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      Expo kicks off 2012 Cooper River Bridge Run

      Cooper River Bridge Run Expo (Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

      By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The anticipated Cooper River Bridge Run is on Saturday, so runners and walkers started picking up their packets on Thursday.

      The Bridge Run Expo, which is at the Gaillard Auditorium, started at noon Thursday. The first few hours of the event were hectic as lots of people came during the lunch hour.

      "Trying to beat the crowd, our boss was generous enough to let us come on our lunch break. So, we appreciate that," said Deana Cook of Summerville.

      Deana Cook and Manish Mazyck are participating in the race with some of their co-workers.

      "Our company, Goodwill Industries of Lower S.C., they have a real big push and initiative for us to get healthy and everybody get fit," said Manish Mazyck of Moncks Corner. "It was an idea...'Let's represent our company.' We have our own t-shirts and everything."

      Most of the people that picked up packets Thursday were from right in the Lowcountry.

      "Generally it's more the locals that come on Thursday, and everybody that is coming in from out of town comes in on Friday. That's when we see them, and that's generally really why it's so much busier on Fridays for us," said Joanna Jackson, assistant director of the bridge run.

      Becky Dauphin flew in from Georgia Thursday and picked up her packet. She has been running the race since 1999.

      "It's just the people, and it's just you have all these people cheering you on. It's so motivating, and you have walkers/runners. It's just great. I love it." Dauphin said. "I come every year."

      The expo closed at 8 p.m. Thursday, but it will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday. You must have your packet by 8 p.m. Friday night as there is no race day packet pick-up.

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