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Bridge Run and Volvo Car Open emphasize outdoor exercise

The 41st Cooper River Bridge Run on Saturday April 7, offers some astounding statistics in terms of public involvement. They estimate 40,000-runners will compete, making this the third largest 10K race in the U.S., with an additional 25,000-people attending to support participants. The Volvo Car Open brings professional ladies tennis to Daniel Island for the entire week, with the final match set for Sunday, April 8. Recreational tennis payers and running enthusiasts know that outdoor exercise is good for one’s health and both of these top notch sporting events champion those pursuits.

The 10,000-fans that come to watch the tennis pros play at the Volvo Car Open reflects the popularity of the sport of tennis. Volvo took over title sponsorship in 2016, and The Tennis Channel began live coverage in 2017, and now that winning formula will be applied again at the Family Circle Tennis Center. The Volvo Car Open is unique in that it has the ability to crown first-time winners like 2017 defending champ Daria Kasatkina, and it has seen its share of veteran winners too like Serena Williams.

The 2018 tournament will feature several past champions in the player field, but not 2016 winner Sloan Stephens who withdrew from the tournament on Monday, one day after winning the Miami Open on Easter Sunday. Joining Kasatkina in the draw will be 2010 winner Sam Stosur of Australia and 2014 winner Andrea Petkovic of Germany. The number one seed at the Volvo Car Open is Carolina Garcia of France, and the number two seed is Petra Kvitova who has won Wimbledon twice, who is now making her first trip to play tennis in the Lowcountry.

Watching competitive tennis is always the best part of going to the Volvo Car Open, but the management team is serious about providing other entertainment too. The vendor village always offers free samples and information from sponsors, while a variety of food and drinks is served up and enjoyed on a grass courtyard with live music often on the background.

I have found one of the most unique ways to enjoy the Volvo Car Open is to attend one of the evening matches on stadium court, when lower humidity and cooler temps contribute to the overall experience. Wednesday April 4 is Pink Out night presented by MUSC Health, with patrons wearing pink to raise awareness for breast cancer research. Thursday April 5 is military appreciation night presented by Prudential, with military families provided free admission. Friday, April 6 is SunTrust night featuring an annual tossing of tennis balls into the stands for fans.

Saturday night tennis under the lights brings a change of format with men playing exhibition tennis, before the ladies final match on Sunday. The PowerShares Series is more like a happy hour than a tennis match with lots of interaction between the players and the fans. Andy Roddick leads a field of four players including Michael Change, Tommy Haas and Mark Philippoussis. All daily schedule info can be found by visiting VolvoCarOpen.com on the Internet, including any weather updates, especially if rain chances in the weekend forecast materialize.

The Cooper River Bridge Run will starts every year come rain or shine, and the main rule to observe is that the bridge closes down before race time, so spectators need to be downtown before then. The race course is closed to vehicles and a security forces in place, and it’s easy to find a place to stand and observe as the fastest runners fly by literally just minutes after the race starts in Mount Pleasant. Watching for runners in colorful costumes always adds some flair to the race, before everyone filters into Marion Square and congregates for the Bridge Run finale. That festive atmosphere permeates the entire day in Charleston, and its only once a year that runners get to claim the slogan I Got Over The Bridge.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (323 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com