MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Great fall weather was a highlight for the 44th annual Cooper River Bridge Run – the first to take place in the autumn season since the event’s premiere in April 1978.
Hermin Garic was the first to cross the finish line in the wheelchair division during Saturday’s race. Garic, from Utica, New York, placed 2nd during the bridge run wheelchair division in 2019 with an end time of 24:48. Bridge Run officials say Garic was able to break a record in the wheelchair division this year with an approximate time of 22:58.
Edward Cheserek was the first to cross the finish line for the male elite runners, crossing the finish line with a time of about 28:25. Cheserek, 27, is from Kenya. He will earn a $10,000 prize for winning Saturday’s run.
Nell Rojas, 33, from Flagstaff, Arizona was the first among the elite females to cross the finish line Saturday morning.
Cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bridge Run officials made the decision earlier this year to postpone the race until late September when organizers hoped large groups would be able to safely gather.
There are 11 elite males and 10 elite females competing in the 2021 race, including one South Carolina native, Anna Stoddard from Columbia – she has competed for the University of South Carolina in other races with a personal best of 34:32 for a 10K.
Bridge Run organizers have made a number of changes to keep runners safe amid the ongoing pandemic. Runners were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to race day. They’ve also increased handwashing stations along the race route, and spectators are not allowed inside Marion Square where runners gather after crossing the finish line.
The starting line for the Cooper River Bridge Run is located just ahead of Simmons Street in Mount Pleasant, and heat markers begin near the Moultrie Shopping Center. About 25,000 runners and walkers cross the Ravenel Bridge, head down Meeting Street onto Woolfe Street before making their way down King Street, up Wentworth Street and back up Meeting Street to Marion Square.