Bridge the Gap participants enjoy perfect day for a race

Runners of all ages take off from the starting line as the Bridge the Gap to Health Race gets under way Saturday at the intersection of Broadway and Joe Bonansinga Drive. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: May. 17, 2014 4:58 pm Updated: May. 31, 2014 7:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Last weekend, Kristin Frey was weaving her way through a 50-mile trail run in Wisconsin. On Saturday morning, she took it a little easier, participating in the 5-kilometer walk at the annual Bridge The Gap to Health Race in downtown Quincy.

Frey has done a lot of things in her running career, from competing in marathons and ultramarathons to stair climbing skyscrapers in Chicago and other places around the world. She enjoys coming to Quincy from her native Schaumburg for the Bridge the Gap race.

"I like this event because you do get to go over both of the bridges," Frey said. "It's cool because I get to come down and see my cousins and aunts and uncles and we can do it all as a family."

Everyone in Frey's group, which included people from Warsaw and Mendon and other places from around the area, was decked out in bright orange T-shirts that read "Family bridging the gap to health together" on the front. On the back was a family tree with names of all of those involved.

Runners were met with a perfect day for a run or walk with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s. Joe Company, a fitness coach from Columbia, Mo., attacked the course in his first time running the event. He won the 5k division, clearing the course in 17 minutes, 49 seconds.

"It's beautiful," Company said. "It's unique because of the bridges and it's a really pretty venue. It's a good, fair course."

Even though he has run distances much longer during his career, Saturday's event wasn't a stroll in the park.

"Any race is hard if you push it," he said. "This was not a warm up. I went as hard as I can go today."

Many on the course pushed themselves to the limits.

Zac Lish of Quincy was running in the event for the third time. He ran his first 10K in 2012 and finished in 44 minutes. He came back last year and ran in 42 minutes and had a goal of finishing in under 40 minutes this year. An employee of the Quincy Jimmy John's, Lish wore a Jimmy John's running shirt that had "Serious Delivery" on the back. His attire led to some good-natured ribbing from others in the crowd.

"I've had several people ask me if I can bring them a slim No. 1," Lish said.

For others, it was a way to be with family and get to see Quincy from a different angle by walking over the Memorial and Bayview Bridges.

Tina and Rory Tenhouse of Quincy had a group of 11 friends and family members with them for their 5K walk. Many in the group were participating in the event for the first time.

"It's a good, fun family activity," Rory Tenhouse said.

He was able to entice his wife, Tina, to run even though she is a huge fan of bridges.

"I'm scared to drive over them," she said with a laugh.

Race organizer Carrie Kimber said the 14th annual race drew its largest crowd yet with more than 1,600 people. She thought a new race route that had people running through downtown Quincy and along Maine Street helped bring in more people.

"I think running up and down Maine Street and through the Quincy Historic Business District is fun for people," she said. "We get to showcase our community, which is phenomenal. There are a lot of people here from out of town."

Funds raised from the race support the Quincy Catholic Charities MedAssist program, which helps buy prescription medications for people in need. Funds raised in the first 13 races have helped leverage more than $16.5 million for the MedAssist program.