The annual Cooper River Bridge Run (www.bridgerun.com ) happens the first Saturday in April (unless it’s Easter weekend, in which case it runs the week before) and features a 10,000-meter jaunt across the massive new Arthur Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River, the longest cable span in the western hemisphere. It’s not for those with a fear of heights, but it’s still one of Charleston ’s best-attended events—with well over 30,000 participants.
The whole crazy idea started when Dr. Marcus Newberry of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston was inspired by an office fitness trail in his native state of Ohio to do something similar in Charleston to promote fitness. Participants can walk the course if they choose, and many do.
Signaled with the traditional cannon shot, the race still begins in Mount Pleasant and ends downtown, but over the years the course has changed to accommodate growth—not only in the event itself but in the city. Auto traffic, of course, is rerouted from the night before the race.
The Bridge Run remains the only elite-level track and field event in South Carolina, with runners from Kenya typically dominating year after year. Each participant in the Bridge Run now must wear a transponder chip; new “Bones in Motion” technology allows you to track a favorite runner’s exact position in real time during the race. The 2006 Run had wheelchair participants for the first time. There’s now a Kid’s Run in Hampton Square the Friday before, which also allows strollers.
From 1973 to 2000—except for 1976 when it was in Florida—the Family Circle Cup (161 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island, 843/856-7900, www.familycirclecup.com , varied admission) was held at Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island. But the popular Tier 1 Women’s tennis tournament in 2001 moved to Daniel Island’s brand-new Family Circle Tennis Center, specifically built for the event through a partnership of the magazine and the city of Charleston . (The Tennis Center is also open to the public and hosts many community events as well.)
Mount Pleasant is the home of Charleston’s shrimping fleet, and each April sees all the boats parade by the Alhambra Hall & Park for the Blessing of the Fleet (843/884-8517, www.townofmountpleasant.com ). Family events and lots and lots of seafood are also on tap.