Bridge Run: More than 37,000 will run, but as many as 4,000 volunteer
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - While more than 37,000 people are expected to run in the 40th Cooper River Bridge Run, as many as 4,000 are expected to volunteer their services Saturday.
These volunteers come from all over the area to help with the Lowcountry's biggest race, which happens to fall on National Serve Day.
"It's easier to work with groups, because then you can get a team leader all the information on where they need to be, what time, how to pick up their shirts," said Volunteer Coordinator Benita Shaw.
This year volunteers will sport red shirts complete with the race logo on the back.
Having worked with volunteers for 35 years, Shaw said more and more people return to help each year.
"If a wife is running, her husband may call and ask to help out, which is wonderful," she said. "I think it's such a wonderful community event that people want to be a part of it."
Fifteen charities also help with the effort, each supplying 100 people. Beyond that, volunteers come from companies outside of South Carolina, but also the local churches, high schools and colleges.
"The College of Charleston, they've been wonderful," Shaw said. "The women's soccer team is giving out all the medals at the finish; the women's basketball team is doing my water stop at the corner of King and Calhoun which is a large water stop."
People who have offered to volunteers are also prepared for some of the long hours for the race itself.
"Those who are at the water stop get there early enough to set up the tables, put all the water out and they stay until the last runner or walker has passed," Shaw said. "Then they clean up all the cups. [It's similar] for the fest; on race day, you would never know the race happened by one o'clock [because] Marion Square is pristine, all the signage [is gone] and the roads are back open."
There's a lot of work that goes into the race though before big day, starting with packet pickup.
"We open at noon Thursday until 8 p.m. and Friday we open at 8 a.m. and will be here until 8 p.m.," Shaw said. "[These volunteers] get into it, and the energy feeds and they love it. I have some people who sign up for a four-hour shift and then they come and say Benita I don't want to leave, I'll stay all day."
Monday volunteers and maintenance crews were busy putting together dividers, walls, and hanging signage for the Bridge Run Expo at the North Charleston Coliseum.
More than 30,000 people are expected to pick up their packets Thursday and Friday, which means a lot of hands on deck to answer questions related to the race.
Shaw said they've about reached their capacity for volunteers, however if you are still searching for an opportunity you can contact the race's headquarters.
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