Emerson Bridge event has room for more bikers, walkers, runners

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Wear comfortable shoes. That may be the best advice for the 663 people who have signed up to run, walk or ride their bicycles across the new Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge on Saturday in Cape Girardeau.

"It's not too late to participate," said Terry McDowell of the Cape Girardeau Roadrunners, which is helping to organize the event.

Entry forms can be turned in at the Student Recreation Center at Southeast Missouri State University, or people can register on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Fountain Street near the bridge.

Those crossing the new Mississippi River bridge will be helping to celebrate the opening of the span as part of the dedication ceremonies, organizers said.

As of Wednesday, 376 walkers, 212 runners and 75 bicyclists had paid the $10 entry fee and signed up for the event. The entry fee goes to pay for Emerson Bridge T-shirts for participants, said Matt Specht, one of the event organizers.

There are still bridge T-shirts left for participants. Organizers have printed about 750 T-shirts.

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with bicyclists who will be involved in a 14-mile tour across the bridge and back and the through part of Cape Girardeau. Shortly after the bicyclists start their tour, a 3.1-mile run will begin. The course will carry the runners about a mile into Southern Illinois and back again, McDowell said.

The walkers will get their chance to cross the bridge immediately after the runners take off, he said.

McDowell said he and other runners are excited by the chance to race across the new bridge.

"It is history in the making," said McDowell who hopes the bridge run will become an annual event.

Ken Peters of Jackson, a member of the Roadrunners, plans to run in the race with his son, a Marine stationed in Little Rock, Ark., who graduated from high school in 1996

"We haven't run together in a race since he was in high school," Peters said. "I am looking forward to it."

The walk-run-ride is sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, the Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau Roadrunners and the Student Recreation Center.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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