Bridge Run sell out has charities running to the bank

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Runners are not the only ones profiting from the Cooper River Bridge Run. Nine charities have been selected to benefit from the run's 'Charity Connection' program and now that the race is sold out, the charities will get a huge boost.

Assistant Race Director Benita Schlau says that the charities have the possibility of splitting in excess of $50,000.

"Four years ago we started the Charity Connection," says Schlau. "This year as you know we are sold out... so that's a boost to the charities."

The sell out means the only way extra runners can get a number before race day is by donating $150 dollars to one of the nine charities the run has to choose from.

"We're really grateful," says Louis Youhasz. "This is a huge opportunity for us."

It's the second year the founder of Louie's Kids and Run Buddies has been selected as a Bridge Run charity. Youhasz says the impact his non-profit receives from being selected is unparalleled.

"This is huge for us," the founder says. "This is 40,000 people... Last year we took a little bit more than $2300 and we invested that money into the development of Run Buddies."

The American Cancer Society received $12,000 in donations in 2010.

"At the end of the race they look at what they brought in and determine how they'll break that up amongst each of our charities," says ACS community manager Fronde Merchant. "That's actual money that comes straight into our office."

Being selected as one of the nine charities was not easy. Fronde says the American Cancer Society had to be approved by the run's Board of Directors and then must be able to provide at least 100 volunteers on race day.

It's all downhill after that.

"We're really excited to be here and we're looking forward to 5:30 Saturday morning at the start line," says Merchant.

According to the Assistant Race Director there are still 600 charity bibs remaining for purchase before the Cooper River Bridge Run.

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