CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The man who led and organized the annual Cooper River Bridge Run for more than two decades has lost his battle with cancer.
Julian Smith died Friday after fighting a rare brain cancer, Bridge Run officials confirmed.
“The Bridge run staff and board is deeply saddened by Julian’s passing," Cooper River Bridge Run Deputy Director Irv Batten said. “He has been such a tremendous leader, a beacon for the Charleston Community. He’s going to be deeply missed.”
This year’s Bridge Run will be held in Smith’s honor and that Smith will have the “best seat in the house” watching from above, Batten said.
“This is what I’ve been telling the staff since the beginning, we knew it was going to happen,” he said. "We are doing this to honor Julian. This race this year is to honor him. So we’re going to do a good job. He’s going to be watching.”
Smith resigned his position with the Cooper River Bridge Run Board of Directors in January because of his health.
“For more than 20 years, Julian has been our leader, our mentor and our friend; for this, the Board would like to express its profound sense of gratitude,” the board said in a statement released on Jan. 16. “Julian is a force of nature and his leadership will be missed by the entire Bridge Run family and community as he moves on to the next phase of his life and the inevitable challenges it will bring. It was unanimously agreed upon by the CRBR Board that Julian would be given the title of Race Director Emeritus. We wish Julian all the best and offer our eternal thanks for a career of unparalleled success pursued with uncommon wit, wisdom and grace.”
Smith announced in October 2018 that he is fighting a rare brain cancer called Glioblastoma.
Board of Directors Vice Chairman and Charleston city councilman Mike Seekings stepped in as race director upon’s Smith resignation. The race is scheduled for April 6.