Training for the Cooper Norcross Bridge Run in unexpected ways

The signs were everywhere, as far south as exit 53 on Route 55, that nice two-lane highway that sends you on your way to Cape May.

BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE CLOSED SUNDAY, 7:30-9:30 AM.

For me, it simply means: Time to get punched in the face  again by that 10k known as the Cooper Norcross Bridge Run.

Sure, I have trained, and a lot harder than last year. But I have been trying to work off all those Kohr’s Brothers summer boardwalk chocolate, mint chocolate chip cones and Rita’s mango-cherry biggest-one-you-got water ice.

This despite dialing up the treadmill to 15 percent incline and its Solitaire app that lets me work off all that obsessive compulsive angst.

My son’s bus leaves at 6:30 a.m., so after I drop him off I get a solid 90 minutes in almost every day since Labor Day.

So last Saturday, I headed to the Rowan Rec Center and got interrupted by a road race in my own neighborhood, bucolic Mullica Hill. Shame on me. Not only did I miss the race, a  5-miler and 10-miler sponsored by the Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club, but I am the schlub who puts together the Running Schedule in the Inquirer every Sunday paper and I didn’t even know about it.

When I got to the corner of Ewan Road to head toward Glassboro, I was stopped by a very friendly Harrison Township police officer.

Road closed.

So I did the next best thing. I parked the 2002 Highlander at the cell tower station and joined the race. It was almost over and my Clydesdale gait fit perfectly with the late finishers. I put in about a mile, then veered left into the vineyards and turned around, facing the runners as they headed down the home stretch.

The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club included men for this inaugural Run The Hill race and I should been there from the start. When I picked up my race bib Friday at the Running Company of Mullica Hill store on Main Street, I found out what I really missed. Actress Glenn Close sang the national anthem at the start of the race. So next year, there will be no close call, I will be there from start to finish and get them into the calendar, too.

As for me, this Sunday, look at the rear of the pack, tall guy, Brooklyn Dodgers cap.

I hope to cross back into Camden before they open the bridge back up.

If not, the next sign you will see along routes 676, 42 and 55  will be:

SILVER ALERT …


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