As runners, we all dread running hills. Well, here’s a race that dares you to face your fears head on… and back again. 2013 marks the 5th anniversary of the Conquer The Bridge run ove the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. The basic course is a 5.3 mile out and back over the 4th largest suspension bridge in CA. And trust me, when you’re way up on the bridge’s apex you get a rush (and a breeze) unlike any you get at sea level…for those of you wondering, the bridge itself is 1500 feet long (about the length of 5 football fields) of course when you’re running it feels like 1500 miles.
Now the race is run on Labor Day proper (Monday as opposed to normal Sunday runs) but it’s a nice way to make room for your Labor Day cookout, and the 8am start time is nice… not too hot yet, not too early. The entry fee is also reasonable $35-$50 depending on when you register.
The pre-race is pretty standard, local bands or DJ playing “wake up” tuness as you line up along the main drag. Parking isn’t too bad in the neighborhood (some street available) and you won’t find too many parking lots trying to up their normal prices.
The race itself is a lot of fun, since it’s not a proper 10k, it just seems to have more laid back feel to it, people just want to have the chance to traverse aka “conquer” that dang bridge. Don’t expect too much water support (they can’t set anything up on the bridge itself), just at the turn arounds, so I’d advise you to bring your own water belt or bottle.
The post-race is decent, featuring a few booths (some post race chow and standard swag) and a casual way to cool down. Oh, and now that the Battleship Iowa is docked nearby, you’ve got something else to look at and go see after the race. I’ve done the ship and it’s worth taking the tour.
And as an added bonus, this year for the first time they’re adding a half-marathon version of the run (basically running the course twice)…this one costs a bit more, but is limited to 2000 runners and you get a finisher’s medal. One gripe I have is the T-shirt…it’s a standard cotton deal (no tech option) and in the past sporting a pretty basic design. Probably one of those put it in the closet and forget it kind of shirts.
Still this “local” race has real nice feel to it… and something I look forward to running. It’s a nice way to break in the fall race season and start prepping for the half and full marathons to follow.
I recommend you give it a try.