Two hundred feet above water and 4.136 miles of bridge surface is just the tip of the iceberg for Across the Bay 10K, Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run. What began in 2014 by co-founders Sparrow Rogers and Peter Paris faced many hurdles to overcome, none of which included registered runners and walkers for their first event. “We announced the event in the fall of 2013 and by March of 2014, we were completely sold out with 20,000 participants. The response was absolutely astounding. The next challenge was going to be the logistics of the event: transportation, water, snacks, check-in, etc.,” said Rogers when asked about planning the inaugural event.
It was then that Rogers and Paris knew how detrimental it was to join forces with someone who knows the business of running events. In comes running legend Dave McGillivray, who serves as the Race Director, with the help of the Boston Marathon Team. McGillivray first became well known to the world when in 1978, he ran over 3400 miles across the United States from Medford, OR to his hometown of Medford, MA, to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farmer Cancer Institute.
The route itself may seem like a simple one, but how do you transport 20,000+ runners, walkers and volunteers? Where will the staging area be and how do you coordinate the finish line? After two years at the helm, Rogers and Paris have certainly learned a lot and they continue to learn as they transform the event each year, but they finally feel like they are in a steady stride heading into the big day. They were actually able to run the 10K in 2015 due to the awesome volunteers that have signed up each year. From checking in participants to selling merchandise and to assisting with the parking lots, the volunteers are really the force behind this event. All 800 volunteers to be exact!
So, now you may be thinking “I’m not a runner so this event can’t possibly be for me, right?” Wrong. This event is completely open to anyone and everyone 10 years and older. People of all athletic abilities are encouraged to participate in the Across the Bay 10K and, if you get stuck along the way, no worries because there will be a shuttle service to assist participants to the finish line.
We asked Rogers for her best advice regarding the preparation the morning of the big race: “Don’t stress out but plan ahead. Give yourself about an hour prior to your scheduled wave to park your vehicle, hop on a shuttle and make your way to the staging area. And carpool accordingly… we love carpools! If you happen to have friends scheduled for a later wave than you and you wish to join them, the best thing to do would be to fall back. You can always fall back to a later wave time. It’s when teams try to speed up that the congestion begins. And remember to have fun! You will experience the most amazing views of the Bay Bridge. Enjoy the moment, you earned it!” commented Rogers.
While you’re at the event, be sure to make new friends. At least 75% of the participants are from Maryland, while the other 25% come from all 50 states and 20+ countries. This event is reaching runners in Asia and Muldova, really from all around the world. In 2015, they actually had 50 runners fly in from London just for this event. “We never thought that we would reach this many people. The response has truly been overwhelming. For security and safety purposes, we have capped the event at 25,000 runners and walkers, which we are quickly approaching,” said Rogers.
So, what can you expect during race weekend? Below is just a snapshot of things to come:
Friday, November 4th – Race Expo Opens at 10am. Participants will be able to pick up race bibs and access the starting information.
Saturday, November 5th – Race Expo Opens at 10am. Participants will be able to pick up race bibs and access the starting information. This is also the day for the Shark Sprint, a 1K Kid’s Race, hosted at the Naval Academy Football Stadium. Click here for more info.
Sunday, November 6th – Race Day! Race waves are scheduled from 7:00am to 9:30am, followed by the Finish Line Festivities that include live music, great food, family activities and beer vendors. All proceeds from the Finish Line Festivities benefit the First Responders of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. Win-win!
We are only 8 weeks away from this remarkable event and here is your chance to be a part of history. You can run/walk on your own or you can build your own team. You can choose to run/walk for charity if you like. The choice is yours, but the important thing is that you participate. There is no other event in the state of Maryland like this one and the event itself is life changing for so many. Don’t believe us? Stay tuned for our next installment of the Across the Bay Series to learn more!
*Photos provided by CR Global and Gameface Media