Last to Finish: Everyone does their 5K at their own pace, and how fast you navigate it isn’t nearly as important as how you finish. This year, our final finishers Zeke Zucker and Yuen Chun completed their 5K together, and they’ll each be taking home coupons for three small dishes of gelato at Gelato Fiasco!
Last week, at noon on the 15th of September, the Virtual 5K run and 2K family walk wrapped up, and we’d like to thank all of you again for turning out and showing your support! This week, we’re going to distribute some of the prizes from our sponsors that we talked about a few weeks ago!
So congratulations to all of our prize winners! And to all of you who took part this year, we thank you again. We’re looking forward to seeing you at next year’s event!
Every year the 5K Run and 2K Family Walk sees attendance from newcomers and familiar faces alike. But through all seventeen years of our hosting this event, three runners have made sure to show up. On this week’s blog, we’re going to share with you all a little bit about those three!
In fact, he suggested that we turn our annual event into a Virtual 5K, having experience running them himself! With his friends Yuen Chun and Zeke Zucker in tow, he completed his run this year with a time of 49:28.
Though this year’s 5K was unorthodox, that didn’t stop our runners with perfect attendance from chalking up another successful run and doing their part to keep the Swinging Bridge swinging. So to all three of our all-timers, thank you, and thank you to everyone else who took part this year!
Hi there! How’s your run going? Finished your 2K family walk yet? This week, we’ll be sharing with you a quick refresher on how to post the results of your Virtual 5K- but first, we’re here to tell you that the registration and completion dates have been extended!
That’s right, registration closes at midnight on September 13, and the virtual walk/run finishes at midnight September 15! That’s right, registration closes at midnight on September 13, and the virtual walk/run finishes at midnight September 15!
So once you’ve completed your run, what do you do?
And that’s it! Don’t forget, we’re giving away prizes for things such as:
So if you’ve completed your run: Post those pictures! Remember, the tag is #SOSB2020! If you haven’t, get a move on! We’ll see you at the finish line!
Are you ready to start your run and win some prizes? We’d like to extend our gratitude to some of the gracious sponsors who make our annual event possible, and this week, we’ll turn our eye so some of the restaurants that provide the prizes that can be won this year!
Sea Dog Brewing Co. is located a stone’s throw from the Swinging Bridge, on the Topsham side, and is popular for their locally-brewed drinks and great food!
Wicked Joe is dedicated to using sustainable business practices from crop to cup, making excellent fair-trade coffee right in Topsham Maine. Their Jamaican Me Crazy blend is a personal favorite!
Gelato Fiasco can be found on Maine Street in Brunswick, where you’ll find a rotating menu of terrific Italian-inspired ice creams.
Fairground Cafe in the Topsham Fair Mall serves up comfort food in a rustic, homey atmosphere. If you’ve never had their cheesesteak sandwiches, you should probably fix that.
Pedro O’Hara’s mixes American, Mexican, and Irish cuisine in a pub-style restaurant that makes it a unique place to dine.
To each and every sponsor, we’d like to give a hearty thank-you. Your contributions help keep our annual events going.
For this week’s blog post, we want to hear from you!
The Androscoggin Swinging Bridge is our most cherished places in Maine, and with your help, we’ve been able to restore, maintain, and enjoy it through the years. Now, we want to hear what you love about the bridge! This week, we want you to take to social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you use: and make a short video, take a picture, or write a short anecdote, sharing what it is about the Swinging Bridge that holds a special place in your heart. Once you’ve finished, post it and tag it #LoveOurSwinging Bridge. Here’s SOSB co-founder Nancy Randolph, sharing her love for the Swinging Bridge.
It was, admittedly, not an easy decision to choose to hold our annual fundraiser as a virtual 5K & 2K this year. We considered a number of options, including postponing it until life resumes a sort of normalcy, but what it comes down to is that the gathering situation doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon, and the Swinging Bridge still needs our support, so our solution of holding the fundraiser in the safest way possible ended up being an effective compromise. And while doing it this way might seem limiting in some respects, this week, we’re going to be exploring the opportunities of doing a 5K in this new way. If you’re not familiar with what a virtual 5K is or how to participate this year, check out our previous blog post on how we’re handling the event this year!
The first, and probably most obvious opportunity of this event, is that more people are able to participate. Usually, our annual 5K run and 2K walk are held on a single date at the Androscoggin Riverwalk, this year’s event will be held across an entire week. Any time from September 5th to noon on the 13th, you’re free to complete your 5K run or 2K walk at your leisure, at your own pace and at your own time. If getting your family in on the event has been difficult in the past, with each of you moving at a different pace and not necessarily being able to keep up with the pack, you’re now much more free to set your own pace as you navigate your chosen path. You can even run it with your pets!
But though this year we have to do our parts separately, circumstance has afforded us opportunities to do things differently, doing things in ways we couldn’t before. And whether you’re running, contributing, donating, we’d like to thank you again for all your help.
Last week’s blog post was centered around the history of the Swinging Bridge and the formation of the group that preserves it to this day. This week, we’re focusing on the present- specifically, what goes into the upkeep of the bridge.
The Androscoggin Swinging Bridge is inspected for wear and damage every five years, and this year will be receiving another--one slightly overdue, in fact, but we’re a year or two behind. So we’re sharing with you a little peek behind the curtain, going into how the bridge is inspected, how it’s repaired, and how your donations make it happen.
After the towers, abutments, and cables are inspected, the engineer’s eye is turned to the span, where pins, bolts, and welds are checked for looseness or missing pieces. Coating damage is noted, cables are checked for deterioration, wood is checked for loose or rotting pieces, and supports, brackets, beams, and bracing are checked. The span itself is checked for alignment as well.
