Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run 2013 re-cap!

Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run 2013 re-cap…

When I registered my husband Barry and myself for the 4.2-mile Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run, I got that pit in my stomach feeling that makes you say, “What did I just do?”

Barry and I are not bridge people. Oh, we drive over them to get from point A to point B and we’ve driven over some mighty long and high ones, too – Golden Gate, George Washington Bridge -NYC, The Seven Mile Bridge (Key West) to name just a couple. But we close our eyes (ha!), hold our breath and just do it.

Then there’s the Pell Bridge, aka the Newport Bridge, connecting Newport, RI with the rest of the world; the one I remember being built back in the 60’s when I didn’t even know Barry. I found this little tribute (Newport Daily News, 1969) to the Newport Bridge, and it made me both happy and even more butterflies-in-stomach, too, to join the thousands of runners and walkers on this wonderful Citizens Bank charity run over that bridge…

Like the strong arm of a giant, your massive shoulder anchored in the rock of Newport, your fist grasping the Jamestown shore, you are with us now for generations to come. Thrust toward the stars, your 400-foot towers are ready to challenge the lash of any Atlantic gale, your ribbon of road ready to accept the hum of millions of wheels. In the twilight your lights twinkle like dozens of diamonds forming a necklace across the throat of Newport’s beautiful harbor.

So OK. Barry and I would be joining nearly 4,000 runners at the very crack of dawn on Sunday, November 10, 2013, to do this thing… and what an amazing run it turned out to be.

I drove over “the bridge” to Newport on Friday afternoon to pick up our race packet and bibs. I was thinking just one more peek from the car before we step onto this massive expanse of Narragansett Bay…

“Wow,” I thought. And maybe even, “Why?”

Packet pick-up at the Newport Visitors Center was so organized, so easy, so efficient and so friendly that it made the actual run feel, well… something I could handle. The Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run organization itself was among the best and most communicative and detailed I’ve ever found in a run – from the registration to email updates and a detailed agenda for race day.


Then, in the blink of an eye, Sunday morning at 4:00 am was staring at me from my alarm clock.

I could hear raindrops brushing against our bedroom windows. Barry was awake, too. “Honey,” I whispered, “I think it’s raining. Will they have the run in the rain?”

“Yep,” Barry answered. “I’m sure.”

And we were up, dressed and in the car by 4:15 am for our 30-minute or so trip to Newport and scheduled 5:15 shuttle from Newport to Jamestown. Light rain was falling, it was windy and my mind was going a million miles a minute about the rain, the wind, the shuttle, if we would be warm enough or dry enough and oh, the bridge. Running over the bridge.

Then we saw “the bridge” suspended and towering into the sky in the total darkness of this November morning – with its  lights twinkling like dozens of diamonds forming a necklace across the throat of Newport’s beautiful harbor…

Its magnificence drew Barry and me in, and that was it.

We easily parked our car in downtown Newport and joined the hundreds of runners/walkers already there and happy and wrapped in hats and sweatshirts and blankets that would be shed at the start of the run and donated as needed. We hopped onto one of the dozens of yellow school buses waiting to transport thousands of runners/walkers a few miles from Newport to Jamestown. Everyone was smiling. The bus drivers were smiling. The runners were smiling. Barry and I were were smiling.

The rain had stopped. The wind had settled into a warm-for-November harbor breeze. It was still dark, mind you, in Jamestown…


There was a food and drink tent with coffee, hot chocolate and quick snack things. This was a very nice touch.  There were dozens of porta-potties, which I basically judge a race by (great job, Race Organizers!).  And there was an exciting camaraderie of runners and walkers and race organizers and volunteers as bus after bus after bus unloaded happy people onto the field near the base of the bridge as the sky began to brighten into dawn…

And awaiting the START…

Barry and me – READY!

Then the START… and the most beautiful and I’m just gonna say peaceful run I’ve ever experienced. My trepidation at running over this bridge melted away as I got closer and closer to the magnificence of the morning sky and the view of the bay below and the structure itself and the runners/walkers in groups and individually, many stopping to capture this experience in photographs…

Barry caught me taking off – at right, in pink!

Here’s Barry at the very top of the bridge! So many fellow runners were stopping to take photos and one very nice woman snapped this of Barry. I love it!

I ran along soaking in every single moment of this race. I loved the incline. I loved the top, although I did not stop for a photo! I loved the decline. I loved the route into downtown Newport where hundreds of spectators were cheering and the FINISH banner loomed so large and the race announcer was so enthusiastically welcoming the runners.

I LOVED THE BRIDGE RUN! (But this isn’t to say that I will now enjoy driving over bridges.)

I crossed the FINISH and waited for Barry, cheering with everyone else for each finisher, each runner and each walker, of all ages and all abilities…

The after-race celebration was wonderful, too. There was food – tons of food – and hot beverages, all served by wonderful, friendly, happy volunteers.

But what I had my eye on at 7:00 am was a Newport Storm (hey, why not?!), one of the event sponsors…

… which I celebrated with the big surprise that I placed 3rd in my 60-64 Female Age Category with a nice ceremony and professional photographs too boot!

OK. No more fear of running the Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run, and will be back next year!

It was a spectacular race on a spectacular morning with thousands of spectacular runners and walkers raising awareness and funds for these wonderful and important organizations…

Meeting Street

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center

March of Dimes

Special Olympics Rhode Island

Samaritans of Rhode Island

American Heart Association of RI

Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run 2013 re-cap! was last modified: July 12th, 2017 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (3)
  1. Can we discuss…
    1. This was the day of my bday and your last two numbers were 84. Happens to be my birth year. I love bridges. Fate.
    2. You’re kick ass and I can’t handle it.
    3. Barry IS Dustin Hoffman only better looking.

    Wonderful race!!!! So thankful you shared it with us. I LOVE suspension bridges- and your pictures certainly do it justice <3

Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run 2013 re-cap! was last modified: July 12th, 2017 by Sharon Couto