Registration for the second annual Skyway 10K Bridge Run officially opens at 1 p.m. Thursday. Participation in the 2019 event – taking place Sunday, March 3 – will be capped at 8,000 runners (an increase of 500 over the 2018 limit).
The inaugural run, organizers announced, sold out in four days. People came in from 40 different states, and four countries. All five branches of the United States armed forces were represented.
Runners will begin the 6.2 mile race from the southern end of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, starting in Manatee County, passing over-water through Hillsborough, and finishing up in Pinellas.
The race is scheduled to be broadcast live by CBS.
All proceeds will be presented to the Armed Forces Families Foundation, which was the recipient of $560,000 from the 2018 event.
Event director Brian Horne and his team worked with 13 state, local and federal agencies to make the gears turn seamlessly in 2018. The northbound lanes of bridge are closed to all vehicular traffic between 3:30 and 11 a.m. (the southbound lanes will not be affected).
“We need a couple of hours to secure the bridge, make it safe, then we’ve got to bus thousands of people over there, and then bus them back safely after the run,” Horne said before the inaugural race.
Runners are required to attend a “General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Race Expo,” in the Tropican Field parking lots, Saturday, March 2; there, they’ll be issued individual race packets. They’ll return to Tropicana Field on race morning, and be transported to the Manatee County/Terra Ceia staging area by bus in four waves, beginning at 5 a.m.
Here are the “Top Ten Changes for 2019,” according to organizers:
- Improved race shirt sizing;
- Redesigned bus corrals for easier loading and post-race unloading through the medal and food corrals;
- Increased number of waves to reduce the congestion on the bridge;
- New parking plan with City of St. Pete Police and Tampa Bay Rays to ease parking congestion on both Saturday and Sunday;
- New iPhone/Android app to keep you updated on Race Day including live parking suggestions;
- Option to have your race packet mailed to you;
- Bleacher seating at Tropicana Field around the Jumbotron for friends and family to watch the CBS live coverage;
- GoPros now allowed on the bridge;
- Virtual Racing available – more information coming this winter;
- New awards for King and Queen of the Hill (timed race up the incline of the bridge).
The U.S. Army is scheduled to fire off a Howitzer artillery cannon to begin the race; the U.S. Coast Guard plans to provide a flyover.
The VIP experience is $300 per person (includes race registration, invitation to VIP gathering Thursday night before the race, Friday night VIP party at American Freedom Distillery, access to VIP tent on Saturday and Sunday including open bar and food).