Run the Bridge to bolster Semper Fi Fund

Jacksonville Daily News | By Maria Sestito – Maria.Sestito@JDNews.com | Published: Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 06:37 AM. | Link to Article

Jacksonville, NC – A race this weekend to benefit the Semper Fi Fund is expected to draw hundreds of participants and cause a change in traffic patterns in downtown Jacksonville.

run-the-bridge

The inaugural Run the Bridge fundraiser will be held Saturday and will cross Popkin Bridge in Jacksonville.

The bridge will close from 8 to 10 a.m. for the race. Along other course areas, vehicles will be allowed to pass the procession with caution, according to a release by the city.

The race will begin at New Bridge Middle School and continue along Old Bridge Street, Leonard Street, Sybil Street, Collins Street, Popkin Bridge, areas of Riverwalk Park, Kerr Street, ending at New Bridge Middle School via Warlick Street. Police officers and volunteers will line the course to ensure safety and direct traffic. Residents in these areas are asked “to consider moving” vehicles to driveways, if possible, and are encouraged to cheer on race participants.

Run the Bridge is expected to attract about 300 runners, walkers and wheelchair participants, said Christine Ingraham, the Semper Fi Fund race coordinator and volunteer.

She said the race — which will be the first she knew to travel across Popkin Bridge — is expected to grow and may include an expanded route next year.

Ingraham said this year’s race likely will be small but organizers are hoping to meet a fundraising goal of $50,000.

Individuals or groups looking to participate can register on race day beginning at 6:30 a.m. at New Bridge Middle School on the gymnasium side. Participants can choose from a 10k route, 5k route or 1-mile fun run.

Fees are $40 for the 10k, which kicks off at 8:20 a.m. and 8 a.m. for wheelchair participants; $35 for the 5k route, which starts at 8:25 a.m.; and $20 for the fun run, which kicks off at 9 a.m.

All ages are welcome.

There will be small prizes for winners from each age group, Ingraham said. Light refreshments will be available after the race.

The Semper Fi Fund helps military members and families affected by post 9/11 injuries or illnesses with financial support and resources in order to help them recover and transition back into communities, according to semperfifund.org. From the beginning of rehabilitation, including transportation and housing, to family support and career planning — Semper Fi Fund tries to help in all aspects of life after onset.

For more information or for paper registration, contact Ingraham at RunTheBridgeSFF@gmail.com. You can also like the Facebook page “Run the Bridge to Benefit the Semper Fi Fund.”