2011 Cooper River Bridge Run - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

2011 Cooper River Bridge Run

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(Scott Eisberg/WCIV) (Scott Eisberg/WCIV)
American Idol winner Ruben Studdard sings national anthem American Idol winner Ruben Studdard sings national anthem

UPDATE: Lelisa Desisa wins 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.

According to the bridge run's official website, Desisa finished the race in 28 minutes and 59 seconds.  The first female to cross the finish line was Shewarge Amare who finished the race in the 33 minutes and 6 seconds.

Stay with ABC News 4 for continuing coverage of the 2011 Copper River Bridge Run, and if you would like to share your bridge run photos just send them to iwitness@abcnews4.com

 

By Nikki Gaskins

ngaskins@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)—We are just hours away until one of the biggest 10K races in the country kicks off.

On Saturday morning, runners will lace up their best pair of shoes and hit the pavement running in this year's Cooper River Bridge Run.

In the past, the race has attracted the likes of talk show host Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood actor, Bill Murray.  Tomorrow, event organizers say more than 41,000 people are expected to run the bridge.

On Friday, hundreds of excited runners could be found at the Gilliard Auditorium picking up their packets, along with bibs, visiting vendors and counting down until the big day.

"I'm so excited, this is the first time I ever did the race," stated Sherri McGruder of Charlotte, N.C.

"I love running.  It clears my head, and it's great exercise," stated CarinVadala of Anchorage, Alaska.

Julian Smith, the executive director for the bridge run, says the event is expected to generate $25 million for Charleston's economy.

"We're the third largest 10K in the United States, and the seventh largest in the world," stated Smith.

Since 1978, the bridge run has attracted people from all over the world.

"We're going to continue to grow the race, too," stated Smith.

On Friday, workers with the town of Mount Pleasant set up the banner that will greet runners at the starting line.

"We are just finishing the final touches," stated worker, Parker Leonard.

Hundreds of porta-potties and fence barricades are also in place near Coleman Boulevard.

"Barricades are in place for the police department to barricade off different streets," stated Leonard.

"There will be some closures that start on Meeting Street, from John's Street, probably on down to Wentworth," stated Lt. Chip Searson with the Charleston Police Department.

The bridge will also close to traffic until around 11 a-m. on Saturday.

"My advice to drivers is to just be patient," stated Searson.

 As the clock ticks down for runners to take their mark, many say they're more than ready.

"I know this course so well and it's just like 'oh, yeah!'" stated Stacey Marcus of Atlanta, Georgia.

"I'm going to cross the finish line," stated McGruber.

Former American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard, will perform the National Anthem before the race.

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