Demopolis native prepares for 260-mile Run Across Georgia

Demopolis native Bridget Cox Ryan is preparing to take part in Run Across Georgia, a 260-mile race spanning two days. (Photo by Jan McDonald)

Demopolis native Bridget Cox Ryan is preparing to take part in Run Across Georgia, a 260-mile race spanning two days. (Photo by Jan McDonald)

Many runners take part in the sport for the physical and mental benefits. Some push themselves to see just how far they can go. Others like the competition that road races provide.

And then there is Bridget Cox Ryan who runs for all three reasons.

The 30-year-old started running only a few years ago. In two weeks she will join a team taking part in the Run Across Georgia. The 260-mile course from Savannah to Columbus means that Ryan will run three 10-mile segments in two days.

The race starts at 4 a.m. Saturday, May 28, and ends at 7:30 p.m. the next day.

Run Across Georgia is an annual competitive event sponsored by Big Dog Running Co. out of Columbus, Ga. Ryan worked for the company until recently when she moved back home to Demopolis with her seven-year-old son Patrick. The daughter of Steve and Sharon Cox, she now works as a fitness consultant with the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Wellness Center.

While she has volunteered to help with the race in the past, this is the first time Ryan will take part in it.

Since the race sponsor is headquartered near Fort Benning, Ga., one of the purposes of the race across the state is to celebrate service personnel and veterans as well as police officers and firefighters. That’s why the event this year is being named “Run for the Flag.”

The race website explains it is honoring “those people who have championed the American Spirit.” An American flag will be placed at each mile along the race route.

Ryan’s team has three active duty runners, one veteran and three civilians. The other two women on the team with Ryan are spouses of servicemen.

Her group is calling itself Team Red White and Blue Eagles. Each of the team members hail from a different state, and none is from Georgia, she said. They range from North Dakota, Colorado, Utah and Texas in the west to New York, New Hampshire and Maryland in the east.

Other competitors in the event plan to bike the race route. A few hardy individuals will run the entire distance by themselves.

Race rules are very strict for the 22 competitive teams taking part, Ryan said. Team members can’t swap legs of the race; each runner must take his allotted turn.

They will have a van along as a base vehicle providing a place to rest and eat as the runners relay 24 hours a day.

Runners also are collecting pledges, and donations will benefit three organizations in Georgia: House of Heroes, which works with veterans, police officers and firefighters and their families; Camp Abilities for sight impaired children, and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Run Across Georgia event can contact Ryan at the Wellness Center.