Good morning everyone!!! So this past weekend I completed my first Cooper River Bridge Run! If you don’t know what the Cooper River Bridge Run is, it’s probably the biggest event in Charleston, SC every year. We have this absolutely beautiful cable-stayed bridge called the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge that crosses over the Cooper River. If you’ve ever been to Charleston, you’ve probably seen it. It connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant, SC and has some of the best views!
Every year Charleston hosts the Cooper River Bridge Run where you run from Mount Pleasant and end downtown Charleston. People travel from all over the United States (and other countries!) to do this 10k. I heard this year we had participants from all 50 states and several different countries.
We were coming from Summerville, SC so we decided that we would take the shuttle for the North Charleston Convention Center. Traffic and parking is absolutely insane downtown so I’d suggest taking a shuttle either from North Charleston or Mount Pleasant. I have heard of some people parking their car downtown in a garage the day before so that their car is downtown for them after the race. This would be idea but the shuttles weren’t so bad either.
We got to the shuttle in North Charleston around 6:30am and on the shuttle by 6:45am. We thought we had plenty of time but the buses got stuck in the terrible traffic and we ended up cutting it way too close. I will make sure to get on a shuttle from there earlier next year. The race started at 8am and we ended up jumping off the bus at a random spot and walking the rest of the way because it was faster than the bus on the road. After having to use the restroom (There were HUGE lines to the porta-potties by the way) and finding our corral, we made it just in time for our corral but if you were in one of the first corrals and left at the time we did, you wouldn’t have made it. REMINDER – GET TO THE SHUTTLE EARLY! Next year I’ll try to get on the bus in North Charleston by 6:15 or so.
So there’s this thing called the Sweat Shuttle which will take your bag (clear bags only with your name written on it) from the start line to the finish line. My plan was to put a few things in it and drop it off in the shuttle and pick it up after the race. Well…plan failed because of the buses being late. I literally walked up to the shuttle as it was driving away. My poor boyfriend’s stepdad ended up carrying my backpack with my stuff in it while running. Gosh, he was a trooper because I struggled enough in the race as it was, I can’t imagine doing it with a backpack on too! Thanks Joe! NOTE TO SELF – GET TO SHUTTLE EARLY!
This was actually my first 10k ever! I do a ton of 5ks but had never done a 10k. I don’t really enjoy running, to be honest haha. This was a really fun event though. Just to see almost 40k people come out to do this race was amazing. My time was 69 minutes. I ended up stopping to walk a bunch of times because I was struggling plus I had some pretty nasty blisters that formed on my feet around mile 2. Next time I wont wear running shoes that I haven’t run in for years. Dumb move, Erin!
You run for about 2 miles until you hit the base of the bridge. For the next mile and a half or so it’s uphill and shooooot it’s pretty dang STEEP! I absolutely had to walk UP the bridge but running down it was the best part 🙂
Around mile 4 you hit downtown Charleston and people are on the side of the road cheering you on for the rest of the race. I love the motivation I get from random people cheering me on from the sidewalk. It’s so motivating!
You end the race in Marion Square where there’s TONs of vendors giving out food and drinks. I grabbed a water, orange and bagel but I saw some people who had donuts and even full dishes of bbq from the food vendors. There’s live music playing at the finish festival and huge crowds all around Marion Square.
We ended up hitting up one of the downtown Charleston bars called Charleston Beer Works and it was full but not too crazy since it’s about a half mile from the finish festival. Somehow we totally lucked out because that bar had a promotion going on with Michealob Ultra in the back patio and we got FREE BEER the whole day! Since I was on like zero calories at that point, I got pretty tipsy easily and called it a day around 12:30. The last shuttle back to North Charleston left at 1 so we headed back to Marion Square and hopped on the bus back to our car.
Overall I’m proud of myself for finishing my first 10k and loved being a part of the Charleston Cooper River Bridge Run 2016! Although I wasn’t in good enough cardio shape to get a time that I’m super proud of, have blisters all over my feet and am super sore, I may even be crazy enough to do it again next year 😉 We’ll see!
How long is the Cooper River Bridge Run?
This run is a 10k (6.2 miles).
Is there music or should I bring my own music?
There were about 10 different bands ON the course. It was so great to see the local musicians come out and rally up the racers during the run. It was also fun to watch them jamming out to distract me from the run. I also wore a runners belt that carried my phone with headphones so I could listen to my own music. One thing I would warn you about is the reception. There isn’t great reception during the race because of the amount of people in one area. Even my music I was listening to that was stored on my iPhone went in and out while going up the bridge. I was told by some other friends that the same thing happened with their music saved to their phone from Spotify. It seemed like the problem spot for reception was only while going up the bridge. Weird huh?
Is it a competitive race or a fun run?
Like most races, this is one where this something for everyone. People ABSOLUTELY compete in this race and generous prizes are given out to the top racers of each age group. I heard this year that the winner of the Cooper River Bridge Run finished in 29 minutes. What?!?! That’s insanity to me! The race starts in different corrals depending on your estimated time to complete. The quicker you think you’ll finish, the earlier you start the race. The walkers go at the end so they don’t hold up the runners. There are a TON of walkers and noticed that if you’re in the last corral, you can even bring a baby stroller. I loved seeing moms out there pushing their young one’s across the finish line!
Is there an age limit to run?
There is no age limit. There’s a category for awards for ages 5-9 which seems to be the youngest that actually ran. A 9 year old ran it in 45 minutes this year. On the other hand, there were tons of UNBELIEVABLE people running in their 80s and 90s! An 80 year old ran it in 1:08! Yeah..my time was 1:09…an 80 year old BEAT ME! haha I’m not even mad..I’m impressed!
Every time I saw one of these 80 year olds on the course, I seriously wanted to just give them a high five. Go you! The oldest runner appeared to be a 96 year old woman. That’s simply AMAZING!
Have you ever done the Cooper River Bridge Run? If so, scroll down and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you thought of it!