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home > races/results > usa: florida > pensacola double bridge run—run, sun, fun and those sugar-white beaches

Pensacola Double Bridge Run—Run, Sun, Fun and Those Sugar-White Beaches
Here you go, a February Destination for families, clubs, friends, and couples—do the 15K or 5K run/walk and enjoy a beautiful course, terrific organization, and natural beauty to inspire. This is how winter running should be!

Pensacola Double Bridge Run—Run, Sun, Fun and Those Sugar-White Beaches

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 16 November, 2009

Where will you be running on Saturday, February 6, 2010? I can tell where you should be—the Double Bridge Run in Pensacola, Florida. There is so much to see and do in Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. In addition to a terrific, well organized, tremendously scenic race, Pensacola offers an ideal winter getaway and great party atmosphere. Your running adventure in Pensacola will go beyond the race itself--explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and the National Seashore. You will experience awesome natural beauty, history, colonial architecture, art, and entertainment. Make plans and take the opportunity for a long vacation weekend in this beautiful region.

This race draws runners of every pace, including some of the best. Currently registered are Amy Rudolph (two-time USA Olympian ('96 and '00), 2006 USA National Champion 10,000 Meters, two-time USA World Cross Country Team (medaled both times), Former USA 5000 Meter Record Holder, two-time Double Bridge Run Champion) and Jennifer Hanley-Pinto (5-time Double Bridge Run Champion (4-time Runner-up), 2005 Santa Rosa Island Triathlon Champion, two-time qualifier Ironman World Championship (Kona, Hawaii). And there will be many more signing up. In this race you can run the same course (on the same bridges) and at the same time as some of our nation’s best.

Last year Rudolph, of Providence, Rhode Island, broke her own course record with a new standard of 53:25. Olympian James Carney also set a new record in 2009 with 43:31. Rudolph’s husband, Olympian Mark Carroll was second (44:55).

The annual Double Bridge Run offers three options in a beautiful location—the 15K race from Pensacola across Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound to the beautiful white sands of Pensacola Beach; the 5K runs from Gulf Breeze to the co-located finish at Pensacola Beach; the 5K walk uses the same course. For the 15K more than half of its 9.3 miles will be over water; and with the 5K walk and run, two thirds of the race will be on those beautiful bridges. And the views are spectacular. This double bridge offers more than double enjoyment.

The Double Bridge Run 15K will run from downtown Pensacola with a tour that includes the historic district, and picturesque Bayfront Parkway, a run across the Pensacola Bay Bridge and through Gulf Breeze; then across Pensacola Beach Boulevard (Bob Sykes Bridge) and onto Pensacola Beach. The 5K invites both runners and walkers to travel from Gulf Breeze to beautiful Pensacola Beach on Santa Rosa Island.

The post-race party will be at Hemingway’s at the gorgeous Portofino Boardwalk at Pensacola Beach very close to the finish line.

Two Races and a Walk
The Double Bridge Run 15K will start on South Palofax Street in front of the new DeLuna Park in Downtown Pensacola at 7:00 a.m. It is a USATF-certified 9.3-mile course that begins in the historic district, runs north on Palofax, east on Garden Street, south on Alcaniz Street for a tour of downtown, then east on beautiful Bayfront Parkway, past the Visitors Center at the head of the Bay Bridge, and across the Pensacola Bay Bridge, a.k.a. Three Mile Bridge, to Gulf Breeze. It then merges with the 5K course in Gulf Breeze and crosses the Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach. There are gorgeous views all around—a unique running adventure.

The 5K run and walk will start at 8:00 a.m. behind the Gulf Breeze Schools near the high school stadium. It starts with a loop in Gulf Breeze before heading out across the Bob Sikes Bridge (almost two miles long) and the Gulf Breeze Parkway to Pensacola Beach.

Awards—Cash Prizes and Five-Year Age Groups
There will be cash prizes for the top three women and top three men in the 15K. The first place prize is $1,250, second is $500, and third is $250. In addition to the overall top three, there will be awards for the top three masters, grand masters, and senior grandmasters. There will be 30 (five year) age group divisions in the 15K, and 32 in the 5K (also 5-year age groups). Prizes for age divisions go three deep. The top five walkers will receive awards in two divisions, 39-and-under and 40+.

