Beaufort runners train for races on area bridges

Members of Beaufort's Unofficial Running Club say they enjoy the challenges that area bridges offer them in their training.

Kenneth Clyburn, Beaufort Memorial Hospital's director for health information services, said bridge running helps the group prepare for races and marathons.

Composed of Kenneth Clyburn, David Kinard, Roxanne Davis-Cote and Sean Cowley, the club has been running together for almost 10 years.

Davis-Cote, clinical nutrition manager at the hospital, estimates that runners burn more than 200 calories by crossing the one-mile stretch from the bottom to the top of the J.E. McTeer Bridge two times.

The inclines of the McTeer and Richard V. Woods bridges also help the runners to build stamina.

"We do a fair amount of running," Clyburn said. The group runs both bridges during their 10- to 20-mile weekend runs. They average about eight miles at least two days a week.

"Running bridges makes us stronger runners as we get ready for particular races," said Clyburn, who likes to run 5Ks and 10Ks, but has more than 20 marathons under his belt.

"It is a struggle to get up there, but once you do it a few times it isn't that bad," he said. "And it is beautiful at the top."

Beginners are advised to start easy with a walk or slow jog, and to take breaks if necessary.

"Over a period of time you'll need less and less breaks and you will be able to jog or walk whole distance," said Clyburn, who draws motivation from the beautiful view on both bridges.

"Whether it is the Woods or the McTeer bridge, when you get to the top and are looking at the water it is beautiful at certain times of the day, and you can catch the sun in the morning and the afternoon.

"In many instances you can see dolphins. From a beauty standpoint, the bridges can be at times breathtaking. It is one of those reasons you say to yourself you are glad you live here."