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Cooper River Bridge Run Column - March 28th, 2005
Things to Do Before Tackling the Big Race

By Art Liberman

Congratulations - You’ve successfully completed your training for this year’s Bridge Run! Yet as race day approaches, your stress level is likely to be on the rise. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Just about everyone in this year’s field of over 40,000, beginners and experienced runners alike, share a common concern – making it to the starting line on time.

As you rest your legs for the race by tapering your mileage, it’s time strap-on your thinking cap. - The best ways to keep your anxiety level in check are to be fully informed, make specific plans, and prepare as far in advance as possible before race day.

Since last weeks’ column highlighted the physical preparations and strategies for the race (posted on charleston.net along with other Countdown to the Bridge Run articles), the following are tips to take you right up to 8:00 am Saturday morning when the 28th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run begins.

Monday – Wednesday

Gather Information – Review the race application as it contains detailed information about all aspects of the run and walk. The Bridge Run’s website: www.bridgerun.com is a quick and convenient way to keep abreast of the latest news. Should you still have questions, telephone the Bridge Run’s Info-Line at 792-0345.

The Bridge Run Store is another source of information as well as a great place to shop for race souvenirs. It’s located behind the IMAX Theatre among the Fountain Walk Shops, 360 Concord St., Suite 202 - Telephone 937-4183.

Make Travel Arrangements - Now’s the time to make your travel and parking plans. With record numbers participating in this year’s event, leaving home very early and carpooling is highly recommended.

The free shuttle buses departing from the Charleston Visitor Center between 5:00 to 6:45 am are quick and convenient. But because nearby public parking is limited, be sure to allow yourself extra time to walk from distant locations.

If you choose to drive to the start, keep in mind that both the Pearman Bridge and Coleman Blvd. close to traffic at 7:00 am, making I-526 your only option to Mt. Pleasant after that time. Like downtown Charleston, finding public parking will be challenging. With this option, keep in mind that you will need to catch a return shuttle (departing from Concord St. from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm) to retrieve your car.

Get Organized –To better manage your time and help you prepare for the race, consider making a “to-do list”, particularly if you will be hosting out-of-town guests.

Within this list, jot down the possible clothing you expect to wear during the race along with any other items you will need prior to, or after the event (warm-ups, water, snacks, fuel-belt, fanny-pack, dry clothes, etc.).

A sweat shuttle truck (for runners only, located near the starting line) will transport the items you won’t be running with to Ansonborough Field, site of the post-race festivities. Bags will not be provided so be sure to bring your own, writing your name, race number, and telephone number clearly marked on the outside.

If you will be driving to the race, have a plan for your car keys. If your running shorts don’t have a pocket, your key can be placed in a fanny pack along with other small items. It’s best to leave valuables at home or locked in your trunk.

Thursday

Fitness Exposition and Race Packets – Avoid the larger crowds! Pick up your race packet when the Expo opens it’s doors Thursday from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm at the Gailliard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St. Expo hours on Friday are from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm. Don’t forget that there will be no race day pickup.

First pick up your race or walk number on the second floor. Packets and t-shirts are located inside the big tent, accessed by walking through the main exhibit hall on the first floor. But don’t hurry! Check out the displays of the many vendors and exhibitors on hand, featuring a variety of running/fitness-related products and services

Before leaving the Expo, take a few minutes to carefully read the race instructions contained within your packet. It covers just about everything you need to know about the walk, run, and related events. Should you have any questions, visit the Solutions Table located on the second floor where Bridge Run staff will be happy to assist you.

Sleep - Try to get a good night’s sleep Thursday in case are unable to sleep soundly Friday.

Friday

Final Preparations - If you haven’t already done so, finish gathering together the items from your packing list so that you won’t be rushed or forget anything Saturday morning. Confirm and make last-minute travel arrangements. Set a specific time and place to meet family and friends after the race. Eat an easily digestible lunch and dinner. Hydrate by drinking lots of water. And hit the sack early.

Check the weather forecast frequently for the expected weather conditions Saturday morning. www.weather.com is a great way to get accurate and up to date information. If race temperatures are expected to be above 50 degrees, plan to wear just a single layer of clothing to avoid dehydration.

Race Number - Fill in the medical and contact information on the back of the your race number. Pin your race number on the front and outer-most layer of what you will wear. It needs to be clearly visible throughout the event: To board shuttle buses, to line up at the start of the race, to get on the bridge and to cross the finish line, to receive accurate results, to receive refreshments at Ansonborough Field, and so you can be identified by photographers for race photos. Race organizers will have spotters all along the course to remove runners and walkers without numbers.

ChampionChip – So that your finish time is included in the results (runners only), be sure that your computer chip is attached securely to your running shoe (e.g., on an eyelet, on laces located midway down the tongue).

Saturday Morning

Before Leaving Home - Be sure to wake up early enough to eat a light snack (if that’s something that you normally do before running), hydrate, and take care of any personal needs. Check the weather one final time in case you haven’t made a final decision about what to wear during the race.

In Mt. Pleasant - In the hour or so before the race, continue hydrating. Allow yourself enough time to hit the Port-O-Potty and to warm up by jogging for a few minutes followed by stretching. Should you have any last minute questions or need assistance, Bridge Run staff will be located near the scaffolding at the starting line.

And finally, line up for the start according to your expected race pace. Along your way to the finish line, be safe, be courteous, and have fun. Here’s wishing you the very best of luck!

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