Savannah Bridge Run Begins Sports Council’s Loaded Event Series
It can be hard to look nostalgic for something that happened just two years ago. But after the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally wiped so many events off the sports calendar from 2020 to 2021, this year is finally looking like the good old days – 2019.
“I hope so,” said Rob Wells, director of the Savannah Sports Council, which hosts one of its biggest annual events this weekend, the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run after canceling the 2020 road race.
“The weather is cooperating. It’s going to be beautiful. We have a new venue for the exhibit at Trustees ‘Garden. The kids’ run is now Friday night which is exciting. We are celebrating the 30th year (of the Bridge Run) this year . The design of the t-shirt is very similar to the very first t-shirt we made. It’s on purpose. “
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Wells expects the event to attract between 4,200 and 4,500 runners, with more than 4,000 registered online by the Wednesday deadline of 11:59 p.m., and more hours of in-person registration at the Health & Wellness Expo from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Trustees’ Jardin.
The 2019 race drew over 4,800 competitors in all three racing categories (5K, 10K and the combination, called Double Pump). Wells said on Wednesday that registrations have so far been down slightly from the 2019 rate, but more so than at this point in 2017 and roughly the same with 2018.
“In July and August our numbers were doing very well. We were ahead of our 2019 pace,” Wells said, noting that the rate was slowing as the number of coronavirus cases increased. “I think when we saw that rise in August and September it really got us off the rails. It’s not anyone’s fault – it’s the pandemic’s fault. I’m very happy with where we are. will meet again. “
He is also happy to be busy again. Busy is good. The Sports Council had to grapple with postponing and canceling events, as so many others have, after the pandemic struck in March 2020. The Publix Women’s Half & 5K has been delayed, reprogrammed and eventually canceled.
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Slowly some events re-appeared on the calendar while following health and safety protocols. The Bridge Run is no exception.
“The biggest different protocol is that we require everyone to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours,” Wells said. “We offer quick tests on site at the show and on race morning. We try to make things as easy as possible for everyone. We understand that people don’t like it, but that’s what it is. what we need to do to make sure we have a safe event. “
Change the schedule
Savannah and the Sports Council have adapted. Memorial Stadium hosted the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Invitational in May following the cancellation of the 2020 event. The annual Sports Council Sports Awards Luncheon has been postponed from early fall 2020 to May 2021 , and this month will be her new home in the upcoming calendar.
The Sports Council is really at its peak during the winter months, starting with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Marathon and Half Marathon on the first Saturday in November. The Sports Council helps run the event, which is part of a national running series.
The Bridge Run is still the first Saturday in December – if pandemic restrictions allow.
“It’s a very busy time,” Wells said. “From the moment that (the Rock ‘n’ Roll race) starts, then we go into the Bridge Run and the holidays are there, then hockey and then a little break before the female half (April 2, 2022), but this event requires a lot of work like everyone else. So we don’t feel like we have a lot of breathing space before the end of the women’s semi-final. But now we have moved the banquet to May permanently. “
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The Market Savannah Hockey Classic returns Jan. 14-15 after jumping 2021 in what the event calls the “frozen final” at the Savannah Civic Center. Hockey clubs from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida and the State of Florida are back in what they consider to be the biggest weekend of their season, but the venue will change in 2023 when the Classic will move to the new Enmarket Arena, Wells said.
The introduction of the new arena, slated to open for some events in January, to existing resources of Savannah facilities has already resulted in the addition of the Savannah Ghost Pirates minor league hockey franchise, which is slated to play at from next October during their first ECHL season.
Wells also sees the arena in talks for the men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments during Thanksgiving week 2022, when teams usually travel to tourist destinations in warm weather for highly competitive matches against teams. that they would generally not face.
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“I think the new arena (also) offers the opportunity to host maybe an evening (match), maybe a double schedule, later in December maybe, before the conference program starts.” , Wells said. “Whether it’s local teams or even non-market teams, I think the potential of an overnight event is of great interest to me.”
He is happy to talk about upcoming events rather than leaving, which was the case around this time last year due to the pandemic. It is not difficult to remember.
“I try to think about what I learned through this and forget about everything else,” Wells said. “I learned, and knew it before, but it really made me focus on what you can control and forget about what you can’t, and being able to make a difference. Family is really important. in life. These are the big things, just by not taking things for granted. “
Nathan Dominitz is the Sports Content Editor for Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email him at [email protected] Twitter: @NathanDominitz
If you are going to
What: Enmarket Savannah Bridge Race
Formats: 5K, 10K and Double Pump (combined 5K and 10K, with three times on the Talmadge bridge).
Calendar: Friday – Health and well-being fair, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Jardin des fiduciaires; Kids Run, 6 p.m., at the bottom of the Trustees’ Garden.
Saturday – 5K and Double Pump start, 8 a.m., Hutchinson Island; intersection of the finish line of rue Montgomery and avenue W. Oglethorpe; 10K starts at 8:30 am, Montgomery Street near the Savannah Civic Center; same finish line; Michelob Ultra Post-Race Party, 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with costume contest for individuals and groups, prize of $ 400 first, $ 200 second, $ 100 third.
Collection of packages on the day of the race: 5 km and double pump, 6:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., Hutchinson Island; 10K 6:15 am-8:15am at Civic Center.