2016 Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10k Recap

benfranklinbridge

A lot can change in four years. 2012 seems like a lifetime ago at this point but it was actually the first time I participated in the Run the Bridge 10k. Dinosaurs weren’t exactly roaming the earth but it was pre-Scoot a Doot days, when I used to blog about my races on Tumblr, so I think that’s saying something.

Packet pickup was quick and easy – I live right near one location of the South Jersey Running Company. When you register you are able to choose your packet pickup location of choice.

I was in and out of the store in less than 3 minutes, although they did offer bridge runners 20% off that day. I refrained but it was a challenge! There was also a 15% coupon in the race packet so my plan is to get back there soon for new Mizunos for the Philly half.

The packet had the race bib, long sleeved cotton t-shirt, and a couple of papers regarding the course and other little odds and ends.

shirtandbib

The race benefits the LARC school, which is a local school that assists students with disabilities at no cost to the families. It’s a great cause and one that I feel really good about supporting while participating in the race.

The emails from the race management were informative and they kept good communication lines, which is always appreciated! They suggested getting to the parking lots early and I did just that. Roads apparently started closing around 7am so I arrived at 6:30. Plenty of time to tailgate in my car with water and a banana and play on social media – #runnertailgating.

Most races I’ve done I wind up carpool with friends or meeting up with them for pre-race pictures/post-race drinks. I was solo for this race – I saw a lot of people I recognized from other races and our local Run 856 group, but I wasn’t there with anyone. I missed my buddies!

bridgegroup

Campbell’s Field used to host the Camden Riversharks, a minor league baseball team, but within the past year the organization disbanded. I’m not sure what they’re doing with the stadium now that the Riversharks are no longer playing there but it was well kept and ready to host 4,000 runners and walkers.

A plus of being at the stadium was that there are real bathrooms to use prior to the race. I will always opt for that over port-a-potties. They were also offering coffee and other assorted things, as well as checking IDs for the post-race beer garden. Very cushy in comparison to other races!

bridgewalktostart

The walk from the stadium to the bridge provided a warm up and there were two lines of port-a-potties along the way, as well.

As the name suggests, the Ben Franklin Bridge is a huge portion of this race. Once on the bridge, there were no official corrals but they did have pace markers for people to self-seed. I placed myself in between the 11-12 minute mile, which I knew was what I would be doing for this run.

bridge11min

We started exactly at 8:30. I don’t have any pictures from the course because I was just trying to focus on breathing and getting up the hills of the bridge. I haven’t done much hill training so the incline, while slow and steady, was still felt. I definitely took advantage of the downhills. There was brief stint in Philadelphia around the loop and then it’s back for round two of the bridge.

The second part of the race is through the streets of Camden, along the waterfront, near the Battleship New Jersey, and then back to the stadium. There were 3 water stations and plenty of police and volunteers throughout the route. Not many spectators but the enthusiasm of the volunteers was fantastic!

My legs weren’t too pleased during the second portion of the race. Additionally I think I made a mistake with pre-race fuel by taking it too early. I wound up finishing in 1:13. Not my best, but given the course it was pretty much what I anticipated. I’m definitely proud of getting out there and getting it done!

bridgemedal

Finishing on the field is always exciting and immediately after volunteers had medals waiting for us.

There was plenty of water, chocolate milk, snack bags, bagels, waiting for the dinners. There were lines for each and I wasn’t exactly sure what was what so I just found the end of one and stood in it. You can probably imagine my happiness when I found out it was the beer line! YES PLEASE! I think this was the first year that they offered a beer at the end of this race. (Yards, for those interested.)

bridgemer

Easy getting to my car and I was back home before noon. Mother Nature had my back this time because the weather was perfect! A lot can change in four years but this race stays consistently challenging and great.

Next race for me is the Philly half. I’d like to get a couple of training runs in before then – possibly do a bit more hill work in the interim. But first, this week is the start of No-school-vember – my kids are off Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Give me strength! 😉

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