April 11, 2014
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Birhan Nebebew of Ethiopa finishes in first place as he breaks through the finish line. (Photo courtsey of Post and Courier)​

Nearly 40,000 runners took over the streets of Charleston, S.C. April 5 for the 37thannual Cooper River Bridge Run presented by BI-LO. The run is a tradition in Charleston, attracting runners from across the United States and around the world.

The race starts in Mount Pleasant and the course makes its way through North Charleston, over the 1,546 feet Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and ends in the heart of Charleston on Meeting Street.

But the excitement for this event begins days in advance as the event fills the city with athletic excitement. Two days before the event, sponsors like BI-LO work hard to set up and prepare for greeting large crowds. BI-LO offered runners a sweet treat before the big day as associates handed out Sweet Dreams cookies in a variety of flavors, Southern Home fruit punch, and Watermelon handed out by the South Carolina Watermelon Queens. BI-LO also entertained the expo crowd with T-shirt giveaways and appearances by Walter's Pals Polly Peach and Buddy Banana.

Pre-run activities also included the Cooper River Kids Run & Wonderfest that took place at Hampton Park on April 4 that provided children with a short run and a day filled with, crafts, games, fun, and delicious food. BI-LO provided attendees with a free hot dog, chips, water and BI-LO giveaways to take home. The day also included children of all ages participating in runs throughout Hampton Park as BI-LO associates cheered on the runners from the finish line.

The official Cooper River Bridge Run was an early morning for BI-LO associates who set up post-run food stations complete with apples, bananas, oranges, muffins, bagels, and plenty of water. BI-LO associates were ready for the runners to start piling in as they were tasked with the job of re-fueling the 40,000 runners who come storming in grabbing items to replenish their bodies after the race.

Volunteers from area BI-LO stores included Betty Borgmann store No. 5726;Gail Gantt store No. 5645; Kristi Stokes of store No. 5645; Geneva Ravenel of store No. 5266; Alicia Rodriguez of store No. 5296; Mary Watson of store No. 5749 and Michael Elmaleh of store No. 5410.

The runners were given three hours to complete the 6.2-mile race before the award ceremony began and as the fun continued in the square. The winning runnerwas 19-year-old Birhan Nebebew of Ethiopa with a time of 28 minutes and 39 seconds. Nebebew was awarded a cash prize of $10,000.

Runners continued to come by the BI-LO tents to refuel themselves on healthy options until the end of the event. After the race BI-LO partnered with the Lowcountry Foodbank to donate the remaining food items back to the local Charleston community.

“We provide a lot of the food to the runners at the event, but we always have extra that we donate back to the local Charleston community,” stated Todd Rogers, BI-LO community involvement specialist.

The 2014 Cooper River Bridge Run was another successful year, marking the 14thyear that BI-LO has participated as a presenting sponsor.

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