Herald-Whig View

Everybody wins as Bridge the Gap race raises funds for charities

Posted: May. 19, 2017 9:55 am

BRIDGE the Gap to Health walkers and runners will help establish some records Saturday as the event's 17-year fundraising total exceeds $700,000.

About 2,000 participants are expected to run or walk across Quincy Memorial Bridge. They'll be aided by about 500 volunteers and joined by an Olympic medalist and the man who holds the record for running across the nation.

This is one race where everybody wins.

Founded in 2001 by Dr. John Scott, Bridge the Gap helps Quincy Catholic Charities obtain medicine for people with chronic ailments.

Funds go to the MedAssist Program, where those eligible obtain medicine through pharmaceutical programs at a fraction of market cost. Money raised through Bridge the Gap since its inception has leveraged about $18 million in medicine -- helping buy more than 50,000 prescriptions.

Bridge the Gap has become an annual reminder of the benefits of exercise. Entire families often train together and then participate.

Two celebrities will be featured at the race.

Olympic Gold Medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee from East St. Louis will be a race marshal for the eighth year in a row. Joyner-Kersee won three gold, one silver and two bronze Olympic medals in the heptathlon and long jump while competing in the Olympic Games of 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996.

There will be a second race marshal this year who knows a little about running. Pete Kostelnick holds the record for the fastest run across the United States. Last year, Kostelnick traveled the 3,067 miles from San Francisco City Hall to New York City. He made the trek in 42 days, six hours and 30 minutes, with runs that averaged 72 miles a day.

A long list of community and corporate sponsors also support the race and the charity work it supports.

"The most gratifying part of all this is seeing the money put back into the community and help those who need it," said Jennifer Sousa, Quincy Medical Group's events coordinator.

Bridge the Gap will be held rain or shine, unless there's lightning or other dangerous conditions that delay the start.

It's the only day of the year that runners and walkers are welcome on the bridge. And it's all for a worthy cause.

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