Bridge runners get off to slow start

Pictured above is the scene of the wave start of the 2012 race, which started nearly an hour behind schedule. (Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

By Nikki

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Thousands of runners packed the starting line of this year's Cooper River Bridge Run, eager to make it to the finish line. However, many stood in place for nearly an hour due to a delay.

"The delay was a little frustrating just because we were all corralled and standing. I know people were getting a little frustrated," said Kelly Schuering, a runner from North Carolina.

Schuering said many in the beginning also grew impatient.

"We were being told two minutes and then 15 minutes and then they would say 30 seconds and then 10 minutes later, we still wouldn't be started," Schuering said.

Others, like Sam Ogden of Folly Beach, didn't anticipate the slow start and quickly grew hungry.

"It kind of screwed me up just a little bit, because we ended up starting an hour later than we were supposed to. I usually don't eat before I run, so after an hour, I had to dip into my emergency stash."

As for the reasons for the delay, bridge officials say there were problems getting people onto the buses downtown and over to the starting line in Mount Pleasant.

"They were only loading 10 (buses) at a time. The police let us go ahead and load 30, so we got caught up," said Joanna Jackson, assistant director for the bridge run.

Once that issue was solved, organizers encountered another issue.

Participants in wheelchairs had some problems making it over the bridge due to the wind. The treading on one of the chairs also came off.

Yet, even with the few hassles, many runners will tell you:

"This was the greatest day of my life," said Pratik Patel, a runner from Chicago, Illinois.

"Oh, it was great. It was hard walking up that incline, but it was great coming down," said Daren Rabar of Sumter.

Julian Smith, the race's director, says next year's race will be even bigger.