According to suntoday.org, timeanddate.com and other suitably reliably scientific sites, the sun will be rising over Tampa Bay – from the east, of course – between 6:44 and 6:46 a.m. this Sunday, March 1.
Can you imagine how that’s going to look to the 8,000 participants in that morning’s Skyway 10K, as they scale the northbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge?
This is third annual 10K, and as in previous years it’s a benefit for the Armed Forces Families Foundation, which provides the support military families need to endure the difficulties surrounding months or years of deployment.
Since 2018, the event has raised $1.2 million for the Armed Forces Families Foundation.
Runners are instructed to pick up their race packets at Saturday’s Skyway 10K Expo, in Tropicana Field parking lot 7. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, food and organizational vendors and more (the public is welcome to attend the festivities).
There, registered runners will receive their instructions about Sunday morning bus transportation from Tropicana Field to the Skyway’s southern rest area.
On the bridge, opening ceremonies begin at 6:10 a.m. Sunday – the presentation of colors and the singing of the national anthem. The U.S. Army National Guard fires a blank howitzer artillery shell at 6:25, in conjunction with a U.S. Coast Guard flyover. At that point, the runners will begin to move.
WTSP will broadcast Sunday morning from the bridge, and from the post-run festivities at Tropicana Field.
By the numbers
The course covers 6.2 miles, from the south rest area to the north rest area.
At its peak, the roadway is slightly more than 200 feet above the water.
The inaugural run was capped at 7,500 runners, and the cap was raised to 8,000 in 2019.
More than 22,000 applications were received for the 2020 Skyway 10K in October; the 8,000 winners were chosen by lottery, and paid $80 for their spot in the ranks.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge spans 15 miles between Pinellas and Manatee counties. It opened in April, 1987.
The northbound lanes will be closed to traffic between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. Southbound lanes will not be affected.
The Skyway fishing piers, both north and south, will be closed from midnight until 11 a.m.
4th Avenue South near Tropicana Field will not be available for public access between MLK and 16th Street South from approximately 3 a.m. until 11 a.m., as the traffic flow will be reversed for busing.
The Skyway 10K race organizers are reimbursing the state for all lost tolls and revenue to the fishing piers due to the temporary closures.