The Bridge-to-Bridge race is a run back through time from the new Knapps Narrows Bridge (left, above) to the old at the Maritime Museum entrance.
We are all predictible. We fall into routines. We have behavior patterns, like running at particular times or days of the week. And we gravitate toward things we like while staying away from stuff we don't like.
One reasonable guarantee for me is that I will seek out caffeine in the morning--just out of bed, and beyond. I accept and enjoy my coffee crutch. And after dropping our 5-year old at school in St. Michaels, I generally stop through the same stomping grounds to grab my start-the-workday joe.
Most mornings, it's the same hellos and similar sounding conversations as I fill up a cup at the Blue Crab Coffee House. A notable exception came this past fall, when Bradley Hower, a friend and fellow runner, called me over to his table and introduced me to Bill Frost, a running partner of his. They had just finished the Army 10-miler in Washington, DC/northern Virginia and were looking to latch on to another race. Bradley mentioned the fact that I worked at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
"You know what you guys should do?" Bill offered. "You should have a Bridge-to-Bridge run. You have that cool Knapps Narrows Bridge at your entrance and then the new one on Tilghman. Connect the bridges. I bet it'd be about 12 miles."
As a runner who works at the Museum, drives under that bridge 5 days a week, and with a wife who is a teacher on Tilghman Island, I don't know how or why that never occurred to me. It made so much sense. It was quirky, different, iconic, and oddball enough that it could attract runners. And it fit in with the Museum's mission to promote and preserve Chesapeake Bay heritage.
"And another thing," Bradley and Bill knew they had me. "We need a longer road race in the spring--there are so many in the fall, but we want to stay in shape all year long, so we need an anchor to get us going in the beginning of the year!"
The more people I ran the idea by at the Museum, the more support it gained. When I gave it the flagpole hoist with other area runners, it stood up as well. As it turns out, the Bridge-to-Bridge Half-Marathon is going to be the kick-off to a newly formed concept for a day-long environmental festival, Bay Day, on April 21.
Since I am not a race director, I called some folks I knew who put together well-organized road races, and ultimately got together with Tim Bamforth, who runs the Seashore Striders, to help take care of race and course logistics. The one condition I included as we began to conceive the race, was that I would be able to run it.
What we have so far, is a windy (wine-dee, wind is TBD), flat, point-to-point course with Eastern Shore scenery that is certain to help some runners post half-marathon PRs, and a fun finish at the Museum, with waterfront, food, shelter, and bathrooms! Stay tuned for more details. And be sure to sign up to be a part of this historic Bay adventure.
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