Bridge Run Tips

Tips from a local...

Updated: 10-9-13 (who knew so many people would read this...)

The Cooper River Bridge 10K (4-5-14) is an incredible race. The race organizers cap the registration at 40,000 (38,500 regular and 1,500 charity) people and it has sold out the last five years!!!

That's me and Peyton up front in black
Even though I run over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (that's the actual name of the bridge) almost once a week (sometimes more) it is still amazing to do it with 39,999 other people (it used to be more, but they capped it at a lower number).

The scene is unreal and something everyone should do at least once (I have run this race eight times and in 2013 I was lucky enough to run it with my nine year old son, Peyton).

Here are my tips for making this a great experience.

Walking the old 5K with my sister
My perspective is from someone who walked the 5K when it was on the old bridge (2006 - its only a 10K now). In 2007 I started in the back corral and finished in 1:17:37 (16,966 overall finisher) and then in 2011 I started in the third corral and finished 48:02 (1,989 overall finisher). Also, I live in Mount Pleasant (near the starting line) and work in Downtown Charleston (near the finish line).

I am assuming you have already trained for the race, but if you need a coach or a group to join email me at :

Part of the TrySports Ambassador Team 
Sign up early. Depending on your expected time, you may get a better corral and you will save some money (if you plan to run the Bridge in under an hour you should sign up even sooner, those bibs sellout fast!).

Relax and enjoy the crowds. Its a huge race, one of the biggest in the world. That's one of the cool things of being part of something like the Cooper River Bridge Run. Watch all the crazy people and just laugh. It will get you through some of the lines and the waiting.

If you are in town and are near Mount Pleasant before the race, go get your packet at the Bridge Run Store. You don't have to go to the expo!

If this is your first time running this race or any big race, go to the Expo! You do not want to miss walking through all the vendors and checking out all the running stuff. There are very few 10K's that offer an Expo as big as this one. The Expo has been moved to the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston. This is actually a good thing. It has better parking than downtown and its close to the airport for all of you that are flying in.

If you go to the Expo, go on Thursday (trust me on this one).

If you are flying into Charleston, you are actually flying into North Charleston (near the convention center). Not really a tip, just a fact. The tip is don't pack your running shoes and (if you had your packet mailed to you) your race number in your luggage. Put them in a carryon. My sister flew all the way from Indianapolis to run the race and her luggage was lost...

Carbo loading is really for races that last over ninety minutes (half and full marathons). Don't stuff yourself on pasta. But if you want to eat pasta, just remember that there are 39,999 other runners out there with the same idea and they have guests too... Okay, if you have to eat pasta then I suggest eating in Mount Pleasant.  La Pizzeria is right over the Bridge and Steel City Pizza (used to be Giuseppi's) is on Coleman near Sullivan's Island. Easy and you will get to drive down Coleman Blvd to see the starting line.

Organize your clothes the night before. Put your race bib (number) on your shirt. There are no chips to attach to your shoes (its on your bib) so this will save you some time. Oh, the blue Boeing bracelet from 2011 was a flash drive (you did not need to wear it during the race - that still cracks me up...). Last year there was a credit card size flash drive with all the race information on it (please do not wear it on your shoe  - although it sure would be funny to see).

Eat breakfast. The race starts at 8:00am (well, there are now wave starts so you might start as late as 8:33 - or later). Eat at least two hours before the race. Oatmeal is good, whole grain bread with almond butter and honey is great!

Get to the race early! If you park Downtown, either take the shuttle (be in line by 6:00am, they stop at 6:45am - don't be pissed if you show up late and the buses have already left) or get someone to drive you to Mount Pleasant. Same thing goes for North Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Daniel Island. This year there will be a shuttle pick up and drop off from the Charleston Area Convention Center (North Charleston, Mount Pleasant Town Center (Mount Pleasant) and Publix Shopping Center (Daniel Island) - checkout the Bridge Run site for more info, they keep changing it. If you know someone who lives in the Old Village ask them if you can park at their house and then walk to the start. I am hesitant to share this, but if you take 526 to the very end in Mount Pleasant and then get on Rifle Range Road it will take you into the Old Village. Very little traffic and your ride can drop you off near the start... Shhh...Don't tell anyone.

Yes its Charleston, but its not Key West. It may be cold at the start. Bring a throw away sweatshirt so you stay warm until the start of the race (sweatshirts are about $4.00 at Goodwill and some are fun to wear for a few hours - just ask that guy that sings Thrift Shop).

The Old Village is a great place to do a warm up run.

Use the bag drop off (sweat shuttle). You can pack a jacket or what ever else you might need at the end of the race and be able to enjoy the finish. The truck will be near the starting line. The pick up point will be in alphabetical order near Embassy Suites straight up Meeting Street (very easy and very organized).
Get in your corral as soon as possible. Enter from the rear and move as far up as you can (in your area).

Tips for running the course:

Mile One - this is mostly down hill, but look out for the median after the Shem Creek Bridge. As funny as it is to see hundreds of people tripping over it, I don't want someone who reads my blog to bite the pavement or slam into a lamp post.

