- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Governor’s Bay Bridge Run is back on, at least for now.

The 10K run with the coolest view of the Chesapeake Bay has seen some rough water over the past four years. The event, which takes runners over the William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge from Kent Island to Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, has been on the running schedule since 1975 and is staged in the morning before the popular Bay Bridge Walk.

From 1975 to 2001, runners and walkers worried only about the potential of foul weather raining on their parade. But since September11, this May race has come under great scrutiny.

In 2002, it was canceled because of terrorist-related safety concerns and in 2003 because of nasty weather. Earlier this year, the Maryland State Department of Transportation canceled the 2005 event for several reasons, from the costs associated with organizing it to traffic problems exacerbated by construction.

It appeared that the event would cease for good when the Department of Transportation announced it would re-evaluate whether it made economic and logistical sense to continue holding the event annually. But now the run is set for May7, 2006. Registration is scheduled to begin online Jan. 2 through Active.com. The race has a 3,000-runner limit, and the fee is $30.



However, there are no refunds for this race. So if the race is canceled, for whatever reason, you may receive your long-sleeved shirt, but you will not get back your $30. According to the race Web site, registration usually fills by April7. It will close on April20 if the limit is not met.

If you wait until the last minute to register, you may get shut out. If you register early, you may lose your money if there is a cancellation. Then your entry fee becomes a small but worthy donation to the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

For information, see the Annapolis Striders’ Web site at annapolisstriders.com or call the Strider hotline at 410/268-1165.

Vying for the Olympic trials — The venue for the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials will be contested among four cities, according to USA Track & Field. Carson/Los Angeles, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Eugene, Ore.; and Sacramento, Calif.

If you have never been to an Olympic Track and Field trials event, it is a pretty big deal. In fact, USATF calls the event the largest national championship track meet in the world, with more than 1,000 athletes competing for spots on the team.

Last year 171,000 fans and more than 1,000 media members from around the world attended the 10-day meet. Add in hundreds of volunteers and meet officials, and the trials deliver a huge economic benefit to any host city.

The 2000 and 2004 meets were held in Sacramento, which has been a great host, with dry weather, easy access to the stadium and a decent-sized airport. The Sacramento Sports Commission estimated $20million in visitors’ spending at last year’s trials. And it doesn’t hurt to have Lake Tahoe nearby for the two-day break in the middle of the competition.

Eugene has the history, a track town where the spirit of Steve Prefontaine lives on long after his death 30 years ago. It also was host for the 1972, 1976 and 1980 trials, but it is challenged because of its small-town setting.

Carson has the Los Angeles connection, with a fairly new track facility called Home Depot Center, which was the site in June of the conclusion of USA Track & Field’s 2005 Visa Championship Series and the 2005 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the qualifier for the World Championships in Helsinki earlier this month.

The last time the trials were in the Midwest was in 1988, in Indianapolis, with 90,070 spectators, less than half of what Sacramento attracted in 2000 (187,104). Columbus would bring the trials to Ohio State University and Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, built in 2001 to seat 10,000.

Frankly, I think Columbus is a pretty boring venue, and I would nix it from contention because the stadium is too small. I also would exclude Eugene, at 11,000-plus, for its lack of size. Home Depot can hold 20,000 viewers and Sacramento at least 24,000.

We’ll find out after mid-October where the trials, scheduled from June27 to July6, 2008, will be held. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will be held Aug.8-24.

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