By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Cooper River Bridge Run is only two weeks away, so hopefully you are ready to put your best (and fastest) foot forward.
For those of you who have participated in the bridge run in the past, you can expect to see a few different things this year.
First of all, there will be more runners. The number has grown a few thousand from last year. Joanna Jackson, assistant director of the Cooper River Bridge Run, said they expect more than 44,000 people. The event sold out two weeks beforehand last year, but this year it sold out more than three weeks ahead of time.
"Once you start selling out, people remember that and they want to get in. So, they start doing it earlier and earlier," Jackson said. "We'll probably sell out earlier next year."
Although the $30 and $40 registrations are sold out, you can still run in the race. There are 1,200 slots that cost $150 each. All of that money is donated to a local charity.
Why only 44,000 runners? That is simply the number that organizers decide on the year before.
"When we are dealing with this amount of people, we have to plan ahead. ...So all the bags, all the shirts, all the little things that you get in your packets, the USB drives, a little towel that you will see in there. We have to order all of those things ahead of time," Jackson said. "Usually in August we are getting all that sort of stuff together and putting in our orders. So, we have to make a decision."
Organizers say they want the race to continue to grow each year, but more runners means the race becomes more expensive on their end.
"You'd be surprised how much it costs to put on an event of this size. You know we rely a lot on our sponsors as well to help us get through it," Jackson said.
More runners also means the opportunity to raise more money for charity. This year they have started using crowdrise.com, which allows runners to set up a page and have friends and family donate money. According to Jackson, Crowdrise has brought in $7,000. She said it will be open for a month after the race to allow people to have a good race, feel positive about it, and want to give back a little more.
The last change is an additional location for the Taste of the Bridge Run. The event is not only taking place downtown at the Gaillard Auditorium this year, but will also be at Harborside East in Mount Pleasant. More than 20 restaurants are involved and the cost is $15. The event takes place the Friday night before the race from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.