SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2015

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com August 2015 23 t NATURAL Venues manmade humps on the bridge, Palmer said. The challenge is that the race traverses three municipalities and two counties. Organizers have to acquire permits and security from the city of Pensacola, though runners are in the city for fewer than 30 minutes. They then c ross into Gulf Breeze, which is in Santa Rosa County and must work with the county's police department as well as the city. Finally, runners cross back into Escambia County toward Pensacola Beach. "So, we have three municipalities we have to coordinate with for a nine-mile run," Palmer said. "We couldn't do it without the participation and support of everyone. This is a major chal- lenge, but, thanks to everyone's coopera- tive spirit, it is doable for us." History Of The Double Bridge Run The Pensacola Double Bridge Run was founded in 1998 by a committee of Pensacola area run- ning and sports enthusiasts brought together by the Pensacola Sports Association to create a marquee event for the area. The committee was charged with negotiating with the Santa Rosa Island Authority of Pensacola Beach and the cities of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze to develop a road race that would join main- land Pensacola to Pensacola Beach. The inaugural event featured 12K and 5K runs, with the 12K starting at the foot of the three-mile Pensacola Bay Bridge and the 5K starting farther east in Gulf Breeze. Both runs finished at the Casino Beach parking lot on the Gulf of Mexico. The next year, the 12K course was not used due to logistical challenges, and the race was extended to 15K, which placed the runners along Bayfront Parkway in down- town Pensacola and allowed for better park- ing and pre-start staging. Runners were still asked to maintain an 11-minute mile pace until they crossed the three-mile bridge into Gulf Breeze. The finish area was moved to the Pensacola Beach V isitor's Information Center. Still search- ing for the ideal combination, race organizers added a 10K race in 2002, but the committee reverted to the 15K/5K format in 2003 to maintain the simplicity of two starts and one finish. The course remained largely unchanged until 2007, when a new proposal to run "against" traffic, utilizing the out- side westbound lane, was adopted to make U.S. Hwy. 98 more accessible to vehicle traffic in Gulf Breeze and allow the race to finish on the Portofino Boardwalk side of Via DeLuna on Pensacola Beach. The run has pro- vided financial support for the Gulf Breeze Sertoma and other groups and the Pensacola Sports Association's Program of Work, which includes free sports clinics, the Senior Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet, and High School All-Star games in football, volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball. n

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