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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the 2012 citizens bank pell bridge run sponsored by newport hospital- soul stirring narragansett bay crossing

The 2012 Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run Sponsored by Newport Hospital- Soul Stirring Narragansett Bay Crossing
If you are looking for a race destination to beat the ordinary road race, this is just the ticket - unique in all New England. This four mile adventure in Newport, Rhode Island will take you across the Pell Newport Bridge from Jamestown on Conanicut Island to Newport on Aquidneck Island - what a view; what an experience. There is nothing like it.

The 2012 Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run Sponsored by Newport Hospital- Soul Stirring Narragansett Bay Crossing

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By Traci Joy
Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012

A world of fun, awe, and one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure and natural beauty await you. What else could a runner want in a mid November weekend getaway? So the ordinary road races are behind you, and a bridge run awaits this Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Rhode Island.

It is sure to be an unforgettable race experience in a magical, historic place. The Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run, sponsored by Newport Hospital, spans the east passage of Narragansett Bay on the longest suspension bridge in New England, an engineering marvel and a soaring structure of beauty. This spectacularly scenic tour includes a mile in Jamestown before heading over the bridge and terrific views of downtown Newport, the historic district, finishing on picturesque America’s Cup Avenue.

Newport is an ideal place for running and this race is made for those seeking a truly different experience. It is totally non-profit and produced by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority for the sole purpose of supporting non profits in the region and in support of a healthy, active lifestyle. This run will be invigorating, inspiring, and simply awesome. They invite walkers too if they can manage 20-minutes per mile pace, which should be easy for most folks. If you have friends or family participating and are not going to do the unique pedestrian crossing, how about volunteering—are great road races need volunteers and there are a few openings, so contact the Volunteer Coordinator at

There is a reason why the rich and famous chose Newport for vacation “cottages”; why professional tennis has been played at the International Tennis Hall of Fame; why America’s Cup races were sailed there; why folk festivals and jazz festivals are held there, why the Kennedy’s were married and vacationed there: It is simply a gorgeous location, and a place that is unique to America. And now there is one more reason to go to Newport—for runners to enjoy a run on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge—the Pell Bridge Run on November 11, 2012. This event in the “City by the Sea” will attract runners from throughout New England and beyond.

The Race, the Course, the Amenities
We cannot say enough about the unique character of this race. Before the event starts, going off at 6:30 a.m. to minimize traffic impact, there are necessary logistics. The first order of business is to register and pick up the bibs and race packets. You will be pleased to know that they will use the Chronotrack B-tag system, which includes the timing chip attached to the back of the race bib. Late registration and packet pick up will be available on Thursday the 8th, Friday the 9th, and Saturday the 10th for your convenience and to minimize delays on race morning.

Registration and Pick-up
Pick up and registration will be available at the Marriott Hotel in Newport on America’s Cup Avenue (very close to the finish line) on Thursday, November 8 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.; on Friday they will be available across the Bay at the Holiday Inn in North Kingstown on Tower Hill Road, also from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.; on Saturday they will be back to the Marriott in Newport from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You may also register at these times.

There will be NO race day registration, but packets will be available from 4:30 a.m. at the race start/shuttle area.

Getting to the Start
Race morning there will be shuttles from Newport to the race start at Jamestown beginning at 4:30 a.m. They will depart from the Humphrey J. “Harp” Donnelly III Newport Gateway Transportation and Visitors Center, America’s Cup Avenue. The drop off and the start will be at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority offices on East Shore Road, just off Route 138, the route which carries traffic from North Kingstown to Jamestown on Conanicut Island on the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge and then continues to Newport via the Pell Bridge. There will be NO parking in the area of the start, although there will be a drop off area for runners. If dropping off please plan to be early because traffic will be a factor; and remember you cannot exit a vehicle on Rout 138, but only on East Shore Road.

The Race-Crossing
From the start on East Shore Road the course carries runners onto Conanicus Avenue, then onto Route 138 and through the toll booths onto the Pell Newport Bridge. The one-mile mark comes just before heading onto the bridge and as you pass that marker the majestic bridge rises in front of the runners. The towers soar to over 400 feet, and the road bed to 215 feet (although it looks like more); this is the one “hill” in the course.

At the two mile mark, which is very near the center of the span, the views of the Narragansett Bay to the north and south are spectacular. And Newport’s historic structures and magnificent harbor beckon below. Nearing the east end of the bridge runners pass three miles, and then the downhill turns onto Farewell Street, where you bid farewell to the bridge, and on into America’s Cup Avenue for a dramatic setting and finish near the Visitor’s Center.

The first and most obvious reward is the opportunity to actually run across this iconic bridge and the view that trek produces. In addition they have plenty of awards to give out with top three women and men overall and top three in female and male FIVE-year age groups from under 16 to 75+. Then there is the finish festival which will be enjoyable for all. And finally everyone has the chance to visit one of the great and historic towns in the USA.

