The Greater Binghamton Bridge Run has been in existence for four years. It is basically my hometown race. I had never run it until yesterday. The first year I was injured with a hamstring strain. The second and third years I was in Pittsburgh running either the full (2012) or the half (2013). 2014 is the year for me to run the hometown half.
I spent Saturday as a part of Team Confluence at the packet pickup. While this was a nice event, there is so much more the Chamber of Commerce – the organizing group for the race – could do for local businesses and for the runners that are in for the race. I will probably talk about this in a later post. I took tons of photos at the pickup.
The weather was a topic of interest on Saturday. Rain was forecast. The last thing I expected was the sun that I awoke to Sunday morning. The Bridge Run was going to be my second half in eight days. I was unsure what to expect. I forgot my sunscreen as I was not really anticipating that the sun would stay out. There was stiff winds along parts of the course but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with, just unexpected.
Binghamton sits at the confluence of two rivers, the Susquehanna and the Chenango. Runners crossed the Chenango four times and ran along side of it for a short stretch. Runners crossed the Susquehanna twice, including once on the Washington Street pedestrian bridge.
Mile one saw the first crossing of the Chenango River. The course is fairly flat but a few inclines occur when going over bridges and along the South and West sides of the city.
The two gentlemen in the bright yellow on the right of this photo are a blind runner and his guide. After crossing the Chenango for the first time, runners head down Clinton Street. This has some residential parts to it but is mostly known for the antique stores that are along the street. It also, years ago, was known for all the bars on it. I was lucky enough to run with Dan Dougherty, Jackie Kovacs, and Beth Zunic for the first mile plus. They were going too fast for my legs on this particular day, though, and about mile 1.5, I let them go and told them I would see them at the finish.
After Clinton Street, runners head on a short part of Glenwood before hitting Main Street.
Main Street is a huge part of this race. Runners will run on this strip of Main from Glenwood to Front Street twice, once at about mile 2.25 and again at mile 11+. Once runners hit Court Street – really Main Street after Front intersects – they head over the Chenango River for a second time. Down Court Street to the Tompkins Street bridge which will be the first crossing of the Susquehanna River.
I have to stop talking about the race for a second. Thank you to those criminal justice students and local police who were on the course to keep us all safe. I actually heard a driver cursing at a police officer as he couldn’t go the way he wanted to due to the race. Running is really easier than dealing with the public.
Once across the Susquehanna, runners head west on Conklin Avenue. The wind really kicked up along this part of the route. I was getting warm but this was a bit cool. There is also the issue of a little incline on Conklin, near the old Crowley plant. As runners came to the Washington Street pedestrian bridge, we all crossed the Susquehanna again and then headed down by the river.
After a short run along the promenade/river walk – where I saw a great sign that said “You’ve done dumber things drunk” – we all went back up and over the Chenango River for a third time, second time on this bridge, and headed onto Front Street towards Riverside Drive.
Riverside Drive was in pretty good shape. Kudos to the City of Binghamton for filling in a harsh winter’s worth of potholes so no one broke an ankle. I saw Ashlyn along this area, just when I needed a friendly face. We wound around the West side of Binghamton where I also saw my friend Ann that I have not seen in a couple years. I was really getting sorer by this time. It was nice to see a few text messages from a friend as I was about to start walking. I did walk but not continually. My legs had just about had it.
When I finally got back to Court Street and into downtown Binghamton, my goal was to be sure to cross the finish line before any of the 5K runners did (the 5K started 2.5 hours after the half). While the courses are different, they share parts and that includes the finish line. I managed to definitely accomplish my goal.
While I am still sad I missed Pittsburgh this year, I really enjoyed being at home and running the Greater Binghamton Bridge Run.