Bridge runners raise money for charity

      By Victoria

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- As if running for your health isn't reason enough... why not take part in the Cooper River Bridge Run for charity?

      "The race began the Charity Connection Program in 2007," said Tami Varn, one of several assistant race directors.

      "The purpose was to allow our participants a way to donate to a charity and then run in honor of a family member if they choose," Varn said.

      Twelve charities are taking part this year. They are they the American Diabetes Association, the Semper Fi Fund, Water Missions International, MUSC Children's Hospital, the Alzheimer's Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Lowcountry, Louie's Kids, the Charleston Miracle League, the American Cancer Society, the Lowcountry Center for Prevention of Child Abuse,{} the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and Camp Happy Days.

      "We take requests from charities following the race each year, and the board of directors votes on which charities to include based on certain criteria," Varn said.

      The charities selected have to be locally based with the majority of the money raised remaining in the community. They have to be willing to provide 100 volunteers for the event and they have to be in good standing with the secretary of state guidelines.

      "This year the American Cancer Society has the biggest following with MUSC Children's Hospital close behind," Varn said.

      The money is collected by the race and then tallied at the end. A check is written directly to the charity.

      "The program has impacted the race in a very positive way," Varn said. " It promotes good-will and encourages participants to dig in their pockets and give back."