Double Bridge Run 15K—Picture Perfect, Hugely Enjoyable, Among the Most Scenic in the Southeast
The Double Bridge Run 15K and 5K in Pensacola, Florida—ideal destination, wonderful awards, plentiful food, and terrific organization—of 9.3 total, enjoy 4.3 miles over water to America’s most beautiful beaches.
Posted Monday, 31 October, 2005
So much to see, and too much to do! What an adventure in Pensacola! Natural beauty, outdoor enjoyment, history, art, entertainment, shopping—you have to stay at least four days too take in some of the terrific opportunities for a true destination weekend. And the calendar is just right. The races will blast off on February 4, 2006, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
The Double Bridge Run 15K carries runners over two bridges, across Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. It will run from downtown Pensacola through Gulf Breeze, and onto Pensacola Beach. The 5K invites both runners and walkers to travel from Gulf Breeze to beautiful Pensacola Beach on Santa Rosa Island and the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
In addition to the main event, there will be opportunities to run on the gorgeous beaches of Santa Rosa Island, and explore miles of trails too on the days leading up to the race, and after. You can run through history where the first European settlement was established. Enjoy the ambiance of early colonial architecture mixed with a dynamic, modern city. Set your sights on this mid winter 15K or 5K, and reward your dedicated training with a fantastic run, and vacation fun.
This is the only 15K in Florida, or perhaps anywhere, that is more than 40% over water; and not just water, but the beautiful blue of Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. The Pensacola Bay region is an ideal destination for winter racing, if ever there was one. It is simply one of the best races anywhere, with remarkable attention to detail and to the needs of each runner.
The Double Bridge Run 15K will start on South Palofax Street in Downtown Pensacola. It is an accurately measured 9.3-mile course that begins in the historic district, runs on Government Street, the Bayfront Parkway, past the Visitors Center at the head of the Bay Bridge, and crosses the Bay Bridge to Gulf Breeze. It then merges with the 5K course on Shoreline Drive, and crosses the Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach. Nearly half the race is over water, with gorgeous views all around. The camaraderie of the field while sharing this experience is quite memorable.
The race is run in Memory of Dr. Fenner McConnell, a physician at the Sacred Heart Hospital, and an avid runner and contributor to the running community.
The 5K run and walk will start behind the Gulf Breeze Schools and on to Shoreline Drive, and will not go on Route 98. As with the 15K, it will cross the Bob Sikes Bridge and the Gulf Breeze Parkway to Pensacola Beach.
Both races finish at the parking lot of the Visitors Information Center, 735 Pensacola Beach Boulevard, adjacent to the famous Beach Ball water tower. The colorful tower will be invitingly visible for much of the last 5K. The Quietwater Beach area will be nearby on the Sound Side of the island.
There will be team competition for both races with multiple age divisions.
There will be three opportunities for race packet pickup before race day: Wednesday, February 1, noon to 7:00 p.m. at Academy Sports & Outdoors, 8102 N. Davis Highway, Pensacola; Thursday, February 2, also noon to 7:00 p.m. at Academy Sports & Outdoors; Friday evening from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Hooters Pensacola Beach. .
DAY OF RACE Registration at the finish area on PENSACOLA BEACH ONLY
There will be plenty of parking and pre-race Bus Service at the Gulfside Pavilion Parking Lot, Pensacola Beach 6:00 a.m.- 7:00 a.m. (LAST BUS LEAVING AT 7:00 A.M. SHARP!). Gear bags will be transported for you in vans from the start areas to the finish line. Buses will shuttle you from the finish area back to the starting lines, following the completion of the races, and operating until noon.
Post Race Celebrations and Awards
The Post Race party and awards ceremonies will be held at Hooters Pensacola Beach offering fee food and beverages. Proof of legal drinking age is required.
Awards are numerous. There are fifteen age divisions in the 15K, and 16 divisions in the 5K, (five-year divisions through 80+, all going 3 deep). There will also be 30 age division awards for 5K walkers. Additionally there are wheelchair and weight divisions. There will be 216 individual awards in all, plus teams. This is an amazing ratio. Last year just over 2,200 participated.
So Much To Do, Day and Night
There will be plenty to do on your mini 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, professional hockey, and a rodeo 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--ideal for running and walking. Wide paths parallel the shore roads for accessibility.
Contrast beach runs with professional hockey—after all, it will be winter. The Pensacola Ice Pilots, the AA team of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the ECHL, will be playing two games against the Phoenix Roadrunners during race weekend. They play Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4, both at 7:05 p.m. Visit www.IcePilots.com or www.echl.com for information.
Visit Picasso in Pensacola. There will be a unique opportunity to see Picasso Ceramics at the Pensacola Museum of Art. Pablo Picasso, known primarily for his cubist art, also worked in ceramics, printmaking, drafting, and sculpture. This show will have 50 assorted pieces with pitchers, tiles, plaques, and vases—animals, faces and figurines. Visit www.pensacolamuseumofart.org.
How about dancing? The Cordova Mall will be transformed into a giant ballroom on Saturday night, February 4, for the Mall Ball, a fundraiser for the local Children’s Hospital. There will be dining and dancing with live entertainment. The Krewe of Les Petits Enfants, a non-profit fund raising group associated with Mardi Gras, puts it on. Check this out at email@example.com.