The Bridge
The Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge is an engineering wonder, and was built between 1966 and 1969. It is one of two bridges to cross picturesque Narragansett Bay. The Jamestown Varrazzano Bridge carries traffic from the mainland to Jamestown across the west passage on Route 138, and the Pell Newport Bridge continues across the east passage to Aquidneck and Newport. The Newport Bridge cost $55 million when constructed and replaced long standing ferry service.

The total length of the structure is 3,428 meters or 2.14 miles. The longest (center) span is 488 meters or 1,601 feet.

Senator Claiborne Pell
Claiborne Pell was Rhode Island’s longest serving senator, serving six terms, 36 years, from 1961 to 1997. Pell died in 2009 at the age of 90 and the bridge, formerly known simply as the “Newport Bridge” was renamed in his honor.

As senator he served with outstanding distinction and was very influential in the nation’s affairs. The Pell Grants, which have helped millions to seek higher education, are named for him--he was the primary driver of the program. Pell was tremendously influential in terms of environmental policy, mass transportation, and foreign relations among many other pursuits and interests. He was a long-serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Pell replaced retiring Theodore Francis Green for whom the primary airport south of Providence is named.

Pell had several careers before election to the Senate. He served in the Coast Guard during World War II, starting out as a cook and rising to the rank of Captain. Most of that time he served in convoy escort duty to and from Europe. After the war he joined the Foreign Service of the United States (1945 to 1952) and was part of the US delegation in the formation of the United Nations and also was involved in international treaties to protect the world’s oceans and insure freedom of navigation.

Historic Newport
Newport comprises the southern tip of Aquidneck Island where Narragansett Bay reaches Rhode Island Sound. Aquidneck put the “island” in Rhode Island and is just an outstanding place for running and racing. There is so much to see and do, and touring the city and the island on foot is absolutely ideal. The rich and famous who built those legendary mansions could have gone literally anywhere—they chose Newport and Aquidneck. The bridge provides a wonderful view of this historic seaport, and the views from the span of the bay, the islands, and the harbor are simply fantastic.

Of course, Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 states, but there are wide-ranging wooded areas, trails, and an unbelievable 450 miles of ocean shoreline. Rhode Island’s 1,214 square miles offer tremendous scenery and wonderful running opportunities. The Newport Bridge runners and walkers will enjoy many unique aspects of Newport and Aquidneck.

And talk about history: Newport was settled in 1639 and grew into a major colonial shipbuilding center. As one of the deepest and best natural harbors on the east coast, it once rivaled Boston and New York as one of America’s top seaports; it likely would have remained so were it not for the British occupation (1776 to 1779) which brought all commercial activity to an end. Some 150 wharves bustled with activity that included exports of candles, silver jewelry, silverware, textiles, wood and wood products, and fish. This area now houses all manner of shops, galleries, antiques and restaurants.

Washington and General Count de Rochambeau planned Revolutionary War strategy at the Old Colony House ( built in 1739), the nation’s second oldest capitol (Newport was the capital of Rhode Island until Providence was selected as the sole capital in 1900). The Declaration of Independence was read from its balcony and the Constitution of the United States was ratified there.

Some of the best examples, and best preserved and most concentrated, of colonial homes and architecture can be seen in the historic areas of Newport. Visitors also enjoy the harbor and history of the America’s Cup races, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, International Yacht Restoration School, Museum of Newport History, Museum of Yachting, Harbor tours on the MV Majestic, Newport Sailing School, the Old Stone Mill, Newport Art Museum, and Truro Synagogue (1763), the oldest synagogue in the nation, and much more.

The Breakers (1895), Rosecliff (1902), the Elms (1901), Chateau-sur-Mer (1852), Hunter House (1748), Kingscote (1841), Isaac Bell House (1883), Chepstow (1860), and Marble House (1892) are some of the mansions and historic homes in Newport, most of which will be visible along the course.

But the truly breathtaking treasure of Newport is natural beauty around every bend—ocean views, cliffs, forested lanes, ponds, rocks and beaches. And the bridge is a dominant work of art that connects the islands. With awesome scenery, historic landmarks, and incredible Gilded Age mansions on view, this can be a truly memorable weekend.

Fort Adams was one of the largest forts of its day. It could house about 2,500 soldiers to guard the bay from attack. It is one of the best examples of coastal defenses built between the Revolution and the War of 1812; it remained an active base until 1945. The historic grounds of the fort now host some of the greatest of American music festivals and nearby is the Providence, a reproduction of the first ship of the American navy.

Share the Experience, and Race Across the Bay and History
Share the excitement on November 11, with this landmark racing event in New England. Yes, there will be exciting racing this fall in the historic City by the Sea, and what an event it is going to be. This legendary location has much to offer, and there is no better place to run your most unique race of the year, the annual Citizens Bank Pell Bridge Run sponsored by Newport Hospital in Newport. Register now and plan your race—and your mini vacation.



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