Organizer moves step closer to Skyway half marathon

- Years ago, a drive over the Skyway Bridge got Shane Henry thinking, why not run over it?

"I have literally been laughed off the phone and I've had to call back on numerous occasions," he said.

After directing several other races, Shane wants to head up the first Skyway Half Marathon. That's 13.1 miles from St.Petersburg over the bridge into Palmetto.

"It seems a little obnoxious or ridiculous at first glance," Shane joked.

He's pitched his idea for years. After getting shot down by governing agencies, he's never given up. Finally Monday night Palmetto City Commissioners approved the New Year's Day run to end at Black Stone Park.

"I stress to everyone cautious optimism. I think there's a potential there. The community support in the runner world I believe is there," he said.

If everything else falls into place the run would start at 6 a.m. Only the southbound lanes of the Skyway would be shut down for three hours. Shane said he'd have to reimburse the FDOT for any loss of toll revenue. Runners would have a steep climb up the bridge.

"I would absolutely sign up for it," said Rae Ane Darling Reed.

At Fleet Feet Sports in Sarasota, Rae Ann Darling Reed can't wait.

"Running over the Skyway is just something you never would get to do unless it was a special event like this," she said.

While she admits it'll be difficult, she said few runners would pass up an opportunity like this.

"You would have to do a lot of hill training and in Florida. In Sarasota, that's pretty much the Ringling Bridge and the Celery Fields. There really is nothing that mimics that assent," said Darling Reed.

Runners from all over can't wait to sign up and if it doesn't happen this year he'll keep trying.

"We'll go back to the drawing board, figure out why not and come back," said Shane.

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