Chesapeake Bay Bridge 10K Returns After 8 Years

An estimated 20,000 runners will race across the 4.35-mile bridge.

By: Melissa Romero

Scared of heights? There’s a race for that.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge run is back next year after an eight-year hiatus and will take 20,000 runners over the 4.35-mile bridge that towers almost 200 feet above the bay.

“There are people who are actually utilizing this race to confront their fear of heights,” says race cofounder Sparrow Rogers. “People have e-mailed us saying, ‘I want to get over my fear of the bridge, and this seems like the way to do it.’”

The iconic bridge, whose official name is the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, has long held the reputation of being one of the most terrifying car rides in America. In 2010 it was named one of the ten scariest bridges in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Still, for three decades the bridge was home to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk and Governor’s Bay Bridge Run, which drew up to 40,000 runners and walkers. However, due to rising costs—ultimately $500,000 for the state of Maryland—the walk/run was discontinued after 2006.

Rogers and cofounder Peter Paris say it didn’t take much to convince the Maryland Transportation Authority to bring back the race—especially once they convinced Dave McGillivray, who directs the Boston Marathon, to organize the race. “Dave was familiar with the area [and] the bridge itself, and is quite possibly the leading expert on race direction for point to point races,” says Rogers.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run on November 9, 2014, is 6.2 miles and will start near the base of the bridge on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Runners will cross the bridge and end near Terrapin State Park in Queen Anne’s County.

The bridge will be closed to traffic for eight hours and should reopen by 1 PM. Approximately six to seven different law enforcement agencies will be involved.

Why a November race date? Paris says the date coincides with low traffic volume compared with the spring season, when many travel to and from the beach. The date is also a “healthy distance” from the Baltimore Running Festival and the Marine Corps Marathon.

The first wave of registration is closed, but there are still 10,000 spots left and two chances to register on January 15 and March 15. Certain groups are welcome to register at any time, including active military personnel and their families, groups that include 15 or more runners, and participants who run for a charity partner

But for those who may need more convincing to run over the towering bridge, Rogers says, “It’s actually the best way to get over your fear of the bridge, especially with no traffic. And, you’ll be surrounded by 19,999 of your friends.”

Across the Bay 10K. November 9, 2014. 8 AM. $65; register online.