By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Early on the morning of Sunday, May 19th, over eight thousand registered runners will take part in the Corrida da Ponte (The Bridge Run), a 21.4 km half marathon across the famous bridge known as the Ponte Rio-Niterói, which connects the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói.
The race for the Elite Women runners will be held at 7:10 AM, with the race for the Elite Men and general public beginning at 7:30 AM.
“It’s probably like one of the best sensations for a runner,” Rio resident and runner Luciana Dias told The Rio Times. “They get the chance to run were no one else has access to and it’s probably one of the best views you can have while running.”
On the landmark bridge with its views across Guanabara Bay, two lanes will be closed to allow runners to make their way from Niterói beginning near the Ferries and Bus Terminal to Rio’s Aterro in Flamengo near the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM).
“The bridge carries a certain fascination for the street racer,” Carlos Sampaio, a partner of Spiridon Events, organizers of the race along with The Dream Factory Sports, explained to the Webrun website.
“The big draw is the novelty of it. It is an inhospitable territory for the athlete, except on race day. There is no train there, you cannot park your car and ‘take a look at the path.’ That’s the path’s whole mystique. I believe this is why every year we have a huge demand for enrollment,” Sampaio said.
Enrollment for the race involved pre-registration, in which runners had to meet qualifications, including the completion of two races in the last two years: another half marathon with maximum time of 2:45 and / or a marathon with maximum time of 5:30.
The first ever edition of the race was held in 1981 and known then as the circuit-Atlantic Boa Vista. However, due to increased traffic on the bridge, the race was suspended in the 1990s and did not return until two years ago, in 2011 with the support of Ministry of Transport, State Government and Municipalities of Niterói and Rio de Janeiro.
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