Cooper River Bridge Run


 Except for my calves still being a tad tight, I’m feeling “right as rain” after completing the famous Cooper River Bridge Run on Saturday.  By the time I hit the five mile mark, the thrill of the bridge itself was behind me, and the going got a little rough. I was so hot and uncomfortable that not even the cheering crowds lining the street helped my state that much.

That’s when I remembered something I’d been told by a motivational speaker 12 or 13 years ago when Carrie and I were preparing for a “Team in Training” marathon raising money for leukemia. The speaker warned us that we’d feel depleted, sore, hungry, and out of sorts at the end of 26.2 miles.  Not to fear, however, because she promised that after a warm shower, nutritious food, and a good night’s rest we’d be “good to go.” Then she added almost as a postscript that the people braving leukemia wouldn’t be able to experience this, not the event and not the feeling good in the morning. That was a sobering thought and one I’ve never forgotten.  As I jogged/walked down Charleston’s King Street, I KNEW that in a matter of moments, I’d have bananas, apples, and muffins and that within a couple of hours, I’d be freshly showered and shopping with my sister. By Sunday, I’d be the old me.

 Here’s a picture of the five of us (Jayne, Anna, Greg, Ann, and Ruth) who, along with about 40,000 others, made the trip from Mt. Pleasant, across the bridge, and into downtown Charleston, the biggest number ever.  I promise not to go on and on and on about it, but I just have to share some of the weekend’s perceptions.

After a sleepless night in which I tossed and turned with Connie’s old friend insomnia, I got at 5:08, and the three of us (my sister Ann and her sister-in-law Ruth) were at the race start before 7:00. By the way, the motels in Mount Pleasant and Charleston always charge an exorbitant amount for this particular weekend, so we stayed in North Charleston in a nice and reasonably priced motel. Just letting you know in case you decide to join us next year.  I understand that everyone has to make a profit and that business is business, but is it ever right to deliberately gouge someone?

As I crossed Shem Creek and made my way toward the bridge, I felt ghosts of races past. There was my ex-husband, a bridge running buddy beginning in around 1981 when the event of a few hundred people began at Patriot’s Point with only a few hundred people. Then there was my brother Mike and his son Matthew. One year it rained before race time, and Mike brought trash bags for us to wear. Matthew was around 18 at the time and with no training whatsoever, he beat the socks off of all of us. Ah, youth. Paul did it a couple of years ago, and like his cousin Matthew, he beat us to the finish without training …or at least, he finished ahead of me, and Saturday I imagined seeing him standing beside thestreetlight near the finish line. Mike couldn’t make it to Saturday’s bridge run; my daughters, niece, and Lisa weren’t there either, but I felt their spirits.

Here are some cool memories of sights and sounds:

*Running skirts of with a cheetah print with pink inset. Check them out at
*Lots of older women but not that many older men. Why is that? I’m talking 70s and maybe even a few in their 80s.
*The Blues Brothers and  several Easter bunnies.
*Several t-shirts and a couple of bags that said “Life is good.” Indeed.
*Cool, hydrating water along the way thanks to the hundreds of volunteers.
*A woman holding a poster that read, “You Inspire Me.”Many of the race participants around me said, *“You inspire us. Thank you.”
*The good, super loud music provided by local radio stations
*My own little iPod shuffle as I listened to tunes as varied as “Voulez-vous?” from Mama Mia, “At Last” by Etta James, and chants of Gregorian Monks.
*The Chick FilA cows who danced, posed for pictures, and gave away goodies.
*A huge lemon poppy seed muffin and tons of fruit. Thanks BiLo.

Just like thousands of others, we rode a school bus back to Mt. Pleasant, and I met a woman named Sheryl from Goose Creek. Her car was parked about four miles from where the bus dropped us off, so after parting company with Greg and Anna, we took Sheryl to her car. For that brief moment in time, we were united in our experience of “getting over it,” the bridge, and I hope her Monday memories are as fun as mine.

Regardless of race, age, gender, national origin, religion, finish time, or any other trait, anyone who’s participated in this event, is part of a club. If that sounds corny to you, then join us next year, and you’ll understand what I mean. There’s just something about the commonality of the experience that unites people.



Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

5 thoughts on “Cooper River Bridge Run”

  1. i remember, this is for your mother…what a wonderful thing…i just watched 7 pounds with will smith and he gave so much in the movie for others,,,when you give it to the least of them you give it to the savior…to your mother

  2. I love this post! It just makes me want to get up and run. I bet there was some gorgeous scenery on that run (in addition to the scenery in the crowd).

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