Posted: Feb. 21, 2014 8:42 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 4:17 pm
By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The route for Bridge the Gap to Health Race is changing for the first time in its 14 years.
Participants still will cross the Mississippi River using Bayview Bridge and Memorial Bridge during the 5K, 10K and half-marathon events on May 17, but the new path allows for more exposure to Quincy’s more scenic areas such as Washington Park, parts of Maine Street and the Historic Quincy Business District.
“We really wanted to showcase Quincy,” race director Carrie Kimber said. “Quincy is a beautiful city, and it’s an especially beautiful city in the spring.”
Runners have traveled from as far as St. Louis, Chicago and Washington, D.C., to participate. Bridge the Gap hosted more than 2,000 racers and more than 200 volunteers during the 2013 race.
The Quincy City Council approved the change Tuesday. Kimber said the switch involved collaboration among the city of Quincy, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Missouri Department of Transportation, Central Services, the Quincy Park District, Adams County Emergency Management Agency and the Historic Quincy Business District.
The new route also will increase the opportunity for spectator involvement. Cheering crowds will be at Washington Park and the Quincy Medical Group parking lot. Kimber said encouragement is key to a successful race. She hopes onlookers will pack both sites, hold up signs and cheer.
“It makes it fun,” Kimber said. “Make signs. They’re hilarious. Some of them I’ll be laughing out loud at as I’m running.”
Kimber said music will play through the speakers in the Historic Quincy Business District, and a band will play at Clat Adams Park.
The funds from the first 13 races race have benefited the Quincy Catholic Charities MedAssist Program, which has leveraged more than $16.5 million in prescription medication for in-need individuals. Kimber said proceeds from this event stay in the community.
“We’re talking people who fall through the gaps,” Kimber said. “We’re talking about people who make the choice between food and medication. This is really our community helping our community.”
View the new 5K, 10K and half marathon race routes at bridgethegaptohealth.com