Sunday, April 01, 2007

Back from South Carolina

We just got back from the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. The city is very nice and the people were fantastic!

The race is different from what I expected. When I figured out that about 40% of the participants were walkers we were VERY excited about being part of the Expo. We were expecting to see anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 walkers. My husband went with me to be sure we could handle the crowds.

Though we had a fantastic booth location, the number of people who came to the booth was pretty small. In fact, we handed out fewer than 600 magazines during the Expo and several people took more than one sample issue. All of the exhibitors in the lower level, where we were, closed up at least two hours early on the last night, Friday evening. After packing up the car, I went upstairs to locate a woman with the local MS organization. I could not believe how many people were moving through! It was VERY crowded! So, how come there were tons of people upstairs, and none in the Expo downstairs? Well, they were descending the stairs and walking straight out the building.

Many of the people we met over those two days asked if I was entered in "the walk." That confused me and I said I was entered in "the race." I don't recall so many people all calling the "walking division" of a race "the walk" before. I thought it was just a "localism."

The day of the race, it all made sense. I was in the middle of the corral with the walkers and soon realized that I was one of just a few who intended to go fast. There were so many people I could not get up closer to the runners if I had tried, so there may have been many walkers who were very fast that I never saw.

After the start, I did my best to pass people and pick up speed. (More details will be in the Summer issue of WALK.) I came across a few people who were also trying to be fast, but not many. There were people with strollers, couples holding hands, groups holding huge banners, tons of people in blue jeans.... This was anything BUT a race! The majority of these walkers were just enjoying an opportunity to walk across the bridge with their friends and the community!

Even after 6.2 miles, I NEVER got in front of the people who were out for a nice stroll because there were so many walkers. In fact, I crossed the finish line alongside people pushing strollers. (Not running with strollers, walking with strollers.)

After a while, I realized this event was like one other event I enter regularly - the Race for the Cure. Now, I love the Race for the Cure, but not once have I been able to "race." I do it for the camaraderie and walking for a cause. I realized that this event was just like that - people do it for the camaraderie and because it is their race and their bridge. It is very cool how they love their bridge.

A few people who missed the tables with the medals asked where I got my "medallion." I found the choice of word interesting. It must be another "localism."

So, this was a good and bad two days. The people we met were fantastic. The race was interesting. The race staff were great and the sponsor cruise was fabulous! The city was very nice. (Our hotel was horrible.) And the expo was not so good for us. We'll see in a couple of days how well we did based on the number of subscriptions we get.

OK, here is my final point, and I have got to get to bed. I was walking with thousands and thousands of walkers. Why weren't these people at the Expo?

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