Registration and Packet Pick-up
There will be an opportunity for late registration (if available) and race packet pickup on Friday, February 5 at Pensacola Beach. Stay tuned to the race Website for details. Please note there is no race day registration. There will be nearly 2,000 in the 15K; however the 5K is strictly limited to 1,200 runners and 300 walkers.

The weather in Pensacola on February 6 is usually ideal for running: the average high is 63, average low 44, with a mean temperature of 53 degrees. There is usually bountiful sunshine with sunset at 5:30.

More than a Race—an Experience
There is much to see and lots to do in Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach. This event is an ideal winter getaway. What an adventure, with the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, bounded by the National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island. What phenomenal natural beauty for February outdoor enjoyment!

In addition to the main event, there are opportunities to run on the gorgeous beaches of Santa Rosa Island, and explore miles of trails on the days leading up to the race, and after. You can run through history where the first European settlement in the USA was established. Enjoy the ambiance of early colonial architecture mixed with a dynamic, modern city.

This 15K in Florida is an ideal destination for winter racing, if ever there was one. Terrific planning and attention to detail by the host Pensacola Sports Association along with excellent sponsorship will provide runners with a wonderful experience—and a marquee happening for the region, a most memorable event.

Enjoy a Vacation
There will be plenty to do on your vacation. Running, hiking, biking, fishing, harbor cruises, trolley tours, museums and history tours, galleries, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, shopping, buffets, dancing, dinner, concerts, and professional hockey are some of the many activities available.

Exploring the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island is a must. There are 52 miles of beaches in the area (24 on Santa Rosa Island), and all pure snow-white sand contrasting with the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico--ideal for running and walking. Wide paths parallel shore roads for accessibility. Contrast such beach runs with winter in northern regions.

Heritage and History
Pensacola today is known as “The First Place City”; it is also called the “City of Five Flags”, and it should be six if we include the “flag” of the original inhabitants, the Penzacola Indians. And it would be many more flags if we included the number of times the area changed hands, especially between the Spanish and French. Pensacola is the “Place Where America Began.” The City of Five Flags Monument is adjacent to Seville Harbor Dock.

The beauty of the location and the ideal harbor of Pensacola Bay caught the attention of the Spanish, who explored the area in the early 1500’s. Here they established the first colony in present day United States in 1556 on what is now Santa Rosa Island, led by Don Tristan de Luna. It was the first European settlement north of Mexico. This first colony at Pensacola was wiped out by a massive hurricane two years after being settled by 1,400 Spaniards.

The Spanish held western Florida for most of the colonial period. It was owned by the British from 1763 to 1783, the end of the American Revolutionary War. It reverted to Spain in 1783 until ceded to the United States in 1819. The Spanish flag was lowered for the last time in Plaza Ferdinand VII, and Florida formally became a US territory in 1821. Pensacola was the original Territorial Capital. Florida became a state in 1845, the 27th.

Getting There
Pensacola, seat of Escambia County, is centrally located, and surprisingly easy to get to, whatever your mode of travel. It is further west than Indianapolis, and almost the same longitude as Chicago. Pensacola is closer to New Orleans (166) than Tallahassee (192), Closer to Atlanta (287) and Nashville (442) than to Orlando (450), and closer to Houston (525), Dallas (651), and Louisville, Kentucky (616) than to Miami (681). Interstate 10 passes just north of the city, with the convenient Interstate 110 spur going right to the city center, almost directly to the 15K starting line.

Pensacola is accessible by a wide choice of airlines, and train service is available and enjoyable. Amtrak goes directly to Pensacola, including the famous Sunset Limited, which runs from Orlando to Los Angeles right through Pensacola. Check the Website for lodging available in the Pensacola area, all price ranges.

What are your Running and Racing Plans for 2010?
Sign up now and set some goals; keep your running sharp during the winter. Run through history and across the water. Set your sights on this mid winter 15K or 5K, and reward your dedicated training with a fantastic run, and vacation fun in the beautiful sun of the Gulf. The 15K and 5K run/walk have excellent venues and terrific organization. And the area’s natural beauty—especially those sugar-white beaches—can’t be beat. Experience all that Pensacola offers; take our advice, and go for this one. For additional information, Please visit the Website at or e-mail, or call (850) 434-2800.for more information.



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