So if you haven’t yet, make sure to register for our virtual 5K run and 2K walk, contribute to have a brick in the bridge’s parks dedicated with a name of your choice, or simply donate! It’s your help that keeps our bridge swinging into the future, and we can’t do this without you.
For this week’s blog, we’ve decided to shift focus a bit. Last week, we discussed the ins and outs of running a virtual 5k and how we’re handling ours this year. Today, we’d like to share the history behind why we do these runs in the first place--the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge itself.
It was in 1891 that the Topsham Land Company decided that a footbridge across the Androscoggin River would be a safer, more direct route for workers traveling to Brunswick’s Cabot cotton mill rather than the two existing vehicle bridges. Thinking that the bridge would add enough value to their lots for it to be a worthwhile investment, they contracted with the John A. Roebling Sons Co, who’d designed the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, to build it. Once the Cabot Manufacturing Co. granted an easement that allowed the bridge to connect on the Brunswick side, construction began May 19, 1892.
In 1906, the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge was given the designation, and Brunswick and Topsham became jointly responsible for bridge maintenance. Between 1913 and 1916, the bridge’s timber-framed towers were replaced with steel, possibly by South Portland steel fabrication company Mequier & Jones.
This would be the last significant repair the bridge would receive until the turn of the century. In 2000, a study found the bridge in a distressing state of disrepair--concrete abutments cracked, wood planks rotted, and rust covering every metal component.
With pedestrian traffic limited to twenty people and the bridge not expected to survive into 2010, Brunswick and Topsham came together to appoint a committee of residents of both towns to attempt to accrue funds and restore the bridge to a usable state. Securing finances from the Department of Transportation as well as private funds, the group oversaw renovation and restoration of the swinging bridge, reopening it to the public 2006.
Though nearly every one of the bridge’s components had been replaced by this point, from the handrails to the boards to the beams, the original “ Roebling wire rope” cables built into the structure in 1892 still span the bridge to this day. The next year saw the opening of public parks on either end of the bridge. On September 8, 2007, a reopening and dedication ceremony saw the attendance of two of John A. Roebling’s great-great-great granddaughters.
In January of 2004, the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In May 2011, the bridge was dedicated as a Maine Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the Maine Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Last week, we announced that our annual 5K run and 2K walk would be done virtually this year, and would be held through September 5th through the 13th. But what does that mean? What the heck is a virtual 5K and how do you run it? And how are we keeping track of our runners’ times? In this blog post, we’ll be answering all those questions and more.
Q. What on earth is a ‘virtual 5K’?
A. Essentially, it’s a 5K run or walk, done remotely. Instead of a large group of people getting together on a singular date on the calendar and running together on a set course, each runner will select their own route to navigate, run their 5K, and post their time on a social media platform. This is, admittedly, not our first choice for handling our annual walk and run, but given the global pandemic, it’s our safest option right now.
As you know, we’re handling registration online this year, though if you’d like to request a registration form via mail or email, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-837-0558. Don’t forget that the first 100 registrants score a free T-shirt!
Q. That sounds neat, but how do I run it? Where do I go?
Of course, you’re free to navigate the usual routes used in our annual 5K and 2K, or you can choose a route more local, convenient, or scenic for you. Or you can run it on your treadmill at home. That’s up to you.
Make sure to post once you’ve finished and use that hashtag #SOSB2020 because we’ll be using it to look for your posts and keep track of who’s finished their run and when. If you’re on Facebook, you can go directly to the Save Our Swinging Bridge page and post there. We aren’t keeping track of times this year, so you only need to post your time if you wish.
Q. Then what?
A. After everyone’s completed their runs and we’ve collected the results, we’ll be giving away some prizes! As stated, we’re not tracking times this year, so there won’t be a prize for the fastest time. However, make sure to wear your best, weirdest, or most interesting running clothes, because there will be prizes for…
Of course, we all know that the Swinging Bridge is the prettiest of all the bridges, but if your route takes you across a bridge, take a picture of it and include that in your post, because if it’s particularly pretty, it might just net you a prize! Those prizes, by the by, include gift cards from the restaurants and other eateries who are contributing to our annual races, like Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick! It’s also entirely possible that we’ll be adding more prize categories before the start date, so keep an eye out for that.
Q. Okay, you’ve got my attention. What time does this whole thing start and end?
A. You’re free to start running on September 5, at 12:01 AM, and you’ve got until midnight September 15 to finish. So you early birds who’re looking to net that First Finisher prize better start pretty darn early!
Q. Is there anything else I should know?
A. Make sure to watch our social medias- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, this website- for more information, make sure you get your registration in nice and early to net yourself that T-shirt, and stay healthy and safe. We’re looking forward to seeing your posts and your routes!
What this means is, instead of showing up on a specific date to do your 5K or 2K, you’ll be able to do it at any time from September 5th through the 13th, and you’ll post your results. You can run your 5K along the usual yearly course, starting in Topsham’s lower village crossing the river into Brunswick, traveling south on Mill Street to recross the river on the historic swinging bridge, then up one hill and down the other, returning to Topsham’s lower village. The 2K can be done along the path of the Androscoggin Riverwalk. Or, you can do your 5K or your 2K wherever you’d like! Whenever and wherever you do it, you’ll complete the course and post a picture and your time, if you’d like, to social media and tag us in it!
Registration is open right now and will be done online this year. The registration fee for adults is $30, and $25 for youth 17 and below. The first 100 to register will even net themselves a free T-shirt, so make sure to provide your address and shirt size when you sign up, because we’ll be sending the shirts to the address provided. Please note that there will be no option to pick up the shirts in the interest of public safety.
Keep an eye on this blog as well, because we’ll be coming back weekly with more details and information about how you can do your virtual walk or run this year. You’ll also find instructions on how to post your run to social media and what to tag us with on this blog as well!