It seems as though the Sunshine Skyway Bridge has become the new desired location for running races.
Less than two weeks after a new Skyway half-marathon for New Year’s Day took a step closer to reality, there is another race proposed for the bridge, which connects Pinellas to Manatee counties, in 2018.
The Armed Forces Families Foundation, which is a nonprofit, has proposed an inaugural 10K charity run across the Skyway Bridge next spring. The event, which is anticipated to draw between 10,000-13,000 runners, is planned for a Sunday with the bridge closure taking place from 5 a.m. until noon.
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“Runners would be transported by bus from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to the south rest area of the bridge,” according to Manatee County documents. “Runners would head north over the bridge to the north with a termination of the run at the north rest area, a distance of 6.2 miles. Runners will then be bused back to Tropicana Field for a festive family event.”
All donations the nonprofit receives are “used solely for structural projects to benefit military families,” according to a nonprofit document. “Additionally, all funds raised remain local, giving donors the ability to see their dollars at work.”
While an application has been filed with Florida Department of Transportation to temporarily close the bridge for the race, which the foundation anticipates will become an annual event, all jurisdictions adjacent to the bridge including Manatee County have to send letters of non-opposition before approval can be granted.
On Tuesday, the Manatee County Commission is expected to authorize its letter of non-opposition to be sent to FDOT.
“In staff discussions with representatives of the Foundation, we have been impressed by the detailed orientation and implementation during the planning process,” according to the letter slated for approval Tuesday. “The attention to safety and security is of paramount concern to the organizers, and this provides us with a sense of the commitment the Foundation has to hosting a quality event. We look forward to supporting the Foundation in this charity run which will continue to provide needed infrastructure improvements to families of armed services members.”