Mile Two - You will start hitting the incline at the end of this mile. Again, not really a tip just wanted you to know.

Mile Three - you will be on the Bridge at this point. You are going to hear a bunch of Garmins going off before the mile marker (this happens every year - not sure why the marker is off). Anyway, its less than a mile to the top from this point! Push through this and it is smooth sailing down the Bridge.

Mile Four - the top of the Bridge and the decline. Don't take it easy here. Run like a kid! You don't have to come back up, so have fun running.

Mile Five - you will still be going down hill, but this is where the off ramp is located. Don't stop to sample the energy drinks or eat a donut at the bottom of the ramp. It will waist time and you will feel like crap afterwards.

Mile Six - I love this part of the race. The crowds will be cheering like crazy and you will go past the finish festival (the Kenyans will have already showered and cashed their checks at this point).

Last .2 - there are some turns at this point. When you are on Meeting Street going back towards the finish festival you are almost done. Kick it and sprint through the finish line! Don't look down at your watch or be surprised with your time, your finish picture will look pretty stupid...

The Finish Festival is great! There will be plenty of food and water (as long as the idiots don't hoard the food and water). 
Tell your friends where to meet you before you leave them.  Its crazy and you need to be specific (the bright orange TrySports tent is a good place). Check out the bands and just relax and enjoy the finish. Cheer on others as they come in.

If you are local (or not) join the Charleston Running Club. Yes, they have great meetings and races. But the CRC Tent at the finish festival is awesome! For $25 ($30 for a family membership) you get a year's membership and you get to have breakfast at their tent! I know this sounds crazy, but its well worth the money.

Don't rush to get back to your car. Relax... If you parked Downtown, you are already there. If you parked in Mount Pleasant, you have a few options.  You can run back (really, there are a ton of people that do this every year, just head to East Bay Street and follow the sidewalk to the Bridge). Or you can take the bus back. There are free buses (school buses) that shuttle thousands of runners back to Mount Pleasant (also North Charleston and Daniel Island starting this year). Here are two things you need to know. First, wait until the Bridge has opened before you take the bus back to Mount Pleasant. If not, they will drive all the way around 526 to get back to Mount Pleasant (not a problem for North Charleston and Daniel Island). Second, the bus drops you off where ever you got on (well depending if you read the sign and get on the right bus). So if you parked near the starting line (or the Old Village), you are going to have to walk several miles back to the Town Center. Make sure you plan this out before race day so you can find your car (you will notice the thousands of people who did not read this blog wondering around trying to figure out where they are).

There was is a new Bridge Run App available last year (not sure if there will be one this year). I tried it and it was okay. The download is free, but to get the cool stuff it is going to cost you $1.99. You can set it up to track your splits as well as anyone else running the race (I set up four people in my favorites and it looks like I could add more). It also has a place for results so you won't have to look all over the place to find your official time. It was a little slow after the race (too many people in one place I think), but it was fun to look up times later.

Don't forget to the check the Bridge Run site for the most recent updates (they also have a Facebook page too) and the Post and Courier (make sure you pick up the Thursday paper before the race and the Sunday paper after the race).

Last thing, if you have a child/children you need to sign them up for the Kids Bridge Run! My son ran this race from the time he was one (25 yards) until he was eight (1 mile). The race in in Hampton Park and there is a ton of free stuff and great activities for kids. My wife and I are honored that our son's artwork was selected for the 2014 Kids Bridge Run and the race has been dedicated to his memory.

If you have more tips or better tips please add them in the comments and I will try to include them next year.   
That's it! Have fun and good luck!

I will send out updates on Facebook ( and Twitter (@mooreonrunning) closer to the race.

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  1. This is the most helpful info on the run I've found yet! Thanks!

    1. Thanks! That's the best comment I have found so far :)

  2. Very helpful, Thanks so much. Do I stand a chance at all of getting a parking space downtown friday night? I registered late and only got an hour or more corral, I think I can run it in 48-51 minutes, is the crowd going to make this impossible?

    1. Thanks! Okay - let me start with the last question about running it in 48-51. Yes you can and yes its going to be hard with the crowds... I know that sucks (I mean my answer), but here are my suggestions (you probably already know this). First get to the front of the corral you are assigned, people will let you up front if they think you are serious (but nice). If you get up front, you are going to have about 2-3 minutes from the start before you hit the back of the next corral (go fast and stay to the left). There are more places on the left to move around the crowds than the right. Stay out of the middle. Do not go from one side to the other trying to pass people. You will spend less energy just trying to get in between runners and walkers. If you say "runner on your left", people will move (not everyone, but most will). As far as parking goes, that is a tough one... Depending on what time you get to the expo (I think you are talking about parking at the expo) you should be able to park at the garage next to it. If not, you should not have any problem parking at the Aquarium garage and walking 1-2 blocks over.

      Hope this helps, good luck!!!

  3. Thanks so much for these great tips, very helpful, once again. I printed the ones from last year(also very helpful, even for my friends who had ran it the year before)and will do the same this year. I will keep an eye out for updates on facebook.
    Thanks again, Noah for sharing your knowledge. Teresa


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