Monday, June 14, 2010

American Cancer Society's George Washington Bridge Challenge

Yesterday, I took part in the American Cancer Society's George Washington Bridge Challenge. I'm not calling this a race report because it was not organized like a typical road race. There were no winners, no prize money, no age group awards. Rather the GWB Challenge was a fun run to benefit the American Cancer Society. The event featured 5k and 10k runs as well as 4, 25, 33, and 63 mile bike rides.

What's unique about this event is that the lower level of the bridge is completely shut down to traffic and all runs and bikes begin with participants running or riding an out an back on the lower span of the bridge. I've run on the upper level pedestrian path many times but I thought it would be fun to run in the middle of the bridge where thousands of cars cross each day.

The start of the event was well organized. Cyclists went out first at 7:30 followed by the runners at 7:45. The run on the bridge reminded me a lot of portion of the New York City Marathon that crosses the 59th bridge. Mainly silence except for the breathing and footsteps of the runners. When we got off the bridge, we ran up an emergency egress up to Hudson Terrace. This is where things got a frustrating. When I came off the ramp I heard someone shout "5k and 10k this way." Next thing I know, I'm running towards the Port Authority Building where the run started. I thought "this can't be right" so I ran back down Bruce Reynolds Blvd. and joined a group of runners heading down on Hudson Terrace towards Edgewater. Little did I know they were running the 5k course, this was the second time within a few minutes that I had taken a wrong turn. Once I got my bearings straight, the rest of the run went pretty well. I've been struggling with my speed since the marathon so,  I pushed the pace curious to see what I had. Unfortunately, my Garmin lost its signal while I was on the bridge so my pace and distance were off. The 10k course was quite hilly up Hudson Terrace and on the residential streets of Englewood Cliffs. The run ended in Allison Park, near St. Peter's College.

Other than getting briefly getting lost, I was happy with the event. It's something to do once for the novelty of it. Best of all, yesterday's event raised over $180,000 for the American Cancer Society. There is still time to make a contribution to the American Cancer Society in support of my run. If you have the means, donations of any amount can be made by clicking here.

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