Bridge run gets capped

Photo from the starting line of the 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run (Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

By Valencia

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - The one-hour delay to this year's Cooper River Bridge Run pushed organizers to take immediate action in preparation for next year.

So much so, organizers are capping the race at 40,000 people.

"We felt that we might have grown a little bit too much. This showed us that we do have limited resources that we have to work with. So, we're going to cap it at 40,000," said Ken Ayoub, chairman of the Cooper River Bridge Run's board of directors.

Also among the changes, the Cooper River Bridge Run will hire a logistics manager.

"Someone who can look at our plan that can come up with one that shows eight lanes of the bridge, 25,000 people to transport in a limited amount of time. What are our options from there?" Ayoub said.

At a special meeting Thursday, Ayoub said communication caused much of the confusion prior to Saturday's event.

"We're looking at one central command that the information goes in, and information comes out -- instead of receiving three and four different phone calls at a time," Ayoub said. "More reliable forms of communication. ...That many people on the cell phones has a 9/11 effect. They didn't work as well as they should have,"

While bridge run officials realize the importance of setting a cap and regrouping, Ayoub said the cap will only apply to the 2013 race.

"The thinking behind that is with this logistics manager, see how it works, see any problems that we may have in 2013 -- hopefully, none, which is what we're striving for -- and then look at it that way. ...Maybe we can increase it by a thousand or 2,500," Ayoub said.

The chop in participants could cost the bridge run about $90,000 in revenue. Ayoub said they hope for quality over quantity.

"We want this to be a quality race. You have a small congested area, quite frankly, in downtown Charleston. You get to a point it can't handle it, and we want to make sure that we can," Ayoub said.

Ayoub has previously said shuttle buses and a problem with the wheelchair race contributed to the delay. He said the late start probably also contributed to the shortage of water bottles and longer race times.

On Wednesday, bridge run officials released a formal apology to race participants.

* ABC News 4 New Media Manager Brian Troutman contributed to this report.