Winner clocks fastest time ever on Ravenel Bridge

Chad Johnson, wheelchair race winner.
Chad Johnson, wheelchair race winner.
Simon Ndirangu, men's race winner.
Simon Ndirangu, men's race winner.

CHARLESTON, SC - CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As 40,000 runners took their places and awaited the start of the 2010 Cooper River Bridge Run, the wheelchair race was just ending.

This year's winner of the wheelchair race was Chad Johnson who crossed the finish line in 25:56.

Simon Ndirangu, a 24 year old Kenyan runner, won the men's race. He finished with a time of 27:49, the fastest time on the Ravenel Bridge.

Ndirangu said he had the wind at his back crossing the bridge which helped him win.

Meskerem Assefa, a 23 year old Ethiopian runner, won the women's race with a time of 32:28.

The winners of the Marcus Newberry award were Neville Miller, an ABC News 4 meteorologist, and Rives Poe. The Newberry awards go to the fastest runners in the state of South Carolina and is named for Marcus Newberry, the founder of the Cooper River Bridge Run. Miller finished with a time of 31:29.

The fastest runners from the U.S. are Simon Sawe and Allison Grace.

Russian national Nikolay Kerimov won the Masters men's division and Anzhelika Averkova of the Ukraine won the Masters women's division.

Joe Flores of Houston, Texas and Susi Smith of Greenville, SC won the Grand Masters race.

The finish of the race was close this year with three runners all within feet of each other as they rounded the last turn and approached the finish line, an anomaly for the Bridge Run. Usually, a runner will manage to distance himself from the rest of the pack.

A complete, and searchable, list of entrants and their finish times can be found here.

Police said one person collapsed after having a heart attack during the run, but he is undergoing treatment at the Medical University hospital. He is reportedly in stable condition. Authorities have not released his name.

Almost 40,000 people participated in the road race over the state's biggest bridge. The race is also one of the largest in the country. Saturday's 33rd Annual Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk crossed the Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River linking Mount Pleasant and Charleston.

United States Track and Field, the national governing body for track and field and long distance running, ranks the race as the third-largest 10-K road race in the United States. Organizers say the race means an economic impact of about $30 million for the Charleston area.

©2010 WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.