Cooper River Bridge Run volunteers provide vital service


The last segment of the Cooper River Bridge Run is the toughest stretch for many people. But those behind the race did everything they could to make it a good experience. Hydration stations waited for those making the final turn onto Meeting Street.

Tens of thousands of cups lined several blocks, stomped on and tossed aside. Water is a vital part of crossing the finish line, especially for those who don’t get the recommended 64 ounces of water a day. Carrying a water bottle the entire way can be impractical.

Forty JROTC cadets at West Ashley High School woke up at 5 a.m. to greet runners and walkers and hand out motivation, one cup at a time. It was a massive effort, one which took a large fire hose.

“This is the fastest way possible that we could do it,” said Cadet Kempson Ahrens. He said it felt good to help ignite their fire within to help them on the home stretch.

“It’s that Oorah when someone is down, someone is hurt, you give them that next Oohrah to keep going and that’s what we’re doing for the thousands of runners that are running today,” said Master Gunnery Sergeant Frederick Gaston, West Ashley JROTC instructor.

For several hours, cadets used all their strength to fill large buckets, filling thousands of tiny cups.

“We’ve gone through every single one, I’d say a good 20 times,” said Ahrens. “Yeah, a lot of water.”

“I would say that we probably hand out easily over 10 to 15,000 cups, easily,” said Gaston.

Their volunteer efforts were good to the last drop and worth the weight in water.

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