Saturday, April 2, 2016

Go Long 520 Bridge 10K race report

You know I love to run on a bridge, an elevated highway, or basically anywhere pedestrians aren't usually allowed to be. So when I read about the Go Long 520 Bridge 10K -- a chance to run across the longest floating bridge in the world before it opens to the public and vehicular traffic -- well, of course I was gonna do it.

We took the 44 -- an amusing bus ride from Ballard, because the bus FILLED UP with runners. But as we got closer to the University District, traffic slowed to a crawl, then a halt. Though we should have arrived at the UW Medical Center at 7:00, at 7:10 we had just crossed I-5. A lot of the runners -- ourselves included -- bolted when the doors opened at the Roosevelt Way stop and we all started running the mile or so to the start.

Luckily I had already gone to pick up our shirts and bibs on Thursday -- otherwise we would have missed the start.

But we got to Husky Stadium slipped through the crowd, and made our way to the starting area. They were announcing that they were delaying the start by 10 minutes to allow people to get from the parking area, which worked out well for us. Why? We had time for our obligatory pre-race photo!!!

The announced field size was over 12000 people ... pretty hard to believe. But the start was indeed crowded...

It took a while to get to the start ... so, TIME FOR ANOTHER PHOTO!

Team Wil-Sun get their race faces on
Team Wil-Sun get their race faces on!
Eventually, we crossed the start line and ran out across the Montlake Bridge ... which is always a little scary because of the sharp grating. We also had to narrow down from 4 lanes to 2 to get onto the onramp. I suspect when this race was planned they had hoped to have more work complete, as there was still a lot of construction equipment on the old roadway. 

It was also a surprisingly long way before we got to the new bridge ... I guess I hadn't really thought about it. But then, gloriously, we were on the bridge!

Wil welcomes you to the new 520 Floating Bridge!!!
Though the sun didn't break through until later in the day, the day was dry and there was no real wind. So on and on we ran. I had had weird little thoughts about all those marching feet somehow causing the bridge to wobble, but it clearly wasn't a problem.

Seriously, after the Broughton Suspension Bridge collapsed in 1831, the British Army issued instructions that troops should "break step" while crossing a bridge -- the "mechanical resonance" was blamed for the collapse. Remember the wobbly Millennium Bridge when it opened? Same thing. Apparently there was an even bigger disaster in France -- the Angers Bridge Collapse -- where 226 people died. Maybe floating bridges don't have the same issue as suspension bridges? Less chance of wobble? Anyway, this sign is from the Albert Bridge in London and it always amuses me that it's still there.

We ran up the incline to the turnaround, smiling for the Good to Go!

But we had to stop at the turnaround because this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:

It's a little difficult to tell, but the bridge is FULL of people. Pretty cool. The westbound lanes were all set up for the big ribbon-cutting ceremony later in the day, including a presentation from Guinness World Records of a certificate designating the new bridge, at 7708.494 feet, as the world's longest floating bridge.

We ran into several friends, including our pal Brenda C. -- always great to see our running pals in the wild!

our run
I didn't have a great performance today -- I felt like my feet were slapping the ground, which I noticed in my run in Oklahoma, too. And I got a very strange cramp in my left calf. So much to work on, eh? 
even the bibs were nice!

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