples and buildings, your destination, the finish line at Marion Square.

Don't expect that you are gonna win the race, you can't win the race, at
least it's not likely. The Kenyans usually take care of that. Last year was my first experience with the event participating as a walker. I can tell you, the experience was one I will never forget.

The event field is reportedly the 3rd largest in the nation, but it is not just the sheer number of participants that make it such a memorable experience, it is the atmosphere, the location and the entertainment. No other race in America can have such a festive finishing mile compared to the Bridge Run. As you turn the corner and head down King Street, past legendary watering spots and eateries there are jam bands playing from the rooftops.

This years race will have a new attraction that will help to make a great event even more over the top. Carnival Cruise Lines has gotten into the action this year and is sponsoring a contest to choose a lucky couple to be joined in holy matrimony at the post-race party in Marion Square. Can you imagine tying the knot with 40,000+ close friends who just completed a world class 10K race with you. Talk about "running away" to get married. The lucky newlyweds will embark on a Carnival Cruise from Charleston after their post-race nuptials. Now is that uniquely Charleston or what? That's the kind of place Charleston is, once again, as my wife says, "we do indeed live in a magical place". To those of us who are lucky enough to call the Lowcountry our home, the Cooper River Bridge Run weekend is one of the best weekends of the year, and that says alot when you live in "Vacation Land" where "the livin' is EEEEEZZZZZZYYY."

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