Or go back in time with a concert by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Thursday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
For even more contrast, check out the Southern Showdown Rodeo, riding throughout race weekend at the Escambia County Equestrian Center.
The National Museum of Naval Aviation
Recognized as one of the best aviation museums in the country, the National Museum of Naval Aviation is free to the public, and open 9:00 to 5:00 every day. It is one of the largest and best-presented air and space museums in the world. There are over 170 aircraft displayed, both within the museum itself and on the adjacent flight line. They encompass the history of aviation from its earliest beginnings to today, from crude craft to spacecraft. Exhibits include the famous NC-4, the first aircraft to fly the Atlantic Ocean in 1919. Four A-4 jets suspended overhead remind you that Pensacola is home to the famous Blue Angels precision flying team.
Also housed within the museum is the Emil Buehler Naval Aviation Library, established in 1992. Its holdings focus on naval aviation from1911 to the present, and include photographs, books, manuscripts, technical manuals, historic newspapers and periodicals.
Pensacola is called the “City of Five Flags”, and it could 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 region was home to the Penzacola Indians prior to European exploration. 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. (Via de Luna, named after the leader of the first colony, is the main highway on Pensacola Beach today.)
French Huguenots established Fort Caroline (near present day Jacksonville) in 1564. But Fort Caroline was wiped out by the Spanish, who then built St Augustine in 1565. St. Augustine was therefore the first “Permanent Settlement” (although nearly destroyed several times by British attacks), but Pensacola was the first.
The Spanish sailed into Pensacola Bay in 1559, only to be challenged for the area decade after decade by the French, who were entrenched in Louisiana just to the west. The Spanish built Fort San Carlos on what is now the Pensacola Naval Air Station to guard against French invasion. It was built in 1698, and unearthed exactly 300 years later in 1998. It was the first of many forts built by all the “five flag” nations to protect this key location. The City of Five Flags Monument is adjacent to Seville Harbor Dock.
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.
Because it is a vital deepwater port, the US Navy built a shipyard at Pensacola in 1825. This was the beginning of the naval presence that eventually grew into the Pensacola Naval Air Station, established in 1914.
The five flags that have flown over the city include those of Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy, and the United States. The key location and the conflicts of the competing powers have created a rich history and remarkable heritage, a multicultural legacy. The influences of the colonial periods are still apparent today.
Pensacola is a terrific location for history buffs—and there is much to see. Pensacola has many museums. And there are forts to visit from many eras, including Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island (which is surrounded by beautiful trails and beaches), and Fort Barancas on Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Pensacola Lighthouse is nearby. The Pensacola Historic District, the Pensacola Historical Museum, the Seville Historic District, the Pensacola Colonial Archaeological Trail, St. Michaels Cemetery (essentially an outdoor museum), the North Hill Preservation District, and the Palofax Historic District are all tremendously interesting.
Pensacola is known as the Cradle of Naval Aviation. Treasuring the past and trumpeting the present, Pensacola has a proud heritage—a tremendously interesting location to visit and explore.
Getting There—Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
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, including Air Tran, American Airlines, Com Air (Delta Connection), Continental, Delta, Northwest, and US Airways, US Airways Express. For example, American has four daily non-stop flights from Dallas/Fort Worth; Delta has two non-stop flights from New York’s JFK, and three from Cincinnati.
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. And several bus companies serve the city, including Greyhound.
Where to Stay
There is a wide variety of lodging available in the Pensacola area, all price ranges. This includes hotels in town, at Pensacola Beach, and near the aviation museum. Please note that Double Bridge Run officials and the Pensacola Sports Association have arranged with Highpointe Hotel Corporation for special hospitality packages at four of their properties:
Springhill Suites by Marriott, Pensacola Beach
Residence Inn by Marriott, Pensacola Downtown
Hampton Inn, Pensacola Airport
Homewood Suites, Pensacola Airport
Runners booking these packages receive a towel embroidered with the Pensacola Double Bridge Run logo, a discounted room rate, continental breakfast both Saturday and Sunday, and an invitation to a Saturday evening social at the Springhill Suites by Marriott on Pensacola Beach.
Other options in Pensacola Beach include:
Best Western Resort Pensacola Beach
Hilton Garden Inn
Or in the city of Pensacola:
Ashton Inn and Suites
Best Value Inn and Suites
Courtyard by Marriott
Fairfield Inn and Suites
Holiday Inn Express
Holiday Inn University Mall
La Quinta Inn
Microtel Inn and Suites
Motel 6 (2)
Quality Inn Ramada Inn (2)
Red Roof Inn
Travel Lodge Inn and Suites
Join In the Mid Winter Fun
This race is a terrific opportunity to set goals to keep your running sharp during the winter. Combine the race with a mini vacation, or make it part of a weeks-long celebration to take in all Pensacola has to offer. Take our advice, and go for this one. If you need additional information, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (850) 434-2800.
Race Entry Forms may be picked-up at
Hooters of Crestview, Florida
Hooters of Daphne, Alabama
Hooters of Destin, Florida
Hooters of Dothan, Alabama
Hooters of Gulf Shores, Alabama
Hooters of Mobile, Alabama (Airport Blvd)
Hooters of Mobile (Tillman’s Corner)
Hooters of Panama City, Florida
Hooters of Pensacola, Florida (Bayou Blvd)
Hooters of Pensacola Beach