As one of the organizations integral to the founding of the Cooper River Bridge Run in 1978, the College of Charleston has always been at the head of the pack of the region’s seminal 10K race.
With the bridge run returning to a pre-pandemic scale for 2023, the College, one of seven entities represented on the Cooper River Bridge Run Executive Board, is more committed than ever to supporting the race, which takes place on April 1, 2023. That includes helping the CofC community take part with a discount code (cofc2023) for $10 off registration to use with the registration link at checkout.
“The neat part about this is that it is a community event,” says Wes Dudgeon, interim dean of the College’s School of Health Sciences, who currently serves as the chair of the Cooper River Bridge Run Executive Board. “So much of what we talk about with fitness and health is an individual thing – it’s ‘I need to eat better’ or ‘I need to exercise.’ But this is a group activity and, I think, it helps promote that kind of community aspect to fitness and wellness.”
The race turns the normally traffic-heavy Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge into a colorful stream of runners.
Alicia Caudill, executive vice president of student affairs, who serves alongside Dudgeon on the bridge run’s executive board, says the race provides an opportunity to connect students with the larger Charleston community and offers students access to a memorable event near campus in the heart of the Holy City.
“This is a signature Charleston event that brings people to the city and brings all these different aspects of the community together,” says Caudill, adding that the College regularly encourages students to get involved in the larger Charleston community. “The race supports the student success aspect of the College’s strategic plan through student wellness. And students also love Charleston, and this is a really fun way – a different way – for them to see the city and be in the city and be with other people.”
The College has always been well represented on race day. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff are among the hordes of runners and walkers who make the 6.2-mile trek from Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston, where the race finishes on Meeting Street next to campus. The CofC community is also visible among the legions of volunteers who staff the start and finish lines and post-race activities. CofC’s student-run EMS team volunteers to work alongside other emergency medical providers to give care to runners during the event. This year, volunteer opportunities range from helping with the Bridge Run Expo to staffing water aid stations to supporting the Finish Festival at Marion Square just one block from campus.
Campus Recreation Services helps students, faculty and staff keep up the pace heading into the big race with its free Bridge Run Training Program, which is open to all levels – from beginners to seasoned runners to those who want to walk. This year’s program kicks off on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, but participants can join at any time by emailing Campus Recreation Services Director Bucky Buchanan to be added to the program list.
Members of the CofC community can participate in the College’s Bridge Run Training Program to get ready for the annual 10K race.
The training program consists of educational support (in both email and video format) with information on proper training, nutrition and running tips to avoid injuries as well as individual training activities and scheduled voluntary group runs.
“There are literally no commitments you have to make. You can participate as much as you want to,” says Buchanan. “Obviously, the more you engage and participate the better, but all aspects are voluntary.”
Buchanan says students interested in training for the Cooper River Bridge Run can also get involved with the College’s running club, which will have members participating in the Bridge Run Training Program and taking part in the race.
With the bridge run poised to return to pre-pandemic participation levels, Dudgeon and Caudill are excited to see the College’s participation ramping up and hope this year’s event will motivate students, faculty and staff to step into the race.
“We’re always looking for ways to bring faculty, staff and students together,” says Caudill. “It’s a great opportunity to engage with people across campus around something that’s a common interest.”
“It promotes a kind of community aspect to fitness and wellness,” adds Dudgeon. “In the bigger picture we hope participating in the bridge run will kind of instill some lifelong, healthy habits.”