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Thousands entered in Run the Bridge 10k


When David Stewart lands at Philadelphia International Airport Sunday morning after taking a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore., he won't return home and go to bed. Instead, he will drive to Camden, put on his running shoes, and take part in the Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10k race.

"I'm going straight to the parking lot. I don't want to tempt myself with a bed at home," said Stewart, 53, of Haddonfield.

The race, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, quickly has become one of the most popular middle-distance races in the region. Started as a 5-kilometer race in 1996 to benefit the Larc School, a special-education school in Bellmawr, it is now a 10k event that attracts thousands of runners each year.

The course starts at the foot of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the New Jersey side and takes runners over the bridge into Philadelphia and back, then through the city of Camden and past the Battleship New Jersey, with a finish on the outfield of Campbell's Field, home of the Atlantic League's Camden Riversharks baseball team.

As the race has grown, the benefactor has stayed the same. The event moved to the bridge in 2002 as a 5k, then switched to a 10k when it became part of the USATF Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix, a race series in Pennsylvania and Delaware. It has expanded every year since, to a 4,250-person race this year. Last year, the run raised $250,000 for the Larc School, and this year, it sold out Sept. 11.

One reason it's a must-run race is the distance.

"There are no other 10ks in this area," said Dave Welsh, owner of the Haddonfield and Moorestown Running Companies and the South Jersey Running & Triathlon Co. He has organized the logistics of the race for the last six years, and serves as the announcer at the finish line.

That's part of the appeal for Stewart, who finished 26th overall last year in 36 minutes, 52 seconds. "I like the experience of running on the bridge," he said. "It feels transgressive on that space that's usually reserved for automobiles.""It's also a tune-up for the Philadelphia Marathon [on Nov. 18], and people love the fact that you're running over the Ben Franklin Bridge and back," he said.

Welsh has made improvements to the race to make it a more interesting event for runners: putting the finish in Campbell's Field; adding a kids race for youngsters 12 and younger that rings the perimeter of the stadium. There also is a two-mile bridge walk. Because the 10k race sells out early, he also started a bib-transfer program, so people who are hurt or change their minds can give their spot to another person who would register under his or her name (as opposed to just taking the bib, which happens but is not technically allowed because the new runner's emergency contact information isn't on file).

This year, he also is responding to complaints from 2011 about an unorganized start, in which some less speedy runners were lining up on the starting line, which put them at risk of being trampled by faster runners behind them. So he is using corrals for the elite runners, ensuring that they are at the starting line, and marking suggested starting spots for runners depending on their race pace behind the elite crowd.

For Stewart, the beauty of the race isn't about the baseball stadium finish, or the corralling system. It's still the location.

"It opens up a part of the city that you don't usually get to run on," he said.

Camden Waterfront festival toasts region's wines and beers


More than 200 years ago, London’s Royal Society of the Arts recognized two c

New Jersey’s brewing tradition is even older: the second-earliest documented commercial brewery in America opened in Hoboken in 1641.

And despite the decimation of both industries during Prohibition, craft breweries and wineries producing in the Garden State are making a huge comeback.

In addition to the recent big changes in the shipping, tasting and production laws for both small New Jersey wineries and craft breweries, the Garden State’s beers and wines are gaining wide acclaim. But don’t take my word for it: You can find out for yourself at the Vintage South Jersey Fall Wine and Beer Festival Saturday and Sunday at Campbell’s Field on the Camden Waterfront.

Although there are many such festivals that celebrate both beer and wine in the area, this one showcases strictly local products.

Whole new tastes

Robin Shreeves, a freelance writer and author of the blog South Jersey Locavore, is a big fan of New Jersey’s wines and the festivals that celebrate them.

“Spending an afternoon or evening at a Jersey winery is totally my kind of way to enjoy time with my family or with friends. I love the big festivals because I get to sample wines from several wineries at once. I go to the festivals to taste and learn,’’ she says. “I also get a big kick out of taking a bottle of New Jersey wine to someone’s house, in or out of state, and hearing, ‘Really, this wine is from New Jersey!?’ ”

The 13 wineries to be featured (Amalthea, Auburn Road, Bellview, Cedarvale, Chestnut Run, Coda Rossa, DiMatteo, Heritage, Plagido’s, Sharrott, Tomasello, Valenzano and Wagonhouse) are all strictly form the Outer Coastal Plain (OCP), South Jersey’s official “terroir.’’

What’s interesting about the OCP and promising to many oenophiles, is it has many similarities to the Bordeaux region of France. Its proximity to the sea (salt air) and other bodies of water, soil composition and climate make it just as promising a wine-growing region.

Read the full article here.

Battleship to host inaugural run


CAMDEN — The Battleship New Jersey at the city waterfront will hold its inaugural run for the Battleship from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The event will begin on the battleship’s pier and take participants near the Susquehanna Bank Center, Rutgers University-Camden campus, Campbell’s Field and waterfront promenade before finishing with a run on the ship deck.

Fun obstacles will be set up along the route. The day will end with music, food and bar concessions.http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/battleship-to-host-inaugural-run/article_6d1e12f6-5a1e-511e-a724-a2f82165ba16.html

The cost is $39.95 for adults, $24.95 for children under age 14. Proceeds benefit the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the battleship.

For more information or to buy tickets, visithttp://www.battleshipnewjersey.org/run-for-the-battleship.php. Tickets and registration also will be available beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at the battleship ticket office.

Read the story here.

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