CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Forty days of Bridge Run fun kicks off Monday in anticipation of the 40th anniversary Cooper River Bridge Run.
Race day 2017 is set for April 1, 2017, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate the major anniversary in the meantime.
"40 days and 40 nights leading up to , and today's the kickoff event," Tate Nation said.
Nation designed the 40th anniversary poster and signed copies of the poster Monday at the Bridge Run headquarters as part of the kickoff.
The artist has run the Bridge Run several times.
"Being surrounded by so many people, running through town, it's pretty fantastic," Nation said. "It just makes so many people aware of Charleston."
29,000 people have already registered as of Monday, according to Bridge Run Exec. Director Julian Smith.
Tens of thousands of people travel to the Holy City each year for the annual 10k, which first started in 1978.
"It was like 4,000, 6,000 people in the race," Smith said of the run's early years. "Now we're the third largest 10k in the United States. That to me is an accomplishment…and to do it in a small city like Charleston, it's amazing."
"You see more of the youth running, you see a lot of people from other states and countries come and run," local Kirsis Reese said of the race's
growth over the years. "One of the great things about the Bridge Run is seeing the Kenyans come out and run. They run the whole six miles in like 15 minutes."
For Reese, the Bridge Run is a "highlight" of living in Charleston.
Anniversary events will be held across the Holy City over the next month, including a special exhibit at Charleston Museum commemorating 40 years of Bridge Run art (begins March 1); a Battle of the Bands event on the USS Yorktown (March 2) and a Cooper River Bridge Kids Run (March 31) In addition, a daily raffle prize giveaway begins Monday with proceeds benefiting the 10k's 15 Charleston-area charities.